Volunteers from the Braintree District recognised in awards ceremony after two-year hiatus

Group image of Braintree District Volunteer Award winners.
Winners of the Braintree District Volunteer Awards

The Braintree District Volunteer Awards were back on Thursday 11th August after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Braintree District Volunteer Awards were back on Thursday 11th August after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ceremony took place at the I-Construct Innovation Hub at the Springwood Industrial Estate in Braintree. The annual awards, now in its sixth year and run by Braintree District Council and Community360, recognise and reward the extraordinary individuals and groups who are making a positive difference in their community and inspiring others.

This year, there was an additional award that honoured the Covid Response made by volunteers in the district who stepped up during this difficult time.

Ken Yap, who joined the ceremony via video link from Hong Kong, won the Going the Extra Mile Award and Volunteer of the Year. Ken is a volunteer driver for community transport, school governor, trustee of Notley Green Community Association and Covid vaccine volunteer. He also stepped up during the pandemic to help with collecting prescriptions and checking on the vulnerable and has continued this work since.  

The young winner of the Going the Extra Mile Award was Noah Baldwin, who is a fundraiser for CLEFT, a charity focused on providing permanent, sustainable, ways to improve cleft care in both the UK and overseas. He has raised money to buy toys for children to play with after their operations or who are doing speech therapy. Something that he has experienced and which he says helped a lot.

Inspirational Role Model went to Julie Adcock who has volunteered for Help for Heroes for six years following the death of a friend by suicide. She has recently been involved in a campaign with the charity around suicide prevention training and has raised thousands through challenges and events.

Young Inspirational Role Model went to Acacia Hawkins who has been volunteering for the Great Notley parkrun since she was just seven years old! Now thirteen, she not only participates in the running but the administration side too.

The Covid Response Award was awarded to Spike Townsend, who set up the Operations Centre at the Five Bells Public House and co-ordinated 83 volunteers. Spike used his skills and expertise from his Met Police career to ensure that everyone was safe. And as need was identified in neighbouring villages Spike expanded the support.

The Young Covid Response Award was awarded to Amy Edwards who has been volunteering for (and co-founded) the Coggeshall Community Helpers organisation since March 2020 as well as a being a Guide and Scout leader. She has delivered vital resources such as food and medicine to the vulnerable, and processed phone calls and messages to signpost help to where it was needed most.

Daniel Dedman was the winner of the Long Service Award and has been volunteering at 158 Braintree RAFAC as a civilian instructor, for over 6 years. During the pandemic Dan volunteered at the vaccine centre at St Michael's and then learnt to become a vaccinator himself.

The young winner of the Long Service Award was Jonathan Taylor who volunteers at the Witham Boys & Girls Brigade, donating six hours of his time every week, plus more when they are at camps. He’s been doing this for ten years – since he was just eleven years old.

Finally, the Group Award went to the Braintree Community First Responders who are a group of three volunteers that respond to 999 calls around Braintree, Bocking, Rayne, Stisted and other surrounding areas. They have been responding to 999 calls to bridge the gap between emergency incidents and an ambulance crew arriving.

The Young Group Award went to The V Team at the University of Essex who work from the First Stop Centre in Braintree to offer real and immediate help to members of the community who are struggling with problems in their lives.

The awards were kindly sponsored by Ki Sound & Light, Beardwell Construction, ABS Solicitors, Nexus Infrastructure and Braintree Village.

Councillor Frankie Ricci, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “I am honoured to have been part of the volunteer awards since their inception in 2017 and it is particularly special seeing the awards return after two years and hearing the amazing work that volunteers have done throughout the pandemic and beyond.”

Published: 12th August 2022