Norwood celebrates volunteers’ amazing contribution to the charity at annual awards event

7 September 2018

Over 200 guests celebrated at Norwood’s sixth annual Volunteer Recognition Awards ceremony, held on Tuesday 4 September at The Postal Museum in London.

The awards recognise the huge contribution Norwood’s 1,500 volunteers make to the UK’s largest Jewish children’s, family and learning disability charity. The work of Norwood’s volunteers equates to over £2m in support to the charity every year.

Volunteers dedicate thousands of hours of hard work and special commitment to supporting Norwood with its services, contributing with projects and programmes or in a support role. Over the evening, an impressive nine awards were presented.

Among the winners were Norwood’s Adult Volunteer Counsellors, Aviva Melamed, Myriam Kahmi and Frederika Loire, who won the Professional of the Year Award. The Adult Counselling Team is predominately supported by volunteer counsellors who give therapy hours to families in need based at our Children and Families Centre at Kennedy Leigh.

Aviva Melamed, one of the winners of the Professional of the Year Award, said: “Norwood is an amazing organisation who looks after and cares for so many families. I have been with Norwood for over three years and it has become a second home to me. The Kennedy Leigh Family Centre reception team welcomed me with such warmth and care – like one of the family. I feel truly honoured and privileged to have received this award but I couldn’t have done it without my fantastic team. The adult counselling service is here to provide individuals with a place to express and explore their feelings in a non-judgmental and safe environment. A huge thank you to the amazing, strong and fabulous women with whom I share this award!”

Joint Norwood President Lady Nicola Mendelsohn CBE delivered a speech praising the volunteers’ contribution to Norwood and the people it supports. She said: “An enormous thank you to every single one of you for being here tonight. Thank you to you all for your precious and valuable time. Seeing all of the winners on stage tonight and hearing about the incredible things that each and every one of you do, you just can’t help but leaving the Postal Museum feeling that little bit more inspired. Every single one of Norwood’s 1,500 volunteers makes an enormous contribution to the charity’s ongoing mission to achieve excellence in everything that we do.”

Jennie Wharram, Norwood’s Head of Volunteering and Trading, said: “Our volunteers have been part of Norwood’s success in so many ways over the past year. Their passion and dedication in our children and family centres, in our adult learning disability services, in our charity shops, and in our support services, has been vital in changing the lives of thousands of vulnerable people in our community. Whether or not our volunteers won an award tonight, we’re incredibly grateful to them all – they’re an inspiration!”

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Notes for editors

The results for the categories were as follows:

Norwood’s Young People’s Volunteer Award was awarded to the National Citizen Service. Over 100 young people from the National Citizen Service have worked alongside Norwood’s workforce and the people we support.

The Fundraising Award went to Laurence Smith, the father of Jeremy, who lives in one of our residential services. Laurence has taken on multiple fundraising challenges for Norwood, including a 240km Central Europe cycling challenge with Jeremy riding in a specially adapted wheelchair on the front of Laurence’s bike.

The Professional of the Year Award went to Norwood’s Adult Volunteer Counsellors. The Adult Counselling Team is predominately supported by volunteer counsellors who give therapy hours to families in need based at our Children and Families Centre at Kennedy Leigh.

The Unsung Heroes Award went to Joanne May who volunteers with Norwood’s workforce department, events team and fundraising activities, playing a vital role in supporting our frontline services.

The Community Award was accepted by Rosalind Bluestone, CEO and Founder of Goods for Good, who send goods donated by business and individuals in the UK to vulnerable communities around the world. Our partnership has seen Norwood take part in numerous events, collections and interfaith projects, and many of the volunteers are people supported by Norwood.

The Corporate Partnership Award was awarded to Urban Exposure. Directors, partners and staff from the development finance provider turned gardeners for the day as they transformed a Norwood residence garden with the help of the people we support.

The Lady J Award was awarded to Carol Sopher, who is coming to the end of her 15th year as our Annual Dinner Committee Chair. She will be stepping down after this year’s dinner. Her leadership and dedication led to 1,300 people attending last year’s Annual Dinner, making it the largest dinner in the community.

The Outstanding Contribution award went to Leon Winsky and Helen Isaacs. Leon, our Music and Entertainer volunteer, has been entertaining our residents for over four years. Helen has been providing vital administrative support to Norwood’s support services for many years. 

The Special Commendation Award went to David Freeman and Hamid O’Toole. Norwood’s support to many of our adults and their families extends as far as being responsible for their personal financial wellbeing. David and Hamid work hard to ensure that the people we support receive the financial support they are entitled to, so they can access opportunities and enjoy the world around them.

Further information

For further information please contact Norwood press team:

By email:

By phone: 020 8420 6266 or 07736 458532

More images are available upon request

About Norwood

Norwood is the largest Jewish charity in the UK supporting vulnerable children and their families, children with special educational needs and people with learning disabilities and autism.

Founded in 1795, Norwood is one of the UK’s oldest charities and the only Jewish charity to enjoy the Patronage of Her Majesty The Queen.

It helps children and adults to maximise their potential at home, at school and throughout their lives, through personalised services designed to enable choice.

Each year Norwood needs £35m to keep its services running, £12m of which comes through voluntary donations. These services include over 55 sites across London and the South East.

Norwood currently runs eight charity shops across North and East London thanks to the support of 150 dedicated volunteers.

Norwood Volunteering

Norwood relies on around 1500 volunteers who give their time regularly to support our work. Hundreds more support our events and fundraising activities.

People choose to volunteer for Norwood for so many reasons, but they all have one thing in common: an understanding of how important it is to support our work in their communities.

There are many ways that you can help support Norwood’s work too. Whatever your skills or interests, we are bound to have something you will enjoy doing.

To apply to be a volunteer, then please call our Volunteering team on 020 8420 6926 or email

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