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On Friday 1st October 2021, Housing Support Officer Dawn Hancock won our ‘Volunteer of the Year’ 2021 award for her outstanding effort in times of Covid. During the ceremony held via Microsoft Teams, Together Housing Chief Executive, Steve Close announced Dawn as the winner and awarded her a certificate and a donation of £1000. The money will be donated to the Noah’s Ark Centre, the charity she volunteers at, to help support their food related programme.

A committed volunteer she has spent over 16 months supporting people’s mental and emotional wellbeing and co-ordinating the food support service established in March 2020. At the peak of covid she was volunteering for 20 hours a week whilst continuing to work at Together Housing and keeping up with her other commitments.

Winner of the award, Dawn Hancock said: “Since March 2020 we have made and distributed over 15,000 frozen ready meals. The food support is an integral part of our service delivery. It has enabled us to open doors to new clients and we’ve helped countless to become debt free, taught them how to manage their money and tenancies as well as support them with employment.”

The ‘Volunteer of the Year’ awards are open to all Together Housing Group staff and celebrate the great social value work staff are contributing to and leading in, within the communities they live in. Organised by Newground Together, part of Together Housing Group, these awards are part of Together Housing’s Social Value Strategy which recognise the fantastic contribution made by employees to improve the quality of life in the communities in which they live and work.

Mick Smith Managing Director of Newground Together said, “Together Housing Group wanted to recognise the great voluntary work many of our staff do outside the workplace in support of a wide range of good causes. In many cases this work has become more important during the covid pandemic. The support that Dawn and the Noah’s Ark Centre have provided has been amazing and we hope the award will support the organisation to continue its activities.”

Andrew Sykes the Money Advice Service Manager at Noah’s Ark said, “It is not an over exaggeration to state that Dawn Hancock has been nothing other than inspirational in the last sixteen months. Her commitment, flexible and truly adaptable attitude has meant that countless families and individuals were helped. Dawn helped us, in the immediate time of crisis, to create a food hub and working alongside other Halifax charities in a truly collaborative way bridged an essential need to provide food and other basic items to vulnerable people.” He further added, “With Dawn’s can DO attitude; this activity saw us establish new relationships with other charity organisations and local businesses. The hard work of doing all this should not be underestimated, both physically and emotionally at a time of stress and uncertainty in terms of the transmission of the COVID 19 virus, with Dawn’s unwavering help we have therefore provided an amazing service to our community.”

Two runners-up, Gail Smalley from Lancashire and Kirstie Smith from Yorkshire, won a certificate and £500 each for the charity they volunteer at for their commendable efforts.

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