A great granny from Scotland has been named Volunteer of the Year at Home-Start UK’s Volunteer Awards. Angela Gowdy from Aberdeenshire has been a volunteer at Home-Start Garioch for 27 years and while she might be 92, the wonderful Angela is showing no signs of slowing down.

A former paediatric ward sister, Angela has helped almost 50 families over a quarter of a century volunteering with Home-Start. Although she has taken on various roles during her time with the charity, visiting families in the home is her passion.

As well as being awarded the overall Volunteer of the Year award, the panel of judges also named Angela as the winner in the home visiting volunteer category, because of the difference she has made to the families she has spent time with.

Speaking about her role earlier this year in our magazine for Home-Start supporters, Family Matters, Angela said: "It’s magical for me to be with children. I also get a great sense of purpose in being able to take some pressure off the mother in whatever way they want me to. Every family is different and every person within each family is different. So there are no surprises left, I’m prepared for everything. Volunteering for Home-Start has given me a purpose and I’m thankful to have gained so many wonderful memories and moments from it.”

You can watch this wonderful tribute to Angela:

The Awards

Home-Start UK’s Volunteer Awards was held on Thursday 19th January to recognise and celebrate the amazing contributions of volunteers across the network. After receiving some truly inspiring nominations, a panel of judges came together to select the winners across seven different categories.

More than 200 people from all over the UK joined the online event, to see the winners announced. Each of the winners will receive a cash prize from Marsh Charitable Trust, who kindly sponsored the event, as well as a trophy and certificate.

Sally Munday, Volunteer Development Officer for Home-Start UK said: There are more than 10,000 Home-Start volunteers and 1,000 Trustees who volunteer in communities all over the UK. They all make a huge difference to families, and our Volunteer Awards is a perfect opportunity to recognise the incredible achievements of just some of them. It’s just a small thank you for the amazing impact they have made in their communities.”

This year’s Home-Start UK Volunteer Award winners 2023 are:

Corporate Volunteer 
Malcolm Stanley 

Home-Start Lambeth

Malcolm has been a great advocate for Home-Start Lambeth and ensured Hymans Robertson‘s involvement in all events and activities. While he plays Santa at Christmas, Home-Start Lambeth say he’s their Santa all year round - delivering the manpower and resources to make their wishes come true.  

Digital Volunteer 
Abdoul Diallo
Home-Start Southwark

Everyone who meets Abdoul is bowled over by his resilience, eagerness to learn, and desire to help others despite his own difficult situation which brought him to the UK. His valuable perspective helped boost Home-Start Southwark’s digital presence. He stays humble while working hard behind the scenes.

Group Volunteer
Ronald May
Home-Start Medway

After the passing of his beloved wife Pat, Ron wanted to give something back to his community. Ron has helped with a variety of projects and has been instrumental in helping to tackle the issue of isolation many military families face by helping to run weekly Home-Start groups. The care and compassion he shows has such a positive impact on everyone who attends.

Angela Gowdy
Home-Start Garioch

Angela has been supporting families for 27 years and at the young age of 92 she is showing no signs of stopping. She has supported almost 50 families and continues to inspire everyone she meets. She quickly recognises the support needed and fits herself in to the family she is helping.

Supporter Volunteer
Susan Conlan
Home-Start East Lothian

Despite living with cancer, Susan was determined to support her local Home-Start. She has particularly focused her attention on Home-Start East Lothian’s allotment space which has thrived under Susan’s care and her love of gardening has been infectious with the families.

Rob Harwood
Home-Start Trafford, Salford and Wigan

Rob is a longstanding trustee who has been providing his local Home-Start with help and support for the last 20 years. His guidance and advice has helped move Home-Start Trafford, Salford and Wigan move forward, developing their service to meet the needs and issues within their community.  

Volunteer of the Year
Angela Gowdy
Home-Start Garioch

As well as winning the home visiting category, Angela was also named Volunteer of the Year due to her dedication to help families and the lasting impact she has made on everyone she meets.

Home-Start Garioch nominated Angela because of her dedication to volunteering.

Mhairi Philip, manager at Home-Start Garioch, said:“I am so pleased that Angela has received this recognition. What makes her stand out is her passion, enthusiasm, and sense of fun. She inspires confidence in everyone she meets whether its new volunteers, parents or children.”

Local Home-Starts were invited to submit their nominations and the winners were carefully selected from a shortlist by a judging panel which consisted of:

The event also recognised the impact made by volunteers who may not have won in their category but who were given ‘extra applause’ with a special mention to others who gave their time to Home-Start to support families across the UK in 2022.  

Find out how you can be a Home-Start Volunteer

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