Lancashire County Council employees and volunteers who have been nominated by their colleagues for their outstanding work have been recognised at a special awards ceremony.
Judges sifted through hundreds of entries to decide the winners of the Pride Awards, which showcase some of the outstanding work being carried out across the organisation.
Staff were asked to nominate people who had made a real difference to the lives and communities of the people of Lancashire.
Categories included Volunteer of the Year, Making a Difference to the Community, Team of the Year, Employee of the Year, Manager of the Year and four Unsung Hero awards.
Amongst those who collected awards was Cathy Jenkins, a support worker on the Children Awaiting Adoption Team, who was nominated as an Unsung Hero for Education and Children’s Services.
Described by her colleagues as an ‘all-round lovely person’, her role involves working directly with children to prepare them to move onto their adoptive families.
Cathy, who has worked for the council for more than 20 years, was praised for always looking for new ways to support the children she works with.
The awards ceremony heard that she had recently worked with the Supporting Carers of Children and Young People Team to develop a book for youngsters explaining the next steps for them during the adoption process.
The audience was also told how she goes out of her way to ensure the children feel as reassured as possible prior to their move to their adoptive family.
Team of the Year was Chorley-based Fosterfield Day Centre, which for the past 30 years has been serving older people and those with various needs living in the community.
The awards heard how the team goes above and beyond, not only looking after those who come and spend time at the day centre but also in fundraising for a variety of activities and services.
This year alone they have raised over £2,000 that’s gone towards a potting shed with wheelchair access and funding towards various trips out, including one to Blackpool illuminations.
Laura Orrell, day centre officer at Fosterfield, said: “We’re passionate about building a future for people who use Fosterfield.
“It’s an honour to be in this role and work alongside staff, volunteers and the community, who all make a huge difference to people’s lives.”
Volunteer of the year was presented to Jamie Heaton, who is a community support officer and befriender. He provides vital support to a member of his community, who was referred to the volunteer service because he needed extra help.
His nominator said Jamie had changed the man’s life, adding: “He is truly an inspiration and the perfect role model to the people of Lancashire and shows that with commitment and kindness he can change the world for a person.”
The other winners were: Unsung Heroes – Customer Services Advisor Daniel Murray, who called 999 when a customer started having breathing difficulties, Occupational Therapist Sharon Corkish, who ‘has always gone above and beyond in her role’, and Martin Evans, a cleaning operative at Brierfield Neighbourhood Centre, who is always willing to help at the ‘drop of a hat’; Making a Difference to the Community, St Pauls Primary School teaching assistant Dean Rush, who was described by his nominator as ‘a ray of sunshine’; Manager of the Year, Mark Davies, of Bowerham Road Children’s Home, and Employee of the Year, Thomas Garner, who provides business support for the team who search for fostering and residential placements for Children’s Services.
Geoff Driver CBE, leader of the council, said: “As one of the judges, I know just how tough it was choosing the winners from all our fantastic staff, and they should all be very proud.
“I would like to congratulate them for their hard work and going above and beyond to serve the people of Lancashire.”
Angie Ridgwell, chief executive and director of resources, said: “Every single one of the finalists was well and truly deserving of our praise and recognition.
“All demonstrated the qualities and values expected of the council’s employees, and the Pride Awards is just one of the ways we recognise their contribution to services in the county.”