2016 Community champions.

These people are long standing volunteers actively organising causes and projects out of their community.

Pennie Thomas – Volunteers with the Denton Community Challenge

Is a Committee made up of the local Church, Friends and Associates of Denton School (FADS) , and the James Daniel Memorial Fund (JDMF) along with other local volunteers.

Since 2012, we’ve held a successful community sporting event for local families, where children can take part in all sorts of activities for a small contribution. I have helped out our local Scout Group since 2012 with fund raising events and well as my technical and graphical skills.

The organising committee hire items like climbing walls, and bungee trampolines and charge the children of the village a nominal amount to have a go. Newhaven does have a higher proportion of ‘poorer’ families, and so some of our fund-raising goes on subsidising some of our bigger attractions. We pay out around £700 per attraction and run them at a loss so that the children have a chance to do things that they wouldn’t normally be able to do due to cost.

Any remaining funds raised from the event are split between the above DCC groups, and all the money goes back into the community. But the day is not about fund raising. It’s about providing a fun and inclusive day for families to enjoy, and raising awareness of local sporting groups.

The James Daniel Memorial Fund has been running since December 2005. The family decided to set up the fund after James’ death in 2005 in a road traffic accident. He was at University in Chichester training to be a PE teacher. His passions were cricket and football, but he loved any kind of sporting activity.
In honour of this, we are committed to helping local clubs/societies/schools with funds towards equipment, coaching courses and anything that will help young people to develop.

I attend all the committee meetings, and help advise on decisions made. I feel quite humbled by the other people on the committee.

Nick Keating – Volunteer for the Tilgate parkrun and St Catherine’s Hospice

I wanted to encourage people to become fitter and to encourage community involvement whilst having fun at the same time. I heard there was a possibility of setting up a local event so I asked to be involved and ended up setting up the Tilgate parkrun in 2012.

We now get around 500 runners and 40 volunteers each week and there has been over 9,000 people that have taken part. I have personally volunteered over 200 times, helping set up the course, organise volunteers, do the timing and then process the results afterwards. I also handle any issues that arise on the day as well as help look after the emails, volunteering schedule and social media activity. Our event is free and takes part every Saturday and is designed to be fully inclusive with ages from 4 to 80 yrs old. People can walk or run and we have people with dogs, children in buggies, blind runners with their guides and we even had a runner run with a Goat! As I no longer run, I enjoy volunteering and helping ensure runs smoothly on the day.

I have personal experience of the great work St Catherine’s Hospice provides and I wanted to help the hospice in any way I could, I have run marathons and taken part in long distance walks in order to raise funds for the Hospice. I also sell Santa Suits each Christmas in aid of the Hospice. I take a day off work each Christmas to collect collection boxes from various businesses / churches and schools in Sussex and Surrey.

I also help out at various charity events that the Hospice carry out, offering my support and guidance on the day.

Stacie Miller – Girl Scouts Troop Co-leader of America and HAYSL (Hagerstown Area Youth Soccer League)

My daughters both belong to a Girl Scouts group and through this group we have had the opportunity to make a real difference in the community by using the proceeds from cookie sales to put back into a number of community projects.

As the Girl Scout troop co-leader and Troop Cookie Manager I am able to help teach the girls the different aspects of the Girl Scout law, like how to make the world a better place, to be a sister to every girl scout.

Last year we sold 2800 boxes of cookies, enabling us to make large donations of food, supplies and money to our local humane society, a donation back to the Girl Scout SHARE program, a donation to a local church that works with the community and we also sold 300 donated boxes of cookies that we split between our local fire and police stations and the battered women and children shelters in our area.

This year I have organized a coat drive and a canned food drive with the girls in the troop, we filled 20 shoe boxes of new toys, school supplies etc. to send to Samaritan’s Purse.

I played soccer in high school and always wanted to stay involved, both of my daughters now play and I get to work with a lot of young people, building teamwork and other skills. I and the Head coach for two youth soccer teams for HAYSL, one for 4-5 year olds and the other for 6-8 year olds.

Mark Hughes – Volunteers for Over The Wall for children with life-limiting illnesses

Is a UK children’s charity and a member of the international SeriousFun Children’s Network. We provide free of charge Therapeutic Recreation camps to help children with life-limiting illnesses and their families, reach beyond the perceived limitations of illness to rediscover a whole new world of possibilities. Through participation in a proven programme of fun-filled recreational and educational activities, our camps help promote inclusion whilst developing the confidence, self-esteem, coping strategies and peer relationships of all our campers.

We give children one glorious week of experiences that are memorable, exciting, fun and empowering, in a physically safe and medically sound environment.

I initially became involved in Over The Wall after I was diagnosed with cancer in 1998 (I was 12). I was given the opportunity to attend the camp and after having such an incredible time I returned every year until I was 17.

When I was 18 I applied to volunteer and have been going back ever since. It is without a doubt ALWAYS the highlight of my year!

I volunteer for 2 week long camps each year and also attend several interview days throughout the year to ‘interview’ any potential volunteers. At camp I am normally a team leader of one of the groups of campers as well as guiding the other volunteers within the team.

Pascal Nsokolo – Supporter for Water Aid UK

I have been an active charity campaigner, fundraiser and supporter for way over 7 years now, helping make a difference to the lives of many disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people at home and abroad.

I am currently heavily involved with Water Aid UK as a Water Campaigner and Volunteer Speaker engaging with Community groups, Schools, Service organisation, Rotary clubs, Churches, and Companies across Surrey, Kent and the South East, raising awareness on water poverty, sanitation & hygiene and above all helping raise the much needed funds for the vital life - saving work that Water Aid UK does and transforming the lives of the world's poorest and some of the most marginalised people.

I have seen first-hand the difference that access to clean safe water does to transform communities, during my many visits to Zambia where my parents come from. Having clean safe water changes everything, better health, more schooling instead of children spending time fetching filthy water and small business and farming begin to thrive.

I will continue to encourage others to get involved and make a difference.

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