Stockport Volunteer Club Logo in a landscape format
Letters spelling 'SK Rocks' lit up in a dark room

Over 150 volunteers celebrated at Stockport's first

Volunteer Awards in over a decade

On Tuesday 21 May Stockport hosted the first ever Stockport Rocks! 

This unforgettable evening saw 400 guests gather at Edgeley Park to honor the extraordinary local volunteers who positively impact the lives of many in our community.

The event was impeccably hosted by Stockport County Club President, Steve Bellis, who guided us through a night where 32 individuals and organisations were presented with awards.

However, it wasn’t just about the winners. Over 150 volunteers were present at the Awards, all of whom had been nominated for an Award and were treated to a magical night including a two course meal and drinks. After dinner we were treated to an emotional performance by Beechwood Community Choir.

Stockport Rocks! was a team effort between Stockport Volunteer Hub, Sector 3, Stockport County Community Trust, Marketing Stockport, and Stockport Council. Plus of course the incredible array of sponsors, made up of local businesses, who helped make the event a reality.

We received an overwhelming 300 nominations across 101 different organisations, which made the judging process a considerable challenge! But what a lovely challenge to have.

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of Stockport Council, summed up the feeling of the night, saying:

“I was honored to celebrate the fantastic achievements of so many of our volunteers at the inaugural Stockport Rocks! Awards. Volunteers are the backbone of our community, and it’s essential to acknowledge their significant contributions towards creating a happy and healthy Stockport.”

The night was filled with joy, appreciation, and tears as we celebrated the fantastic individuals that help make Stockport the friendly place it is.

We’ll definitely be back again for Stockport Rocks 2025!

The Winners and Highly Commended:

Volunteer Mentor Award – sponsored by Planisware

Winner:

  • Carol Potts – Beechwood Cancer Care

Highly Commended:

  • Andrew Millest – CERA Cycloan
  • Sue Dockney (pictured) – Empowering Parents Empowering Communities

Winner:

  • Steve Hall – Banter & Brews

Highly Commended:

  • Karen Ainley (picutred) – Stockport County Community Trust
  • Luigi Di Vuono

WINNER:

  • Agnes Pimblett – Friends of Heaton Norris Park

 

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • Carl Palmer – Woodley & Bredbury Community Garden

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • Greg Pike – Marple Climate Group

WINNER:

  • Paul Goddard & Jimmy GlindenBrinnington Park Leisure Complex 

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • Carmel O’Mally – St Peter’s Helpers 

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • Richard Hubbard – Cheadle & Gatley Football Club 

WINNER:

  • Sarah Hardy – Offerton Community Kitchen

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • David Parkinson – Woodley & Bredbury Neighbours 

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • Katie Bradburn – Craig Road Residents Association 

SPECIAL RECOGNITION:

  • Anne Holland – Starting Point 

WINNER:

  • Datesand

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • Novanta

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • Nexperia

WINNER:

  • Andrew Roughley – Roughley’s Bike Show 

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • Ben Autumn – NAPAC 

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • Maurice Perkins – Stockport Armed Forces Covenant 

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • Samantha Merrick – Pure Insight & Keira’s Kingdom 

WINNER:

  • Marjorie Bennett – Girlguiding 

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • Eileen Bailey – Stockport Car Scheme 

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • Margaret Thomson – St Ann’s Hospice 

Winner:

  • Elizabeth Nichols – ARC (Arts for Recovery in the Community)

 

Highly Commended:

  • Daniel Reid – Seashell Trust

Highly Commended:

  • Megan Finch – Signpost Stockport for Carers

Highly Commended:

  • Zak Higson-Dibb – Grove Lane Baptist Church

WINNER – Volunteer Team:

  • The Wellspring
  • Dementia Disco (pictured)

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • All for Ukraine

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • Brinnington SEND

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

  • OWLS
Jo and a group of people pose for the camera

“Upon leaving university I got a temporary job for HMRC and they introduced me to their corporate volunteering scheme, which was facilitated by an external charity called Business in the Community. I loved the ethos and values of Business in the Community and it inspired me to want to work in the voluntary sector, when a job came up to work for them, I applied and was successful in securing the job, I do think the fact that I’d already volunteered through one of their programmes gave me greater insight and put me ahead of other candidates. Whilst in employment I’ve always held a volunteer position. I’ve volunteered for my local community association, raising money to invest in our village and put on family friendly events. I’ve also been a volunteer mentor to women who are trying to create their own financial independence and are looking to become self-employed. Volunteering is mutually beneficial, whilst it serves a purpose for the host organisation, it’s also very rewarding and provides a greater insight and understanding of communities in which you live.”

I’ve been actively involved in charity work since my childhood, inspired by personal experiences. My journey began with a fundraiser for a new hospital scanner, a way to give back after receiving incredible care for severe asthma and spending many weeks in hospital. During my university years in Manchester, my involvement in volunteering continued with Marie Curie, moved by stories of families they supported. More recently, I’ve started volunteering with Stockport Talking Newspaper, a service my blind grandma really valued. These experiences aren’t just close to my heart; they’re a testament to the impact these organisations have on individual lives. 

