AGM Awards

This year saw the launch of the Volunteering Matters AGM Awards – celebrating new projects across each of our community pillars.

We have launched many amazing new projects in the past year, all made possible by talented and dedicated volunteers across the UK. We were delighted to shine a spotlight on some of them at the Volunteering Matters 2017 Annual General Meeting which took place on the 28th of September.

Young People

Torfaen based project, Activ8, was celebrated in the young people’s category. The project enables young people aged 18 to 24 who are not in education, employment or training to make informed decisions in their job and education search, and gain qualifications and skills that enhance their employability.

Collecting the award, Activ8 volunteer Sophie said: “I decided to get involved in volunteering because I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression and I wanted to give back to community that has given so much to myself. Activ8 is a brilliant project and we’re really pleased to receive this award.”

Older People

Sporting Chance launched in Sheffield this year thanks to support from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. Picking up the award in the older people’s category, Project Development Officer Jamie Crowther said:  “A lot of the Sporting Chance guys have said they weren’t doing any activities before. They might be bereaved or living far away from family and I don’t know what they’d be doing if Sporting Chance wasn’t there. It’s great to see the difference it can make.”


From our families pillar of work we heard from the Knowledge Equals Opportunities (KEO) project which supports migrant families in Suffolk with primary school aged children. KEO aims to help parents and families new to the UK to create the right conditions for learning – by providing information, increasing parental engagement with schools, inspiring parents to value their child’s education, and enabling parents to support their child in school.

Project Coordinator Sandra Nicotera praised her team of volunteers. She said: “It’s fantastic to see how trust is built between the community and families. The volunteers are absolutely fantastic and we’ve seen families go on to volunteer in their children’s schools or go into work, or even help to encourage others to come along to the programme so that they too can benefit from the information.”

Disabled People

Inspiring Young Disabled People, supported by Zurich Financial Services, was celebrated in the disabled people’s category. The project gives young disabled people the opportunity to build their aspirations and confidence through work placements and one-to-one mentoring from Zurich staff.

The mother of one participant (aged 16) wrote in an email to his Zurich mentor “Dressing smartly and finding his way to you independently also made him feel much more grown up – which I guess is part of it all. Your feedback to him is extremely helpful. It was clearly a very well structured and well communicated programme, and he felt very confident and contained by it – thank you. It is rare to hear him say ‘I felt proud of myself’ but that is exactly what he said when reflecting on the week.”

Employee Volunteering

We were also delighted to welcome Debbie Bullock, Community Investment Manager at Aviva to celebrate their new Employee Volunteering partnership with us. Aviva provides around 31 million customers worldwide with insurance, savings and investment products. The work has already got off to a great start, engaging ten regional offices with active teams of volunteers and they are hoping to incorporate both traditional practical team projects along with projects where their teams can share and develop their business and soft skills.

Debbie said: “Employee Volunteering is something we are truly passionate about at Aviva and our employees love the flexibility of the opportunities Volunteering Matters offer. Once volunteers get a taste of it, many go on to do even more volunteering.”

Our members, trustees and staff were delighted to meet and hear from these projects at the 2017 AGM.  But they are just a few examples of the impact volunteering has made to communities across the UK over the past year. To find out more about our work, visit our projects and programmes page.