Volunteers from across Neath Port Talbot were recognised for their amazing contribution to our community in a Celebration of Volunteering event at Baglan Community Church last night.
This was the 15th annual Award ceremony organised by Neath Port Talbot Council for Voluntary Service and it marks Volunteers’ Week, which runs each year from 1st – 7th June. This year, it was evident that volunteering brings together people of all ages, genders, backgrounds and cultures.
With over two-hundred attendees, fifty-six Awards presented to a broad range of volunteers and organisations, including Port Talbot and Afan Women’s Aid, RNLI, British Red Cross, Age Cymru Afan Nedd and Taibach Community Library.
One volunteer told us how she was surprised to hear her name being called out “I really don’t think I have done anything special, I feel I have benefitted and I really enjoy the whole experience”. She went on to say “It is quite humbling to see so many people giving up their time, there are a lot of good people in this world which we don’t hear enough about”.
Gaynor Richards MBE, Director of NPTCVS, announced that the theme for this year’s celebration was ‘You Make a Difference’. She added that “It is important that we tell volunteers that they make a difference and that together, we celebrate the difference they make”.
Young volunteers, aged between fourteen and twenty-five, were recognised through the Millennium Volunteer Awards. They received certificates for completing 50, 100 and 200 hours of volunteering. Four nominations from WCVA Wales Volunteer of the Year Award were also celebrated.
The Debbie Connolly Special Recognition Award, in memory of a
former Neath Port Talbot CVS staff member who tragically and suddenly passed away in 2016, was the final award of the evening and went to Harri Evans-Mason. Harri has devoted a considerable amount of time and energy to the Children’s Rights agenda. He has volunteered for the Children’s Rights Unit, Pontadawe Town Council, ABMU Health Board and NPTC Group of Colleges. He has juggled his volunteering with three part time jobs and his A level studies. A professional, confident, approachable young man, and is still only 18 years old.
With entertainment from Neath Ukuleles, the evening was a great success. The work of volunteers impacts on all our lives. They make our communities a better place to live and deserve to be recognised for the invaluable work they do.