young volunteer

VODA 2023 VCSE Award Winners

We are delighted to share with you the recipients of the 2023 VODA North Tyneside VCSE awards, which were presented at our AGM on 7 November. Find out more about each of the winners below.

Trustee of the Year – Ben Appleby Dean – Phoenix Detached Youth Project

Trustee of the Year Ben Appleby Dean (collected by Anne Marron)As Treasurer of Phoenix Detached Youth Project for 12 years, Ben has not only ensured that the charity’s funding is used correctly but he has played a key role in governance of the organisation and ensuring that safeguarding is in place. He is committed to supporting not only Phoenix’s staff but also doing whatever he can for the young people of Riverside and Chirton wards.

The Awards panel felt that Ben has demonstrated commitment and going the extra mile for Phoenix Detached Youth Project helping the Board, management and young people.

Ben was unable to attend on the day, so his award was collected by Phoenix Chair Anne Marron (pictured left with Vicky Smith from VODA).

Volunteer of the Year – Becky Porter – Support and Grow North East

Volunteer of the year Becky PorterBecky has had a wonderful journey as a volunteer with Support and Grow North East. When she first started to volunteer, she had little confidence and only felt able to work outside alone sorting clothing donations. But with the support of the Support and Grow, she gradually started volunteering inside the centre, welcoming other visitors, and using her extensive lived experience to support and encourage others.

Becky is now Centre Supervisor and has found her voice, often advocating on behalf of clients and facilitating peer support groups. She is much loved by the community and all the families that Support and Grow work with and is an inspiration to everyone.

The Awards panel felt that Becky has demonstrated great commitment to her volunteering. She now contributes greatly to the organisation and is an asset to Support and Grow.

Picture shows Becky with Ashleigh Jones from Support and Grow and Vicky Smith from VODA.

Young Volunteer of the Year – James McDonald – Justice Prince CIC

Young volunteer of the year James McDonald James has also had a remarkable journey as a volunteer. James suffered for many years with anxiety and was not been able to leave the house as a result. But he was determined to do something for his local community and started volunteering with Justice Prince CIC. He initially helped with the food bank, unpacking and organising donated food items. One day a week volunteering quickly developed into two, then three and James became a regular volunteer.

Since then, James helped to set up the Longbenton Youth Group and spent many days walking around Longbenton chatting to other teenagers to gain a real understanding of the issues they face and how they could be supported. He now offers support to other young vulnerable adults, helps in the Community Garden and food hub and makes a real difference to the lives of the young people he supports.

The Awards panel felt that James has shown true commitment to volunteering and is an invaluable member of the team at Justice Prince. Picture shows James with Vicky Smith from VODA.

Young Volunteer Special Commendations

There were two nominations in the Young Volunteer of the Year category that the Panel felt were worthy of commendation:

  1. Wallsend Jubilee Primary School ECO Club for the work they have done in volunteering to make their school and the local area a more environmentally friendly place to live in.
  2. Ella and Lloyd from LD:North East for using their volunteering to create, produce, and deliver sessions at LD:North East which have put smiles onto faces and entertained many who would have been alone.

VCSE Organisation of the Year – The Bay Foodbank

VCSE organisation of the year The Bay FoodbankThe Bay Foodbank currently supports between 150-200 people per day through a mixture of emergency food parcels, support of school breakfast clubs, food waste reduction program and support of pantries in schools/nurseries.

This year has seen a massive 55% increase in referrals when compared to last year but there has been a reduction of 80-90% in donations of stock. The Bay Foodbank hasn’t let this deter them and a considerable amount of work has gone in to pivot the organisation into purchasing stock. The volunteers, staff and trustees continue to work tirelessly to help those most in need in North Tyneside and beyond.

The Awards panel felt that The Bay Foodbank demonstrated what an integral part of voluntary sector provision in North Tyneside it is, but that it has shown that it has been able to develop its services and is no longer just a foodbank. Picture shows Joe, Jackie and Maggie from the Bay Foodbank.

David Bavaird Award for Community-Minded Businesses

Rothwell Group

Morgan Sindall PLC

This award was given to Morgan Sindall for their sterling work in providing free-of-charge Mental Health First Aid training to support voluntary and community organisations in North Tyneside.

Rothwell Group

The Rothwell Group has gone above and beyond in supporting voluntary and community organisations in North Tyneside with plumbing work that have enabled community growing projects to develop and thrive.




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VODA’s AGM and Awards Presentation 2019

Our Annual General Meeting and awards presentation took place on Wednesday 23 October at the Linskill Centre in North Shields.

As well as a presentation of VODA’s latest annual report and accounts, the event featured keynote speaker Wendy Burke, Director of Public Health at North Tyneside Council, who discussed Population Health in North Tyneside and the role of the voluntary sector.

We also announced the winners of VODA’s North Tyneside VCS awards. Earsdon and Wellfield Community Association was the winner of Organisation of the Year. Volunteer of the Year was Rizwan Ali, from Walking With in North Tyneside, Young Volunteer of the Year went to Bobbi-Lou Taylor from Tyne Met College and the Trustee of the Year was Anna McConville from Pathways 4 All, as well as a special commendations for Young Volunteer Abi Jackson from Creative Minds and to the Tynemouth Scouts. Read more about the award winners here.

