Community celebrates volunteer heroes at annual JVN Award ceremony

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Community celebrates volunteer heroes at annual JVN Award ceremony

Jewish Volunteer Network special recognition award presented to CST volunteers whilst Kindertransport refugees Ann and Bob Kirk won Outstanding Lifetime Achievement

  • Pic: Emma Ziff Photography
    Pic: Emma Ziff Photography
  • Nicky Goldman, JVN Chief Executive. Pic: Emma Ziff Photography
    Nicky Goldman, JVN Chief Executive. Pic: Emma Ziff Photography
  • Volunteers of the Year, JVN 2024. Pic: Emma Ziff Photography
    Volunteers of the Year, JVN 2024. Pic: Emma Ziff Photography
  • JVN Award. Pic: Emma Ziff Photography
    JVN Award. Pic: Emma Ziff Photography
  • Lord-Lieutenant-Richard-Voss. Pic: Emma Ziff Photography
    Lord-Lieutenant-Richard-Voss. Pic: Emma Ziff Photography
  • JVN CEO, Nicky Goldman. Pic: Emma Ziff Photography
    JVN CEO, Nicky Goldman. Pic: Emma Ziff Photography

More than 350 guests from the Jewish and wider community celebrated 89 charity award winners from 37 charities at the JVN (Jewish Volunteer Network) Honouring Volunteers Awards 2023 in media partnership with Jewish News.

Israel President Isaac Herzog launched the event at the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire with a specially taped message from Jerusalem talking about 7th October and how volunteers bind the community together.

Introduced by community compere, Nigel Rothband, every volunteer that won an award told their own story and each winner was individually recognised.

This year’s awards showcased volunteers from four award categories: Volunteer of the Year, Volunteer Team of the Year, Young Adult Volunteer of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award.

The event also introduced the Roy Henry z”l Special Recognition Award, presented to the CST volunteers whose role, especially since October 7 has been crucial in keeping the community safe in the UK. The announcement received a standing ovation from the guests.

Lifetime Achievement Award winners, JVN January 2024. Pic: Emma Ziff Photography.

Leesa Mather, human resources director, CST said: “On behalf of all the CST volunteers across the UK we were delighted to receive The Roy Henry Special Recognition Award 2023, Volunteer Team of the Year AND for one of our volunteers, a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“These awards are a lovely recognition to our volunteers who tirelessly and without thanks protect the Jewish community at events, synagogues and schools (take out functions) throughout the year. We were also humbled to be in the same room as hundreds of other amazing volunteers who each in their own way do everything possible to help make a difference for our Jewish community.”

Leesa Mather, CST. Pic: Emma Ziff Photography

The Citron, Sivan and Sefton Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award went to Ann and Bob Kirk, volunteers at Liberal Jewish Synagogue.

Benita Hart, Chair of The Liberal Jewish Synagogue said: “The Liberal Jewish Synagogue is thrilled that Ann and Bob Kirk, members for over 70 years, have been presented with the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award by the Jewish Volunteering Network. This high accolade is testament to their dedication, and warmth and love for their community.’

The Wohl Legacy Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award went to Cheryl Brodie, volunteer at Liberal Jewish Synagogue. Claudia Mendoza, chief executive officer of the Jewish Leadership Council said: “Cheryl has been amazing at facilitating development programmes for the JLC’s Leadership division Lead and the feedback that we’ve had from community members has been phenomenal.

“She has used her skill and her expertise, giving back pro bono to the community at large. The entire community should be indebted to her for passing on her knowledge and training up so many more people. We are absolutely delighted that she has been recognised in this way.”

Cheryl Brodie JLC and Pam Goldsmith Wohl. Pic: Emma Ziff Photography.

The Investec Wealth and Investment UK Outstanding Volunteer Team of the Year Award went to the Kisharon Langdon mergers team. Richard Franklin, chief executive of Kisharon Langdon said: “I nominated the Kisharon Langdon Merger Team because of their incredible dedication over and above their normal giving of time that they put towards the merger of Kisharon and Langdon. The complexities of the issues they were dealing with in such a collaborative way really stood out for me.

Kisharon Langdon merger team and Nicola Toyer of Investec UK. Pic: Emma Ziff Photography

“I really admire their absolute bravery and commitment to a broader vision of the benefit for people with learning disabilities and autistic people and for the Jewish community as a whole. The Merger Team’s dedication really set an example to us on the executive team, to their peers in their own communities and I hope to their own children, as we know that young people are the lifeblood of any organisation like Kisharon Langdon and the future of the volunteering landscape”.

Young-adult-volunteers-of-the-year. Pic: Emma Ziff Photography.

The Edwards Family Foundation Outstanding Young Adult Volunteer of the Year Award went to Abigail Saltman, volunteer at Jewish Care.

Richard Shone, Jewish Care’s director of community services, volunteering, social work, and hospitality said: “We are so proud of Abigail for winning the JVN Outstanding Young Adult Volunteer Award this year. Abigail’s youth volunteering, her participation in Jewish Care’s MIKE Youth Programme, volunteering in our day centre services, and of course the magnificent fundraising she did when she jumped out of an aeroplane to raise money for Jewish Care’s new Redbridge care campus, is an incredible achievement.”

JVN also premiered a new video, by BBC director David Coleman, about volunteers that JVN have helped place over the past year.

Abigail Saltman young MIKE leader is reaching great heights in Skydive for Jewish Care. Pic: Jewish Care

Chair of JVN and event host Daniel Levy, said: “At a time of unparalleled difficulty in Israel and within our community, this was a rare moment to reflect on the positive impact of volunteering and spotlight the real heroes of our community, giving charities the opportunity to shine.”

Nicky Goldman JVN’s chief executive said: “It was so inspiring and humbling to hear the stories of volunteering of all the charity award winners, as well as the outstanding winners in each category. In the words of Rabbi Sacks, ‘our community could not exist for a day without its volunteers’ and the volunteers’ stories showed how and why this is true.

Ann and Bob Kirk, with JVN President Daniel Levy. Pic: Michelle Rosenberg, January 2024

“It was wonderful to come together and honour people who give of themselves, week in week out, to do what is in their power to make the world a better place. Thank you to the charities for awarding their winners and to our dignitaries, including the Lord Lieutenant, Robert Voss CBE CStJ, the Mayors of the London Borough of Barnet and Hertsmere and leaders of the British Jewish community.”

An independent judging panel, headed by Dame Mary Marsh, studied each nomination individually and chose the outstanding winners from each category.

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