We recognized the amazing contribution that people give to our charity through various volunteering opportunities.
On Thursday 30 January, we held our annual volunteer awards to highlight the essential work volunteers provide. We wanted to show our appreciation for 1000 registered volunteers who are vital to the charity as they allow us to continue working to improve the lives of those with Crohn's and Colitis. They help to raise awareness, give people hope, comfort and confidence to live fuller, freer lives.
The three main awards are based on the charity’s values; Ambitious, Compassionate and Stronger Together.
There were also two outstanding overall awards; Across the board and Trailblazer awards. All those that were nominated for the awards were nominated by their peers and Crohn’s & Colitis UK staff.
Angus McLean, 'Across the Board'
I was inspired to volunteer as I have firsthand experience of what it is like being newly diagnosed with IBD and the impact that the symptoms can have on day to day life. I found that very few people had an understanding of these conditions and was keen to meet others in my local area affected by IBD in order to share experiences and receive and provide support. I jumped at the chance to join the relaunched Edinburgh Network and have been volunteering for the charity ever since.
On a personal level my proudest achievement is co-founding the Spring Ball. This has quickly become one of the hottest tickets on the Edinburgh social scene and in the 8 years raised over £500,000 for Crohn’s & Colitis UK and IBD research in Scotland.
Sally Newman-Russell, ‘Trailblazer’
Supporting the children at the Family Network event in our area and seeing them gain confidence, smile and feel like every other child without stigma for a day has been the most memorable moment whilst being a volunteer for Crohn’s & Colitis UK. Seeing their faces lighting up with excitement and enjoyment was brilliant.
I hope to see in the future more people aware of not just the disease names but them having understanding too. Hopefully in the future people will know the difficulties of being labelled with a lifelong and life impacting illness and see what they can do to help or ease the path for patients.
Anna Gaunt, 'Compassionate'
I was inspired to volunteer because I didn’t want people to feel alone, like I had when I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I wanted to help people to feel supported in what can be a daunting time. On the first training weekend, I was nervous to be away from the comfort of my own home whilst dealing with Crohn’s. I was completely overwhelmed by how I felt so at ease for the first time in a long time, surrounded by people who just understood.
Volunteering for Crohn’s & Colitis UK has not only supported me in my own journey with Crohn’s Disease, but has also taught me to be less judgmental and more empathetic in all aspects of life. It’s changed me as a person and is one of the best things I’ve done.
Sharon Williams, 'Amitious'
I was inspired to volunteer after 15 years of keeping my Ulcerative Colitis to myself and immediate family only, I wanted to try and lift the massive weight on my shoulders by being open and talking to others who actually understand and then helping others by being willing to break down the stigma. Talking with my local network inspired me to continue talking about it, to as many people as I can! Raising awareness helps others know that they’re not alone.
I get that superb feeling of ‘I’ve really helped someone today’ even just providing a listening ear can mean the world to someone. I am proud to be a volunteer and leading our network into the best year we’ve had so far is a very proud and memorable moment.
Lorraine Hammond, 'Stronger Together'
I attended a volunteer event and met a representative from Crohn’s & Colitis UK. He talked about Crohn’s and Colitis and inspired me to try and help in some way as a volunteer. I volunteered for what I thought was for a couple of photos to be taken by the marketing team, but to my surprise, arrived to a “photoshoot” with role play scenarios. I enjoyed the session which gave Crohn’s and Colitis a bank of photos to use. It is still a surprise to see myself in leaflets!
I have learnt so much about the disease, which I knew nothing about before volunteering. In my daily life, I have come across so many people with Crohn’s and Colitis and can now understand their issues more clearly and point them in the right direction to get the support they need from Crohn’s & Colitis UK.
We are thrilled to recognize the massive achievements of our incredible volunteers with our awards. Our volunteers constantly inspire and amaze me at the dedicated time and effort they put in towards supporting the cause and the charity. People like these winners volunteer their time, skills and experiences in a variety of roles throughout Crohn’s & Colitis UK.
You can see a full list of volunteer award winners and nominees.