“Love where you live” volunteers honoured


Advaith Prabhu with his parents Shilpa Balachandran and Prabhu Natarajan

Awards for individuals and groups who have gone above and beyond to help others

People who give their time to make a real difference in our community have been recognised at this year’s Cherwell “Love Where You Live” Volunteer Awards.  

Local people were asked to nominate individuals and groups who have gone above and beyond to help others during the last 12 months.

The awards, which were organised by Sanctuary and Cherwell District Council, were presented during a celebratory afternoon tea in the gardens at Cherwell’s Bodicote House HQ.

Seven-year-old Advaith (Addhu) Prabhu from Bretch Hill was named as the Young Volunteer of the Year thanks to his efforts, with his father, Prabhu Natarajan, delivering food parcels to those in need.   On his birthday Addhu dressed up as Captain America and delivered toys and food parcels to local families and gave away all his toys to help raise money for others.  He also raised £2,000 for Meningitis Research by walking 50 circuits of Spiceball Park with his family.

Pat Woolley from the Citizens Advice Bureau was named the Volunteer of the Year.  She gives her time to them five days a week, supporting new assessors and volunteer advisors, and helping with client queries.

From Banbury Community Garden Harriet Jordan, Zsofia Buda, Tila Rodrigues and Lynda Smith

A huge number of entrants competed for the Community Venue of the Year Award with the Banbury Community Garden picking up the award.   The garden is a Banbury Community Action Group project.   In 2021 it began actively reaching out to diverse groups offering events such as an International Women’s Day lunch and Eid celebrations, together with activities to bring the community together with a focus on gardening, nature and home-grown produce.

Voluntary Organisation of the Year was Nai’s House in Bicester, which provides mental health support for young people to prevent suicide.  

Ruby Radwan, Shirin McGregor and Natasha Cronin receive the award for Nai’s House

Keen walker Norman Smith from Bicester received the Lifetime Volunteer Award.   Norman worked out that over the last 27 years he has walked more than 83,800 miles.  He is one of the ‘Centurions of 1911’ – a group set up that year to list those who have walked 100 miles in 24 hours. To date only 1,209 people have made the list.

Charlie Heritage, Sanctuary’s neighbourhood partnerships manager, said: “This is the fourth year we have held these awards and we’ve been bowled over by the tremendous work of the volunteers in our community over the last 12 months. It really is an honour to be able to put the spotlight on these inspirational individuals and groups.” 

Councillor Phil Chapman, portfolio holder for healthy communities, said: “My warmest congratulations to everyone who won a Cherwell Volunteer Award this year. The ceremony shone a light on some of the amazing groups and individuals who are giving their time and hard work to make Cherwell district an even better place to live and work.

“Volunteering is incredibly rewarding for those who do it and by supporting the awards we want to continue to encourage and support those who are building and strengthening our communities.

“I’m very pleased that this year’s brilliant winners are getting the recognition they deserve!”

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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