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Volunteering heroes celebrated at Good for Me Good for FE Awards

31 Oct 2023

Twenty outstanding individuals from colleges across the country have been recognised for their commitment and dedication to supporting others

The inaugural Good for Me Good for FE Awards were launched to celebrate the fantastic fundraising and volunteering activity that is being carried out by staff and students in the FE sector.

An online ceremony - attended by nearly 200 people - took place to announce both highly commended nominees and the winners across nine categories* – including student/staff volunteer of the year, charity partner of the year and outstanding contribution.

Winners had been chosen by a panel of expert judges including: FE Commissioner Shelagh Legrave CBE DL, Dame Sally Dicketts, David Hughes CBE (AoC), David Gallagher (NCFE), Lesley Davies CBE (CIFE), Phil Packer MBE, Shakira Martin, Dr Katerina Kolyva and Dannii Donovan.

Each of the judges read out their chosen winners’ citations during the online event, which highlighted their extraordinary achievements and commitment to helping others.

All the winners have been invited to a special in-person event at the House of Lords in December, which will be hosted by the Rt Hon Baroness Nicky Morgan. Here they will receive certificates, prizes and have their achievements further celebrated.

Introducing the online awards, Dr Sam Parrett CBE, Group Principal and CEO of London South East Colleges said: “Today’s award winners make such a positive difference to their colleges and their communities. The stories we have heard today are truly inspiring and we are absolutely delighted to be celebrating such wonderful achievements from all corners of the UK.

“Good for Me Good for FE has been hugely successful, thanks to the hard work of so many people. It has demonstrated how colleges truly are anchor institutions and the immense value they add to their communities beyond simply delivering qualifications.

“Volunteering is so valuable. As well as helping people in need, it supports young people to develop crucial life and employment skills, such as communication and teamwork, which are vital for successful progression and job outcomes.

“Colleges truly are the nuclei of their communities, with social action embedded right through them. I am so proud to be part of such a wonderful sector; it’s important to recognise this and celebrate together in this way. Many congratulations to all our winners and a huge thank you to all our judges.”

Some of the amazing winners, colleges and judges spoke or commented live during the event:

Penny Taylor from Lincoln College was announced as Staff Volunteer of the Year. She was chosen for her incredible work in setting up a foodbank at all her college's campuses and leading on a wide range of social action activities. She said: "Like all of us working in FE, I am motivated by the students and the care we have for them all. We work closely as a team at Lincoln and really see the benefits of this in terms of what we can achieve - not just through delivering food but through the social aspect too.

Karen Oliver, from London South East Colleges, is a finalist in the Special Recognition category. She was celebrated for her commitment to fundraising – and for spearheading her college’s Christmas hamper food bank drive. She said: “Hearing all these stories today is so moving. There are so many people doing so much good work and often we don’t even know about it. It’s very special to see people getting celebrated and recognised today – I’m genuinely gobsmacked to be one of them.”

Ozmah Khan, from The Sheffield College was awarded a highly commended prize for outstanding service. She has clocked up over 6000 volunteering hours and helped raise thousands of pounds. She said: “Thank you so much to everyone. This gives me more motivation to keep going and help make a difference in the world.”

Sharon Rivers from Belfast Metropolitan College said: “These inspiring stories are testament to the power of FE to change lives for the better”

Dr Katerina Kolyva judged the Charity Partner of the Year category. She said: “Great initiatives have been shared this afternoon, well done to everyone.”


Award: Student volunteer of the Year
Judge: Dame Sally Dicketts
Winner: Harry Disney - Loughborough College
Highly Commended: Mariia Yakymenko - Abbeygate Sixth Form College

Award: Staff volunteer of the Year
Judge: David Hughes CBE
Winner: Penny Taylor - Lincoln College Group
Highly Commended: Natalie Thompson - Belfast Metropolitan College

Award: Fundraiser of the Year
Judge: Phil Packer MBE
Winner: Zainab Rashid - Luminate Education Group
Highly Commended: Jesse Jackson - Loughborough College

Award: Social Impact Award
Judge: Lesley Davies
Winner: Deborah Ball and the hair and beauty student cohort - Nottingham College
Highly Commended: Nicky Ellis - Buckinghamshire College Group

Award: Charity Partner of the Year
Judge: Dr Katerina Kolyva
Winner: North West Migrant Forum nominated by North West Regional College
Highly Commended: PACE nominated by Loughborough College

Award: Volunteering Team of the Year
Judge: Dannii Donovan
Winner: Student support services - Northern Regional College
Highly Commended: ESOL team - Coventry College

Award: Volunteering College of the Year
Judge: Shakira Martin
Winner: Nottingham College
Highly Commended: Keighley College (Luminate Education Group)

Outstanding Service
Judge: David Gallagher
Winner: Nicci Golland - West London College
Highly Commended: Rachel Bunn - East Coast College and Ozmah Khan - The Sheffield College

Special Recognition
Judge: Shelagh Legrave CBE DL
THREE FINALISTS: Lynn Pritchatt - Walsall College, Karen Oliver London South East Colleges, Darren Creed - Loughborough College

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