In addition, three local businesses –  Carney Consultancy, Bell Group and Accenture – were presented with their Community Friendly Business Awards by Ian Dodds, who coordinates VODA’s Sector Connector project. Read more about the Community Friendly Business Award winners here


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Young Volunteer of the Year: Bobbi-Lou Taylor

Bobbie-Lou Taylor is a bright, bubbly, enthusiastic and polite student at Tyne Metropolitan College, studying Sports Coaching and Fitness. A former student at John Spence, Bobbie Lou has made an enormous contribution to football in college and in her local community in just her first year at TyneMet.

Bobbie began volunteering aged 14 alongside playing for Newcastle United WFC as she wanted to give something back to her old club North Shields Juniors AFC. Through an existing partnership between the college and NSJAFC, Bobbie gained her first football coaching experience within their FA SSE Wildcats Centre, a centre aimed at increasing the opportunities for girls aged 5 to 11 to play recreational, girls only football. Bobbie was absolutely perfect in this role, encouraging the new girls, leading sessions and activities with immense enthusiasm and she now mentors two young coaches from John Spence School as a lead coach of the centre. The girls from John Spence have been inspired and encouraged by Bobbie.

Alongside this, Bobbi has been an ECFA Football Activator and has volunteered hundreds of hours in schools, college and the local community; particularly female only events and projects. Through her coaching role within the FA SSE Wildcats Centre, Bobbie flourished and gained the confidence to begin coaching a team of Under 15 Girls at NSJAFC. The feedback surrounding the impact that Bobbie has had on the girls and the club has been outstanding and the club have funded her Level 1 Football Coaching Badge due to her levels of exceptional commitment.

Bobbie is reliable, keen to learn and throw herself into any opportunity presented to her. Bobbie was nominated through the college’s Leadership Academy and Northumberland FA for the FA National Leadership Academy for 2019/20. Only 60 young people from County FA’s around the country were selected for this prestigious opportunity; which kicked off with a four day training event at St. George’s Park, designed to inspire and improve their leadership skills so that they can continue to make a positive difference on football in their local communities. The week had an international focus as young leaders were also invited from UEFA Nations, looking ahead to UEFA Euro 2020 and emphasising on a global scale the importance of involving young people in the governance, organisation and development of football.

This is the start of a really exciting future in football for Bobbie and is very much deserved. Bobbie had never really travelled outside of or met anyone outside of the North East before and it was an incredible, eye opening experience for her. Since her return from this week with the FA, she has been even more motivated to volunteer. During a recent match for her new football club Chester Le Street in the FANWL, Bobbie tore her ACL. She has responded in such an inspiring and positive way and hasn’t let it dampen her enthusiastic and every joyous spirit. She has remained focused and despite her injury affecting her mobility, she has been present at every NSJAFC training session and FA SSE Wildcats session.

Furthermore, in her first year as a TyneMet student, Bobbie has been an integral leader within the College’s Sport Leadership Academy and has always been the first to volunteer for any event that we are delivering or supporting in local schools and the community. Her attitude and outlook to getting involved is fantastic and she is an inspiration and positive influence on all of her peers at the college. She has committed hundreds of hours in just one year and we have seen her confidence, wellbeing and skills as a coach improve immensely. Bobbie’s outlook to life and her warm, enthusiastic nature is a breath of fresh air at college, within NSJAFC and with whoever she meets. Bobbi has been integral in the increase in numbers of young girls playing football in Tyne Met and in North Tyneside.

Hannah Marshall from Tyne Met College commented: “Bobbi is a role model to her peers and many have followed in her footsteps and began volunteering at events and football festivals..For someone so young, Bobbie carries so much grace and maturity and is an absolute dream to work with and be around.”.

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VODA Award Winners 2018!

We are delighted to share the stories of our award winners for 2018, who were presented with their prizes at our recent AGM by Chairman of North Tyneside, Cllr Tommy Mulvenna.

Organisation of the Year


Pathways4All is a parent-led charity providing a range of activities and events specifically tailored for children with disabilities and additional needs and their families.

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Volunteer of the Year

Ryan Wright

Nominated for his voluntary work with Phoenix Detached Youth Project, Ryan has been instrumental in inspiring other young people and groups to get involved in the local community and in the planning, fundraising and launch of The Phoenix Bowl skate park, which opened earlier this year. Read more…

Young Volunteer of the Year

Dylan Weatheritt

Fourteen-year-old Dylan was nominated for his commitment and dedication to fundraising and volunteering with Out of Sight, a charity which provides free outings, events and respite holidays for children with visual impairments and complex disabilities, and their families. Read more…

Community Friendly Business Award 

Technology Services Group (TSG)

TSG were recognised for their involvement in VODA’s Sector Connector project, in particular their donation of laptops which has helped people and volunteers in the community to carry out short-term social action projects around youth employability, Universal Credit applications and awareness raising campaigns.


Community Friendly Business Award


Ali Donkin of Turncoach was presented the Community Friendly Business Award for delivering several free workshops on team building and personal development for the benefit of voluntary and community groups and young volunteers in North Tyneside.

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