A DEDICATED volunteer who has been helping Purbeck families for a decade has been recognised with a special award.
Sarah Gardiner was recognised for 10 years of service as a volunteer supporting families in the local area through the Home-Start Wessex charity.
She received her award from CEO of the charity Peter Grigg during an afternoon tea awards ceremony this month.
“I have enjoyed all of the families I have worked with, and I have learnt such a lot,” Sarah said.
“It’s not just us giving, it’s us learning too.”
Meanwhile Nicki Gibbons, based near Wimborne, was given a two-year volunteering award.
Mr Grigg said: “There are so many pressures that families face. What Home-Starts can do is give time. Precious time to spend with families who really need it. That’s what makes a difference.”
Chris Thomas, chair of the Board of Trustees at Home-Start Wessex, said: “It’s amazing what’s been achieved over the last year, especially in the shadow of the pandemic. “I’ve had the privilege of seeing our staff and volunteers in action, and you all have such compassion, professionalism and great commitment to what you do.”
The event also celebrated the generous local businesses who came together to support the charity during their 25 for 25 campaign.
“When we launched into our 25th anniversary year, I came up with the idea of getting 25 businesses to all give us £800, so we could help 25 more families,” said Caroline Pope, community and corporate engagement manager.
“Luckily, local businessmen Shan and Steve jumped straight on board and helped make it happen.”
Receiving a gift of thanks for his contribution, Shan Seewooruthun from Amirez Developments, said: “For us, it was an honour to support the campaign. We would like to say well done to all of you for putting your time and effort in, helping make local families’ lives easier.
“We know the money really does go to local children and is used in the best way.”
Caroline also thanked Kate Ware from The Bath Works, who not only supported the 25 for 25 campaigns but also went on to run a January sale, donating an additional £4,700 to the charity.
Since 1995, Home-Start Wessex has helped more than 3,500 families and supported more than 10,000 children in Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, the Purbecks, Blandford and Cranborne and into the Wiltshire and Hampshire borders.
For more information, including on how to volunteer for the charity, log on to homestartwessex.org.uk.