Harrogate Easier Living Project (HELP) volunteer, Jane Lishman, has been named  ‘Volunteer of the Year’ at the North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) Community Awards held at the Yorkshire Pavilions on 21st October.

Jane was one of three shortlisted volunteers from across North Yorkshire who had been nominated for the title due to their outstanding commitment to volunteering. In a ceremony hosted by Stray FM’s Patrick Dunlop, Jane was presented her award by Chair of North Yorkshire County Council, Councillor Val Arnold. Jane also received £1,000 for HELP, which will be used to support the charity’s work assisting local older and vulnerable people to remain living independently.

Councillor Arnold commented on the valuable role volunteers play in helping to make local neighbourhoods across North Yorkshire a better place in which to live. She said: “Without the tens of thousands of hours the volunteers give, life for so many people would be much poorer.”

Jane was nominated by local charity, HELP, for her dedication to supporting older and vulnerable people to get out and about in the community. Jane offers many hours every week as a befriender for HELP’s Opening Doors service where she accompanies clients to get where they need and wish to get to. Her familiar, friendly face offers much-needed social contact for clients, many of whom rarely leave the home and has a positive effect on their well-being.

Jane is also a voluntary driver for HELP’s voluntary car driving service ‘Driving Force’ and offers vital transport to enable local people to get to appointments and to make essential trips.

In addition to her voluntary work with HELP, Jane also offers her time to several other local voluntary local organisations where she replicates this level of commitment.

Judges and audience were able to witness Jane’s caring and empathetic manner in a short film taken of Jane supporting one of HELP’s elderly clients, Florence.  With Jane’s support, Florence has been encouraged to visit the theatre, local garden centres and other places of interest, whilst enjoying Jane’s company.

Anna Woollven, Project Development Worker at HELP, who nominated Jane said: “We cannot think of anyone more deserving of this title than Jane. Jane’s can-do attitude embodies all that volunteering can achieve: bringing about positive change through dedication, empathy and, above all, care.”

A full list of North Yorkshire Community Award winners can be found at  http://www.northyorks.gov.uk/article/33166/Community-awards-winners-announced?