Winners across the country are celebrating today, after being commended at the NCT Stars Awards, which recognise the hard work and dedication of the volunteers who make the charity’s services available to parents and parents-to-be.
NCT, the UK’s largest charity for parents, presented the awards at the House of Lords yesterday, Wednesday 26 October, at a special celebration to mark the European Year of the Volunteer.
NCT Stars Awards, sponsored by Pampers, attracted a high volume of nominations from across the country, with six different categories representing the range of different roles volunteers take on for the charity.
The Awards were presented by Sue Saxey, President of NCT, together with Steve Moore, Chief Executive of the Big Society Network, and Catherine McMahon from Pampers.
And the winners are…
Bumps & Babies Group of the Year – Mel Sims, NCT Dunmow & Braintree Branch
Mel has worked tirelessly to expand the branch’s weekly Bumps & Babies group providing a friendly support network for parents, including regular activity tasters from local companies. The Monday group has become so popular, they have had to move from Stebbing to Flitch Green, Felsted to accommodate it as they have over 60 mums attend every week. The Wednesday group at Braintree has also started to have local businesses come and in and present and both groups stay open during the school holidays.
Communication of the Year – Mel Sims, NCT Dunmow & Braintree Branch
Mel won for her infectious enthusiasm and creative approach to communications, including setting up an interactive Facebook page with 250 members and counting. This, together with the branch newsletter, posters and a good relationship with local media led one volunteer to say: “the communications are so effective you cannot be a mum in the area and not know about the branch”!
Fundraising Success of the Year (Large Branch) - Willemijn Bando, NCT Chiswick & Hammersmith Branch
Chiswick & Hammersmith Branch raised over £6,000 this year, to further NCT’s services for parents and parents-to-be across the UK. Willemijn organised several events including a Christmas party entertaining nearly 200 local children, a Nearly New Sale which 361 parents attended and a successful Cheeky Monkey Tea Party. Willemijn has worked tirelessly to interest local businesses and raise vital funds for the charity.
Fundraising Success of the Year (Small Branch) – NCT Stamford, Bourne & Deeping Branch
Stamford, Bourne & Deeping Branch have run a wide range of activities this year including three Nearly New Sales, Cheeky Monkey Tea Parties, a Baby Fair and pamper evening. They also secured two grants and two local business awards, having developed effective partnerships with local businesses. Their most successful Sale raised over £2,000 for the charity.
Most Supportive Volunteer - Bryony Turford, NCT Selby Branch
Bryony has approached her membership secretary role with dedication, welcoming each new member with a personal letter, event timetable and newsletter. She also set up a Bumps Takeaway group for expectant couples, and expanded the programme of events to reach more parents with adult nights out and family events. One volunteer calls her “a driving force who keeps the whole branch team motivated”.
Most Innovative Volunteer – Sarah Moore, NCT Bassetlaw Branch
Sarah won the award for her dedication to making Bassetlaw Branch more accessible to parents of children with additional needs. She organises monthly swimming sessions and free use of a sensory room at a local nursery, arranges for a local speech therapist to speak at branch events and writes articles about additional needs for the newsletter.
User Rep of the Year – Joint Winners Bridget Radford and Hannah Sherlock
Bridget Radford, NCT South West Wales Branch
Bridget won the award for her commitment to making parents’ voices heard in Wales. She has campaigned to change the structure of Welsh MSLCs and met with her Assembly Member to build relations and influence. She has also continued to chair the West Wales Regional MSLC, fitting this around her other work.
Hannah Sherlock, NCT Brighton & Hove Branch
Hannah coordinates her local NCT homebirth group and through this role has supported many women to be fully informed of their birth choices. As chair of her local MSLC, Hannah has promoted the importance of placing women’s needs at the centre of local services, and been instrumental in plans to build a new midwife-led birth centre in the area.
NCT has over 10,000 volunteers who give their time, energy and skills in more than 300 branches through a wide range of roles: providing support for parents, co-ordinating branch activities, fundraising, editing newsletters and much more.
Sue Saxey, President of NCT and a long-standing volunteer herself, presented the awards yesterday. She said: “NCT Stars Awards are a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate the achievements of our hard-working, creative and committed volunteers. All our volunteers make a huge difference to the charity’s work, providing a much-needed support network for local parents, and we would not be able to reach as far and wide as we do without them.”