Nov 19 2019

A celebration of volunteering!

This weekend was our annual celebration of volunteering the National Volunteer Awards.



The 2019 Volunteer awards were hosted at Kelham Hall in Nottinghamshire.


The Gothic mansion was built in 1863 as a county house for the Manners-Sutton family. It was designed by architect Sir George Gilbert Scott with gardens by Victorian landscape architect William Nesfield.


Nominations for volunteers were received from across the country and everyone nominated was invited to the three course celebratory meal. The awards were presented afterwards by Chair Barbara Young.


Volunteers also heard from Director of Brand and Communications Ruth Hyde and CEO Darren Moorcroft and each took home a branded reusable water bottle and a native Rowan sapling.  



Congratulations to the award winners who were:


Bluebell Award this award is for those individual volunteers that stand out for their work in our woodlands providing practical support and care being the guardian of our woods and trees on the ground (couples that work together are also accepted in this category). – Keith Wilkinson


Oak Award – this award is to recognise the volunteer roles within the office and home environments and the value they contribute. This could be administration, mentoring, training or research roles.  Philippa Batchelor



Juniper Award – this award recognises those volunteers that provide their voice or time to protect or raise awareness of woods and trees. Such as volunteer roles that champion our cause such as super campaigners, threat detectors, volunteer speakers and photographers. David Rodway



Willow Award – this award is for woodland volunteer groups that have achieved exceptional results in their work carried out on our estate. Bramingham wood woodland working group



Hazel Award – this award recognises the contribution of a new volunteer that has joined the organisation within the last 12 months and made a significant impact  Erin McKeown. Unfortunately Erin was unable to make it to the event so the award was collected on her behalf by Peter Lyons. 



Sapling Award – The schools award is a nomination for a pupil at a school registered on the Green Tree Schools Award and demonstrates that pupil’s commitment to engaging the whole school with woods and trees.  Callie T. Unfortunately Callie and her teacher were unable to make it to the event so the award was collected by our Schools and Communities Engagement Manager – Karen Letten. 



Volunteer Manager – This award recognises volunteer managers that have gone the extra mile to provide support to their volunteers.  Neil Oxley. Unfortunately Neil was tree planting with his volunteers and was unable to make the event, his award was collected by Nigel Balding a valued volunteer of Neil’s who nominated him for the award.



Charter Branch Award – To recognise the excellent work of Charter Branch’s and the special contribution made by a Charter Branch’s to engage members of their community in strengthening the connection between people and trees Tree Wardens – Wakefield

Thank you to everyone who came along to support the awards and our wonderful volunteers

  • TishJohnson

    Are there any interviews with the winners? We’d like to know why they won and what we did wrong!

    November 21, 2019 at 11:31 am
  • JamesLow

    I notice Tish that there has been no response from HQ to you comment.
    Personally, I think thse new awards are somehat divisive. I am not sure if the idea is to generate competition between volunteer groups but it does seem to have the affect of pitting volunteer group against volunteer group.
    What is badly missing if the trust wants dialogue and feedback from its many volunteers is an online forum that would allow volunteers to communicate (exchanging thoughts, ideas and information) with each other, with staff, with management and even with the Board of Trustees. I think too that it would be a much more valuable tool for the Trust than the proposed volunteer panel in terms of investing in volunteers.

    November 29, 2019 at 4:31 pm
  • Paul Taylor

    Hi Tish, apologises I only spotted this last night, half the team is currently on leave at the moment. We will be sharing more details of the winners over the next week in individual articles. We have had the benefit of video case studies in the last couple of years which we were already produced by this point.
    James – I will add your comments into our feedback.

    December 6, 2019 at 12:00 pm
  • JamesLow

    I am not sure what that means, Paul.

    December 7, 2019 at 9:31 pm
  • JamesLow

    Paul, touching further on my latter point, when will information about those volunteers who have been appointed by the Trust to the national volunteer panel to represent the body of volunteers be made known? What type of matters will the panel be discussing and voting on? Will the agenda and minutes of the panel meetings be available to volunteers?

    December 9, 2019 at 8:15 am
  • Paul Taylor

    Hi James, the terms of reference and task outline are in the libary section of Whittle. The details were shared some months ago on an earlier post when the roles went out for recruitment. Further details of the panel members and the panel will be posted in Febuary.


    December 12, 2019 at 2:59 pm
  • JamesLow

    Paul, That doesn’t really address all my points and questions!

    December 12, 2019 at 5:05 pm
  • JamesLow

    Hi Paul – I assume that you are not planning to respond further. What is posted in Library does not address the points I have made. How can panel members appointed by officers be true repesentatives of volunteers? What criteria were adopted in selecting panel members? What about my suggestion of an online forum, to which all volunteers can contribute directly? The panel chairperson will apparently not have a vote – so what kind of matters might the panel be voting upon? Will the agenda and minutes be posted here on Whittle?
    Happy New Year

    January 6, 2020 at 8:44 am
  • Paul Taylor

    Hi Jim,
    Happy New Year.
    I’ll do my best to answer the questions as well as I can at this stage.
    The panel members were recruited by the volunteers from the original panel; they were supported by a staff member that hadn’t met any of the applicants previously to be as impartial as possible. The model of the panel and its structure received very positive feedback from the NCVO and the proposal was created by a group of volunteers. The online forum to address the objectives of the need for a strategic voice into the organisation was discussed and discounted in favour of the current model.
    It is likely that there may be an online forum of some type in the future in addition to the panel, this though isn’t planned for 2020 and resources to moderate and respond to comments of up to 3000 volunteers in a timely manner would need to be given consideration, in addition to budget. I would though like to see this available in the not too distant future if feasible.
    With regards to what matters the panel will be discussing, this is difficult to answer as the first meeting is yet to take place. I could speculate as to what issues may come up, but with the first meeting only a few weeks away I think it best to publish the results afterwards, whether this is in the form of actions or minutes I am not yet sure. Over the past year the panel as it exists has been consulted on subjects such as legacies and GDPR.
    While this may not give you some of the detail you want at this stage, please keep in mind we are just at the beginning of this process and the panel isn’t ‘live’ yet. If you want to talk more I’m happy to schedule a call or a meeting when I am next in Scotland.

    Kind Regards


    January 6, 2020 at 5:03 pm
  • JamesLow

    Hi Paul,
    As it is unclear what might be discussed at the first meeting only a few weeks away can I suggest that first on the agenda is a proposal that the on-line forum for volunteers be brought higher amongst the Trust’s priorities, given how important we volunteers are to the organisation.
    It seems evident that the intended workings of the new panel are somewhat underdeveloped at this stage. I am comforted, however, in your undertaking to publish the minutes of the meetings, in the interests of openness and transparency.
    Incidentally I don’t know what NCVO stands for.

    January 7, 2020 at 12:05 am

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