Nationwide Building Society

Nationwide Building Society

October 04, 2005 05:58 ET

Local Heroes Recognised By Nationwide

SWINDON, ENGLAND--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 04, 2005) - "Local heroes" from around the country will today (4 October) be recognised at the Nationwide Awards for Voluntary Endeavour at Lord's Cricket Ground. Now in their eighth year, these awards recognise a community's "local heroes" whose voluntary work or community activity has made a real difference to people's lives. The 150 million hours volunteers put in every year is estimated to be worth an astonishing GBP1.5bn. At the awards ceremony the four national winners will be announced and they will each receive GBP500 worth of gifts, together with a GBP2,500 donation to the charity or cause of their choice and a trophy. The awards are presented by Nationwide, in association with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Newspaper Society.

Philip Williamson, Nationwide's chief executive, who will present the awards, said: "We are delighted to recognise and reward people who voluntarily give up their time and energy to support others and who are true local heroes. They have all shown outstanding dedication to their local communities, and are truly an inspiration to others, showing what can be achieved if you feel passionately about a cause. Without this dedication, many projects, which help and care for a wide spectrum of society, would find it difficult to survive. I hope these awards not only act as encouragement for people who are already active volunteers, but also inspire others to join in, and a make a difference."

Winner of the Young Person Under 18 Individual Award - Natalie Payne - Barnsley, Yorkshire

Natalie was only 15 years old when she responded to a recruitment advertisement to become a volunteer with the Barnsley Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Helpline. Despite being told she was too young, Natalie was still thoroughly enthusiastic and agreed to commit her time and energy. She undertook a 60 hour training course during the Summer of 2004 and since has shown a level of dedication and maturity beyond her years. Natalie volunteered to become a member of the Management Committee, a role not generally coveted amongst volunteers, and at last year's AGM was unanimously approved as Secretary. Natalie attends conferences, community events, training sessions, raises funds and recently used personal contacts to enable the helpline to have a professional website designed enabling more women to access its services.

Winners of the Young People Under 18 Group Award - Nelson Youth Centre Senior Helpers Group - Nelson, Lancashire

This group of 13-17 year olds run a voluntary junior youth club for 8-11 years olds from deprived backgrounds. It is the only club in the area run by and for both white and Asian children, and one of only a few catering for this age group. The group give around 10 hours of their time every week to bring younger members of the community together, organise activities, raise funds for charity and help to reduce potential crime in the area. The project has been running for 3 years, with the existing group being responsible for the past 12 months. They are setting a positive example in their community for other young people; taking a stand against racism, crime, drugs and anti-social behaviour.

Winner of the Adult Individual Award - Edna Speed - Chester, Cheshire

Edna has spent the last 30 years voluntarily helping homeless families through her charity, Save the Family. Her work started on the Lache Estate in Chester in the 1970's when she saw a desperate and growing need for help and support for socially excluded families. In 1985 after much fundraising and negotiation she secured the purchase of Plas Bellin Hall. She has devoted her retirement to the refurbishment and future of the accommodation and training centre which now provides a place for over 35 homeless families from across the UK to live and rebuild their lives. Literally thousands of families have come to the centre for help and all have been resettled back in the local community equipped with life skills to help them succeed. Edna is a hands-on individual visiting the centre every day to support the families in crisis as well as those who have moved back into the community and makes herself available 24-hours a day.

Winners of the Adult Group Award - Friends of Park Wood - Waterlooville, Portsmouth

This group of people have come together to restore an urban wood used by drug dealers and troublesome youths into a clean and inviting traditional English wood for the local residents to enjoy. They formed 5 years ago and have produced leaflets, a history book, information boards, laid paths, planted new shrubs and trees, enabled access for the disabled, set up guided walks, arranged woodland festivals and school visits. If the group had not restored the woods, it would have become derelict and unsafe, now it's a well known attraction and a great achievement for the community.

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Notes to editors:

The four Nationwide Awards for Voluntary Endeavour award categories are - young people under 18 as individuals, young people under 18 in groups, adults as individuals & adults in groups. Up to two regional winners in each category are selected making a total of eight in each of seven regions within England, together with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The 80 regional winners each receive an attractive plaque, along with GBP50 of dining out vouchers for individuals or GBP100 for groups. From each region and home nation, four finalists are selected to attend the national gala awards ceremony. Each finalist (who is not an overall winner) wins GBP250 of gifts, and a trophy plus a GBP500 donation to the charity or cause of their choice.

Nationwide also has an award winning Internet site: For studio quality interviews Nationwide is equipped with an ISDN system using G722 and APTX codes for both BBC and IR links: ISDN Number: 01793 845014

Contact Information

  • Nationwide
    Steve Cowdry
    media relations manager
    01793 657112 / 07850 810746
    Nationwide Press Office
    Press Team
    Tel: 01793 655198
    01793 655045 (FAX)