On Saturday 5th November 2016, St Albans Community Association and Better Understanding of Dementia Sandwell (BUDS) held a joint volunteer awards at Brandhall Labour Club in Oldbury.
Every year staff are asked to nominate the volunteer they felt contributed significantly to the centre to receive the Pat Ryan Volunteer of the Year Award. Nominees are current volunteers of the centre. Staff voted and the unanimous winner was Elaine Barnes.
Elaine initially came to us as a client on the JCP provision we were offering and quickly began volunteering with us on that project. Once that project had finished Elaine began volunteering with us on the Our Friend is Your Friend Befriending project, she has now been with us for nearly two years.
Elaine has become an integral part of our team and we genuinely would struggle to cope with the demands befriending project without her. Elaine volunteers two full days per week in the centre making in the region of 80 telephone calls per week to befriending clients, carers and volunteers. In addition to this Elaine also befriends two clients, one of which has had some problems recently that Elaine has been instrumental in resolving.
We would not be able to offer such a comprehensive service if it were not for Elaine and her commitment to making these telephone calls every week.’
Pete Ryan and our Chair, Robert Evetts presented the Pat Ryan Volunteer of the Year Award to Elaine for her commitment and dedication to St Albans.
There were many more awards presented to the volunteers that evening and the St Albans staff and supporters had a great evening. With a buffet made up of a range of sandwiches, chicken or vegetarian curry, rice, naan bread and samosa.
The evening was a great success, there was lots of drinking, eating and dancing.