Volunteering is more than just giving; it’s a personal journey and connection. The most fulfilling roles for me have been those with a deep personal resonance, where I can relate to the challenges faced by those we help. Each role has introduced me to diverse individuals, each with their own unique story and background. It’s a continuous learning experience for me, filled with opportunities to meet fascinating people and make a real difference. I believe everyone has something to gain from volunteering, and I encourage others to discover this for themselves.”

I have some great memories from volunteering and have met some amazing people. It was so rewarding when I arranged a trip out for a group of families with terminally ill children to go to watch Sale Sharks Rugby Club and when I represented Rainbow Trust at various fundraising events. But I think my proudest achievement was speaking to hundreds of people at a corporate event and raising £95,000 for Rainbow Trust in one evening! Plus I got to meet John Barnes football legend!

“I started my career off in the world of events sponsorship and marketing. After six years of thriving off the dizzying pace of agency life in London, my mental health started to take a turn for the worse. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled in my work anymore and started to look inwards at my values and beliefs to help guide my next move. I realised I could utilise my skills and experience towards environmental and sustainability causes – something I deeply cared about. But I wasn’t sure how to make this transition and I didn’t have the specific experience employers were looking for. 

Unemployed and feeling stuck I began attending my local Greenpeace group to meet likeminded people and ignite the change I was looking for. I volunteered on campaign days, speaking to local people on market days to raise awareness of and discuss environmental issues. Whilst volunteering with Greenpeace I heard about an environmental charity, Groundwork London who were looking for a Marketing & Comms volunteer. This was the perfect opportunity for me to gain specific experience so that I could then move forwards in my career.

The stars aligned and it just so happened that a full-time Marketing position came up at the charity whilst I was volunteering there. I jumped at the chance and threw myself into the application. With my years long marketing experience under my belt, topped off with direct experience working with Groundwork London as a volunteer, I got the job.

I am so thankful for my volunteering journey that not only enabled me to make a change in my career (and my health), but opened up my world to a vast array of people from all different walks of life – i’ve learnt so much from the people in this sector!”


Laura stands with a colleague at an exhibition stand.
Vicky working with young students in Bulgaria

“When I first started full time work I worked in Management Information Statistics for a large corporate law firm (booooring!). After a while I realised that although I was doing well, it just wasn’t for me. I wanted something that was creative and wanted to work with people.

I quietly started volunteering for a charity supporting young disabled people, as a one-to-one support for a young man called Billy (not actual name). My role was to go along to support him to volunteer. I loved giving up my Saturday mornings to plant trees, attend park runs, distribute leaflets and shake a bucket to raise funds.. anything Billy fancied doing, I went along for the ride and supported him in his striving for more independence.

Fast forward.. I landed my first job in the sector and started work at Stockport’s Volunteer Centre at the old CVS which gave me the opportunity to start people on their own volunteer journey. I continued to volunteer with young people with learning disabilities and autism and picked up a flair for delivering art activities to engage young people in conversations. This led to further career development and a qualification in youth and community studies.

This provided me with the skills, experience and passion to set up my own community interest company with a couple of friends (alongside the day job) to create volunteer opportunities for students in the UK to travel abroad and work in poor rural schools in Bulgaria. This included everything from setting up the placements to influencing change with NGOs and the Bulgarian government. An amazing cause with long standing memories.

Following that I went on to manage a charity supporting the VCFSE (Voluntary, Community, Faith-based & Social Enterprise) sector to deliver quality youth work provision along with providing direct delivery across Stockport.

If it hadn’t have been for the experience I had gained as a volunteer, I would never have had the opportunity to work in a sector I love.”

David sat on a leather sofa looking into the camera.

“On January 19, 2024, I reflect on the pivotal role volunteering has played in propelling my career forward. In 2003, may journey began at the Citizens Advice Bureau as a volunteer, setting the stage for a transformative career trajectory. Building on this experience, I successfully secured a second volunteering position with the national charity, refugee-action, operating in the forced migration sector.

The invaluable experience gained at both the CAB and Refugee Action became the cornerstone of my professional growth, opening doors to a casework role at Refugee Action that spanned over 12 years. Remarkably, I ascended to the position of volunteer coordinator for the UNHCR Gateway Refugee Resettlement Programme in Bolton.

In 2023, I embraced a volunteer role at the Stockport Race Equality Partnership, and within the same year, I cultivated the skills necessary to confidently pursue my current role as the Refugee and Migrant Partner Lead in Stockport.

Reflecting on this journey, I am reminded that giving back to the community is not merely a one-way street—it reciprocates. Invest your time in volunteering and watch as it enriches you with skills that become your greatest assets in shaping a fulfilling career. Volunteering is not just a contribution; it’s a powerful investment in yourself and your professional journey.”

Welcome to your new & improved
Volunteer Hub site!

Welcome to your new and improved Stockport Volunteer Hub website,
we hope you like it!

Voluntary organisations are still in the process of uploading their
Volunteer Roles to the site, so we kindly ask for your patience whilst waiting for the roles to accumulate.

 
Please let us know of any issues you have when using the site.
As it’s fresh there may be some teething problems early on so any feedback you can share is much appreciated.
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