Every year Rotary hosts the Champions Awards, celebrating the outstanding humanitarian and community service conducted by volunteers from across Great Britain and Ireland.
This year, three Rotarians will be crowned Champions of Change, alongside seven Community Champions (members of the public whose efforts have been recognised by their local Rotary club).
Here we meet the three Champions of Change winners who have been making a difference tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting vulnerable people and their carers, organising community events and so much more.
This year’s winners will accept their awards at Volunteer Expo Live – the UK’s national volunteering show that is being held at the NEC in Birmingham on the 6th and 7th of May. Click here to find out more about the event and claim your free ticket. The dedicated ceremony will take place on the evening of the 7th during the Champions Awards Gala Dinner which you can register your place for here.
Martin Andrew was a founding member of Haddenham and District Rotary in 1987 and has diligently served Rotary ever since, serving as President of the club twice in 1992 and 2017.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2021, it was requested that someone take the lead in establishing the pharmacy-led vaccination programme for the settlement in which Haddenham and District Rotary was located and, of course, Martin stepped up to the plate.
Martin subsequently recruited and trained over 100 volunteers including other Haddenham and District Rotary Club Rotarians, and managed the volunteer rota.
Under Martin’s stewardship, the team of volunteers delivered up to 400 vaccinations each day since the facility opened and did all this with a maintained morale and commitment encouraged by Martin.
Against all odds, Martin successfully served his community at a crucial time, with his team of Haddenham volunteers giving over 2000 hours of time towards vaccination efforts.
Alan Bush has been a dedicated member of the Rotary Club of Sherwood Sunrisers for the past 20 years, having once served as the club’s President during that time.
Alan is highly regarded by his fellow Rotarians for his organisation and running of the Rotary Club of Sherwood Sunrisers Memory Café, both before, but especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The café was there for carers and their ‘cared for relatives’ to meet on a regular basis in a friendly environment and when the pandemic made gathering at the café impossible Alan kept the café active through Zoom.
During this time he kept in contact with each of “Café Members” with personal contact and phone calls and, where necessary, he has done shopping, taken members and their carers for PCR testing and supported carers following bereavements.
The café was part of a joint initiative with Carers UK to extend their work throughout the District 1220 area and the project was such a success that Alan was able to take on the role of District Ambassador / Co-ordinator for the Rotary Carers UK joint initiative and is using this role to provide important information and support to carers in the District 1220 area.
It has always been Steve Gale’s mission to serve the community and help others, as shown by a lifetime of volunteering which involved being President of his current Rotary club – Thorpe Bay Rotary.
Steve has been Assistant Governor at Thorpe Bay Rotary for the past few years and has truly set the bar for what a volunteer can achieve, helping to raise over £100,000 during lockdown.
A prime example of why Steve has earned this nomination is his handling of The Foulness Bike Ride – a community event that brings together cyclists of all ages and abilities.
It was through Steve’s building of respect with the local community, tenant farmers and The Foulness Conservation and Archaeological Society that the club managed to work out a new route for the bike ride that kept everyone in attendance safe and socially distanced.
Just under 1,000 riders took part in the race, with plenty of money being raised for charity and feedback from local residents reporting that 2021’s ride was the most efficient version of the event so far.
Meet our Community Champions
As well as Rotary members, the Rotary Champions Awards also recognises amazing members of the public in a second category; Community Champions.
Read their amazing stories here.