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Southwark honours its shining volunteer stars at ceremony

The borough’s most active volunteers and most inspirational organisations were honoured last week at the annual Southwark Stars awards night.

The event, held at the Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, took place on March 17 and recognised people in seven different categories.

The big prize on the night was the Volunteer of the Year, which was given to Joe Dobson, who also won the Keib Thomas Active Citizen of the Year award.

Joe founded a community football team in 2002 when a handful of kids in a Peckham park told him they had no team to play for. Over a decade later, the team is now a charity called United Allstars that supports 300 young footballers a week.

He said: “It was a surprise and a privilege to receive the two awards. All I’ve done really is get other local people involved back in 2002 and then it’s snowballed from there.

“These awards are recognising the work of the dozens of volunteers we have that give hundreds of children the opportunity to do something positive every week.”

The Community Group of the Year award was handed to Big Local South Bermondsey, a group that helps get older people back into the community.

Councillor Michael Situ, who was on hand to announce the winner, said: “In my work as a councillor I am privileged to work with many community based groups. Big Local South Bermondsey is a project that supports a number of volunteer run community groups in the borough.”

The Southwark Council cabinet member for communities and safety added: “Their nomination highlighted the work that these volunteers have done to change their area for the better.”

The other winners on the night were CareTrade (which won Charity of the Year), Blackfriars Settlement and VTB Bank (Best Corporate Partnership), Link Age Southwark (Best Impact Measurement), Pippa South of Home Start Southwark (Trustee of the Year), Rilwan Aminu (Young Volunteer), Charles Browne of Blackfriars Settlement (Best Volunteer Contribution to the Health and Social Care Sector) and Maria Marin of the Latin American Disabled Peoples Association (Disabled People’s Champion).

Special commendations were also given to William Cole of Siblings Together and Rayhan Ahmed of Southwark Mediation Centre (Young Volunteer of the Year category) and Linda Burgess of Alvey TRA (Keib Thomas Active Citizen of the Year).

Joe Dobson winning Volunteer of the Year
Joe Dobson winning Volunteer of the Year

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