THE energy and enthusiasm of Huntingdonshire s volunteers may have been well-documented, but the role these people play in our communities is to also be celebrated through a new series of awards. Huntingdonshire District Council and the Hunts Forum are lo

The awards are for the volunteers, young and old.

THE energy and enthusiasm of Huntingdonshire's volunteers may have been well-documented, but the role these people play in our communities is to also be celebrated through a new series of awards.

Huntingdonshire District Council and the Hunts Forum are looking to provide a little reward to some of the thousands of volunteers who provide the life-blood of our communities.

With support from The Hunts Post, the Huntingdonshire Volunteering Awards 2007 will recognise the people who are making a substantial contribution to their community.

The new district-wide awards will have seven categories: Commitment, Impact, Innovation, Inspiration, Partnership, Young Volunteer of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement.

The awards are for the volunteers, young and old.

"It is brilliant that volunteers are being recognised for the valuable work they do," said Sally Tubberdy, chief executive of the Hunts Forum, which supports volunteer groups.

Mrs Tubberdy started working as a volunteer for SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Syndrome) after her first baby had died at just eight hours old and has been volunteering ever since.

"There was a group of other people who had lost children and they were able to show empathy," she said. "They gave a lot of support to me and my husband and later on, I wanted to help other people in our situation, to give something back."

She worked for Sands for five years and helped it expand, setting up Bliss at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, a local branch of the national charity which supports families with premature babies.

Having now worked for Hunts Forum for 14 years, Mrs Tubberdy said: "There are many more volunteers than people realise - and they are never rewarded, they do it just because they want to give back something to their community. It is not just the people who do the caring and the counselling, most charities also have administrators and boards of trustees who are volunteers, too.

"There is a whole range of skills involved, including accountants, managers, people with human resources skills. There are people who work for the environment and people who do their neighbour's shopping."

She added: "These awards will raise the profile of volunteering and we always need volunteers from all walks of life."

INFORMATION: Nominations are open to applicants volunteering for voluntary and community groups in the Huntingdonshire area and will be for achievements in 2006, with the exception of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Entering is easy.

Simply fill in the form on this page, answer the questions and return your nomination to Penny Litchfield, Huntingdonshire District Council, Pathfinder House, St Mary's Street, Huntingdon PE29 3TN.

Categories:

Commitment

Volunteers who have shown true dedication, perhaps carrying out essential work with little thanks or obvious reward.

Impact

Volunteers whose work has transformed lives, environments or communities.

Innovation

Volunteers who have come up with an exciting and original way to address a need in their community.

Inspiration

Volunteers who have inspired others, perhaps overcoming personal obstacles to become role models in their communities.

Partnership

Volunteers who have successfully built partnerships across community, sector, race, culture and faith groups and used these to achieve great things.

Young Volunteer of the Year

A young person under the age of 19 who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her community through volunteering.

Lifetime Achievement Award

A person has worked without pay over a long period of time to make a difference to the lives of others, the community or environment.

A few rules

The nominee must be resident within the boundaries of Huntingdonshire and the nomination must be supported by a Huntingdonshire voluntary group or two residents of the district.