Kicking off the celebrations in Northern Ireland, 55 volunteers enjoyed a private tour of Belfast City Hall, followed by a meal and speeches on the impact of our services.
Councillor John Finucane, Lord Mayor of Belfast, opened the event, followed by Claire Lavery, Director at Action on Hearing Loss Northern Ireland, and Tasha Henderson, who shared her experiences of interviews, work and the Workable programme.Erin Moore, National Fundraiser of the Year, Lorna Collins, Passion in Action winner, and the ‘In Touch’ Befriending Service, were among those presented with awards.
In Glasgow, 35 volunteers and staff from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Falkirk and Perth enjoyed a celebratory afternoon tea, during which Liz Donaghy, Anne Marie O’Kane and Hear to Help Glasgow, were presented with their winners’ awards. The icing on the cake? Two volunteers received invitations to London by the Secretary of State for Scotland, The Rt Hon. David Mundell MP, to watch the Household Division’s Beating Retreat on Horse Guards Parade, from the balcony at Dover House!
We finished off the week with our National, South East England and Central England celebration at our Head Office in Highbury, with volunteers travelling far-and-wide to join us. During the event, classical musician Chris Hadley, who is also a Hear to Help Birmingham volunteer and fundraiser for Action on Hearing Loss, spoke passionately about his experiences of losing his hearing suddenly overnight, and about fearing that he might never perform again. Despite now being unable to hear what he plays, Chris transported us to sunnier climes, with a fabulous performance of Francisco Tarrega’s “Recuerdos De La Alhambra” on classical guitar. Presentations followed, with awards given to Brent Stanbridge, our National People’s Champion, Peter and Malcolm from the Isle of Wight Volunteer Team, Lovely Khanom, Hear to Help Redbridge and Michael Davis.
We also held celebration events during Volunteers’ Week in Middlesbrough, Birmingham, and Plymouth.
And the national winners are...
Passion in Action – Jim O’Rourke
Known locally as the 'Hearing Aid Man' (HAM), Jim is tremendously passionate about supporting people to get the very best from their NHS hearing aids, and does this wherever, however and whenever he can – even if this means politely letting complete strangers know that their aids need attention!
Jim is patient, considerate, and always willing to share his wealth of knowledge at our hearing aid user support sessions, in people’s homes, and at local care settings. A visit from HAM leaves people feeling uplifted, and delighted to hear better.
People’s Champion – Brent Stanbridge
South East England
Brent, a volunteer with our Hear to Inform and Connect project, stands out because of his genuine warm nature, his extensive breadth of knowledge, and his admirable dedication and professionalism towards his role.
Brent delivers exceptional community presentations. He recognises individual needs and experiences, and his genuine care and respect for others, along with his willingness to share his personal experiences, endears him to people.
National Fundraiser of the Year – Erin Moore
Erin joined us on a six-month internship with our Fundraising team, during which she coordinated street collections and bag packs, managed information stands, supported with volunteer engagement at recruitment fairs, and conducted extensive sector research. We’re delighted that Erin’s personal experience of hearing loss, positive outlook on life and passion for the cause has fuelled her to continue to support our work beyond her internship.
Perfect Partners – Isle of Wight Volunteer Team
South West England
A hive of busy bees, this extraordinary team of 25 volunteers delivers 17 monthly hearing aid maintenance clinics, runs four coffee mornings, installs assistive equipment in people’s homes, and befriends people in care homes – even broken toes don’t stop them!
Whether they’re out in the community, or in the office providing administration support, every volunteer offers empathic listening, gives generously of their time, and openly shares their experience and understanding of hearing loss.
Read about the fantastic contribution our volunteers make to supporting people confronting deafness, hearing loss and tinnitus throughout the UK.
You can read about our other award winners in the latest Volunteer Focus.