Helen Johnson Award Celebrates Our Volunteers

Sandy Frew accepting the Helen Johnson award

Voluntary Norfolk launches new award in honour of former chair to celebrate volunteering

To celebrate the amazing contribution of volunteers across its various services, Voluntary Norfolk has set up the Helen Johnson Award.

It is named after former trustee and chair of the board, Helen Johnson, who spent 16 years supporting the charity.

Alan Hopley, the CEO of Voluntary Norfolk said:

“Trustees of charities are often some of the most important driving forces of an organisation. So I am delighted that we have had the opportunity to celebrate the contribution both of Helen and the volunteers who were nominated for the award in her honour.

“I know how important volunteering is, the way it improves the lives of everyone associated with it, so it’s only right that we should celebrate our volunteers. I started volunteering since I was 25. It’s changed my life and it’s changed other people’s lives. All the volunteers nominated went above and beyond in their service of others and I am so grateful for their efforts.”

Voluntary Norfolk supports 100s of volunteers in a range of roles from helping in surgeries and hospitals to providing non-emergency transport for patients as well as checking on people in their homes after stays in hospitals.

The nominees for the Helen Johnson Award

The four volunteers nominated were:

  • Jo Lyon who has been volunteering with the Community Support Service. Although she has only been involved for the last six months, she has already completed 34 activities and given 50 hours of support to clients.
  • Rob Bettinson has been volunteering twice a week at the Leg Ulcer Clinic at Northgate Hospital for the last year. He contributes nine hours a week of his time to assist the clinician there.
  • Keith King has been a volunteer driver for seven years, during that time he has taken hundreds of patients to essential medical appointments across East Anglia.
  • Sandy Frew has been a volunteer for Voluntary Norfolk in the NCH&C Volunteer Service for two years. In that time, he has logged over 1000 hours of volunteering.

Commenting on the four nominees, Helen Johnson said:

“All nominees demonstrate the power of the gift relationship – i.e. the desire to give something of yourself for which there is no immediate or tangible reward. Each one represented something very special.

“Joanne is immensely thoughtful and undertakes acts of great kindness and empathy. She shows an instinctive response and ability to hone in on what matters to individuals. Rob has got great people skills especially amongst the elderly. Giving people dignity at the end of their lives is really admirable as well as his ability to manage relationships with others. Keith is the quintessential volunteer – reliable and committed. Lives would be much more difficult without him. Sandy Frew is a perfect example of a person using their organisational skills and in so doing makes a measurable difference to colleagues.”

Sandy Frew accepting the Helen Johnson awardVoluntary Norfolk is, as ever, immensely grateful to every volunteer who dedicates their time and energy to make a profound difference in their communities, especially the four who were nominated for the Helen Johnson award. Their commitment to service embodies the essence of community spirit which makes Norfolk such a wonderful county to live and work in.


The Helen Johnson Award Winner

It was decided that the winner of the inaugural Helen Johnson award would be Sandy Frew.

Sandy Frew volunteering with NCH&C supporting the NHS

Sandy volunteers with his wife Jo. They help organise the Medical Stockroom at Dereham Community Hospital, which supports the Community Nursing Team. The weekly delivery of medical stock is large compared with deliveries for other stockrooms across the region, with bandages, syringes, various kits, gloves, continence pads and so on. It often takes both Sandy and Jo 3 to 4 hours per week working together to check invoices, unpack boxes, put items away and remove out of date items in the stockrooms. They also complete a stock check for the staff once a month.

Sandy says: “It allows the team to not worry about having the proper equipment and medical supplies. When they take it from the stock room, they know it’s in good condition and not out of date because we sort that out for them.”

Sandy has saved the NHS hours of work on deliveries and checking stock. This is vital time that staff can use to focus on patients. It’s estimated he has saved about an additional 100 staff working days in the past 2 years.

Sandy would recommend volunteering at NCH&S to others, especially for people who have retired. He said:

“There’s nothing worse than sitting around the house with nothing to do. The NHS Staff are so busy, even if you’re lacking mobility there are volunteer roles you can do by phone.”

Find out more

To find out about volunteering with Voluntary Norfolk, click here:

Volunteer Here