Local Charities and individuals recognised at Greenham Trust’s Charity Awards
On Thursday 2 November, over 400 people attended the inaugural Greenham Trust Charity Awards at the Corn Exchange, Newbury. The event, hosted by the Reverend Richard Coles and sponsored by Newbury Building Society, acknowledged the fantastic work of many local charities and individuals to help the local community. With a full auditorium, the atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation and excitement.
Reverend Richard Coles proved to be a popular choice of host, entertaining the audience with his wit and the story of his life from pop star to parson. Local dignitaries were invited on stage to announce the winners and present the awards.
The winners of the awards presented on the evening were:
Community Charity of the Year: Citizens Advice West Berkshire
Award presented by: Simon Muir, High Sheriff of Berkshire.
The Citizens Advice service provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. It values diversity, promotes equality and challenges discrimination. They are currently seeing clients with increasingly complex issues and in a very challenging cost of living crisis. Following a period of funding cuts and the Covid pandemic, they have managed to secure a more stable funding environment which has enabled them to recruit two new staff members. This year they have helped 35% more clients, with a 56% increase in financial outcomes.
Isabel Esperança, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice West Berkshire said: “We were honoured to receive the Community Charity of The Year Award. The award recognises the outstanding work and dedication of our staff, volunteers and trustees. A big thank you to Greenham Trust for organising such an amazing event. It was great to get together and celebrate all the brilliant charities in our community.”
Charity of the Year for the Disadvantaged: West Berks Foodbank
Award presented by Cllr Nigel Foot, Mayor of Newbury.
West Berks Foodbank provides emergency food and support to local people who are referred to them in crisis. They also support families in need of gas, electric, air fryers and heated blankets. Throughout the summer holidays West Berks Foodbank supported 1490 clients across 38 schools with their “Hungry Holidays programme”. This was an increase of 301% from the previous year. All of their 160 volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure products were weighed in, sorted, packed and delivered in time for the start of the summer holidays.
Health & Wellbeing Charity of the Year: Ark Cancer Charity
Award presented by Laura Farris MP
Ark Cancer Charity is dedicated to brightening the lives of cancer patients receiving treatment at Hampshire Hospital Foundation Trust (HHFT). The Wellbeing Centre which opened in 2022 provides complementary therapies and counselling services to HHFT cancer patients, helping patients manage treatment side effects and improve their overall wellbeing. Since opening the Centre, there has been a substantial demand for services, with over 1600 attendees.
Merv Rees, Trustee, Ark Cancer Charity said: “The Trustees of the Ark Cancer Charity felt privileged to be invited to the inaugural Greenham Trust Charity Awards on Thursday 2nd November 2023. With over 70 deserving charities represented at a packed Corn Exchange in Newbury, we were thrilled to be selected as winners of the Health & Wellbeing category.
Our underlying creed is “For the people, by the people” and our mission is to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of our NHS cancer patients by providing support and intervention during their cancer journey. We are already indebted to the generosity of the Greenham Trust in supporting our mission, as we also seek to upgrade the environment in which our patients undergo chemotherapy. The new design layout as well as the colour schemes have been chosen by the staff and patients and should be completed in the next few months.
Winning this award is testimony to the success of our innovative programme and will hopefully encourage others to join our amazing band of supporters in their fundraising efforts to enable us to further expand our therapy team.
Finally, our grateful thanks to the Greenham Trustees for your support and endorsement of our mission.”
Young People Charity of the Year: Time to Talk West Berkshire
Award presented by Cllr Mark Lillycrop, Mayor of Thatcham
Time to Talk provides mental health support to young people aged 11-25 and parents in West Berkshire. They offer free in-person counselling and a comprehensive online mental health support program, ensuring accessibility and flexibility for those in need. In the last 18 months they have faced an unprecedented surge in demand, placing immense pressure on their waiting times. They have proactively expanded the number of counselling sessions available ensuring young people do not experience extended waiting periods. On average young people are assessed by them within 2 weeks of referral and only wait 9 weeks for counselling.
Tammy Willsher, Charity Service Manager said: “Time to Talk were delighted to win this award. This recognition stands as a testament to the unwavering dedication and hard work that each individual contributes to delivering our exceptional services in West Berkshire. This achievement is recognition of our collective determination and passion for making a difference in the lives of young people in our community.”
Small Charity of the Year: All Yours Period Box CIC
Award presented by Cllr Helen Simpson, Mayor of Hungerford
All Yours provides period boxes to women, girls and people who have periods in our local communities who are struggling to access or afford period products each month. The project also provides period education workshops to schools and community groups. In the past 18 months All Yours have created strong links with a number of organisations within the West Berkshire Community such as all the libraries, West Berks Foodbank, the Waterside Centre and local schools.
Caroline Herman, CEO and Founder of All Yours Period Box CIC said: “”We were surprised and delighted to have been awarded Small Charity of the Year by the Greenham Trust. We are thrilled that our work supporting menstrual health in our community has been recognised in this way and is testament to the hard work and dedication of all our volunteers. It was lovely to be amongst so many thriving charities and community groups for the evening.”
Fundraiser of the Year: Gill Leech, West Berkshire MENCAP
Award presented by Dean Scott, Head of Sales and Marketing, Newbury Building Society
Gill has worked with West Berkshire Mencap since 2000 and during that time she has raised over a quarter of a million pounds for West Berkshire Mencap. She launched the first annual, summer ball for adults with a learning disability so that they could enjoy the same, special social experiences as everyone else. She has been the key main organiser of their charity Raceday for the last 23 years which has grown to be the largest Charity event at Newbury Racecourse. In the last year she has been instrumental in setting up Newbury’s first Stitch Fair which raised £3,500 over 2 days last February. She is currently planning for the second Stitch Fair which is taking place at the Kennet Centre, Newbury in November 2023.
On winning the award, Gill Leech said: “I am thrilled to have won this award. This achievement is not just mine, we wouldn’t have been able to do it without the team. Together, we’ve made a difference, and I’m honoured to have been a part of it.”
Trustee of the Year: Gillian Durrant, Newbury Community Resource Centre
Award presented by Charles Brims, Chairman, Greenham Trust
Gillian has been a Trustee of Newbury Community Resource Centre for 23 years, since it was first set up in 2000. Over the years she has dedicated many hundreds of hours to overseeing the work of the charity and helping guide them through difficult times such as the Covid pandemic and the cost of iving crisis. She is currently Vice Chair of the Board, a role she has taken on several times over the years, as well as acting Treasurer following the sad passing of their previous Treasurer. She visits the charity on a regular basis, provides advice and guidance where needed and is an extremely community-minded individual.
Gillian said: “I was surprised and delighted to win the award, as it helps to promote the wonderful charity I have been involved with since 1999. The Newbury Community Resource Centre, which runs the Community Furniture Projects in Newbury and Basingstoke, as well as Growing Together at Cottismore, has had such a beneficial impact on so many people’s lives. It has been an honour to be involved as a trustee and to see the charity grow over the years. We have fantastic dedicated staff and volunteers and our CEO Kelvin Hughes has a ‘can do’ attitude and loves a challenge!”
Volunteer of the Year: Paul Black, Newbury Community Resource Centre
Award presented by Andrew Try, Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire
Paul has been a volunteer with NCRC for over 14 years. He has been instrumental in their bicycle recycling workshop which has grown from one bench refurbishing a couple of bikes a year to a busy workshop with 6 regular volunteers and around 8 trainees participating each week. Paul acts as a mentor and trainer for adults and young people with disabilities and young people with challenging behavioural issues. His friendly and calm manner ensures that trainees quickly settle in to working with him in the bike workshop. He volunteers with NCRC 4 days a week and sales of the repaired bikes bring in a total of approximately £30k each year which is used to fund the volunteering and training services.
Paul said: “I was extremely pleased to receive the award and see it as a recognition not only of my own efforts but also of the other volunteers I have worked with over the years at the furniture project”.
Bronze, Silver & Gold Tickets
Prior to the announcement of the Charity of the Year, Greenham Trust awarded their Golden Ticket randomly selected from audience members. There were 3 tickets – a bronze, silver and gold – worth £100, £250 and £500 respectively to a charity nominated by the winner.
The bronze ticket was won by Alan Waite, who awarded the £100 to PALS West Berkshire. Ian Callaghan won the silver ticket and awarded the £250 to Newbury Community Resource Centre and Kit Malthouse MP won the golden ticket and awarded the £500 to Andover Young Carers.
Charity of the Year: West Berkshire Foodbank
Following the golden ticket, Chris Boulton, Chief Executive of Greenham Trust, revealed the overall winner of Charity of the Year as West Berks Foodbank and a delighted Fran Chamings, West Berks Foodbank Manager said: “West Berks Foodbank were thrilled and humbled to be recognised at the Greenham Trust Awards. These awards are for the hundreds of volunteers past and present that have made the charity what it is today. Thank you to the Greenham Trust for raising the profile of our amazing charity sector.”
Chris Boulton, Chief Executive of Greenham Trust said: “The atmosphere on the evening was incredible right from the spontaneous round of applause during my introduction at the beginning of the event, to the announcement of the winner at the end. But the evening was not just about the winners, it was about bringing the voluntary sector together and celebrating the success of all the charities, fundraisers, volunteers and trustees.”
After the presentation of the awards at the Corn Exchange, many guests made their way to the after party at the Waterside Centre to continue the celebrations and dance the night away.
Greenham Trust would like to thank everyone who helped make the event possible and such a huge success. In particular thanks go to Berkshire Youth’s team at the Waterside, Newbury Corn Exchange, Kennet Radio, Greenham Business Park Security, Newbury Building Society and Greenham Trust employees.
Greenham Trust’s most recent newsletter, which you can read here, has more on this event.