At our Celebration Lunch on 7 June, we were delighted to present this year’s award to Thornbury Litterbusters for their outstanding efforts over decades to keep Thornbury clean.
Thornbury Litterbusters started at least 20 years ago and currently has about 30 members who meet on the first Saturday of the month to ‘blitz’ the streets of Thornbury, with special focus on certain areas known to be especially problematic.
The group also helps clean up after many special events in the town and most members do a regular circuit of streets near where they live to make sure they are litter-free.
They engage fully with the local community, conduct regular litter-picks with pupils and teachers of New Sibland School and respond to members of the public when they point out areas which may be particularly bad.
After a break of three years due to the Covid 19 pandemic, at our summer celebration party in June 2022 we were once again able to make an award for volunteering achievement. Appropriately, the 2022 recipient of the Alan Hudson award, Ruth Williams, is recognised through her valuable help to local people affected by the outbreak.
The Facebook group I Can Offer (Covid 19 Thornbury support) was launched by two Thornbury residents in late March 2020, just before lockdown. The group immediately attracted around 500 members and at its peak had a membership of around 750. The two founding admins, Sarah and Kate, were not able to continue to manage the group — one had to isolate and the other is a full time nurse — so Ruth Williams offered to help as she had time on her hands and was already an admin for a large autism Facebook support group. Ruth took on the general running of the group with Sarah’s background support.
During the strict lockdown period the group members supported local Thornbury residents, and those in surrounding villages, with shopping, collecting prescriptions and dog walking, and the occasional phone chat for those struggling with being cut off from the community for so long. Group members were requested and reminded to check on neighbours. Most of the requests for support came via the group’s email and phone number on the South Gloucestershire Council website, and the rest were referrals from local charities, community organisations and through links with the Covid19 Mutual Aid network.
Concerns around safeguarding meant that initially Ruth responded to many of the requests for help, with the help of her son. However, one of the advantages of living in a small town is that many of the group members were known, or were ‘friends of friends’, which acted as a safety net. They also had a list of members with DBS checks, so tended to ask members they knew, or those with DBS checks, to carry out tasks.
Once lockdown eased requests for help reduced though the group remained active throughout further lockdowns before finally closing in June 2021.
The 2019 award was made as usual at our annual volunteer Christmas lunch. This year’s winner was Krunch South West.
Krunch SW began in Thornbury in June 2013. It values positive well-being within young people, and is committed to ‘helping young people discover who they are, what they want to be and how to get there’. Krunch provides a place for young people to socialise, access opportunities and find support in a safe and non-threatening environment.
Krunch has an established and experienced team of mentors, youth workers, volunteers, dancers and musicians. Among much else it provides one to one mentoring, themed group workshops, motivational support for KS3 & KS4 pupils, life-skills workshops, a personal development programme in catering, arts or sports, babysitting training, volunteering opportunities, youth clubs and drop ins, dance, art, lyric writing and music production workshops and ‘jam’ sessions.
It’s led by the brilliant Project Manager Penny Baker, who has more than 25 years of youth work experience, including youth clubs, informal education, mentoring and work with disaffected young people in prison.
This year has been particularly busy; Krunch has created a new youth hub beside Thornbury Skate Park made of two old shipping containers, it has organised the hugely popular annual Youth Fest celebration and in February one of its young people, Dannie, won a national Lions Young Ambassador award for her services to the community. Dannie has since been employed at Krunch.
We celebrated this year the amazing contribution given by Sandi Shallcross at the Thornbury and District Museum, Sandi is at the heart of Museum activities — which has no professional staff and is run entirely by volunteers. She is a past chair of trustees, a member of the management committee, treasurer of the museum friends and runs the museum’s monthly geology group.
Sandi has led the museum through three successful rounds of accreditation, which confirm that it operates to nationally-agreed standards. These accolades are not commonly achieved by small town museums and have undoubtedly enhanced Thornbury’s credibility and reputation.
Sandi gives practical and moral support to other museums and is always willing to discuss and investigate enquiries from anyone who contacts the museum with an interesting object or local query. She has fostered the museum’s friendly, professional approach, which so encourages community involvement. Thornbury is lucky to have such expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm in its midst.
This year we are proud to present the Alan Hudson Award for Volunteering Achievement to Thornbury Foodbank, part of The Trussell Trust’s UK wide foodbank network.
The Thornbury branch of Yate and Chipping Sodbury Foodbank was set up four years ago as a Thornbury Churches Together initiative, with volunteers running it and donating food. Food is collected by churches, businesses, schools and other groups and from the public by collecting outside supermarkets.
The foodbank provides emergency meals for three days to people in short term crisis. The crisis can be the result of problems such as benefit delay or withdrawal, separation, unexpected bills, debt, bereavement or redundancy. It’s a service for local people in short term difficulties, to remove the worry of feeding their families while problems are sorted out.
On receiving the award, Thornbury organisers Mair Vaughan and Chris Verey thanked Thornbury Volunteer Centre for their recognition of the valuable contribution the Foodbank makes to the Thornbury and district community and how it is a sad reflection of modern life that Foodbanks are needed to help and support those less fortunate.
The Foodbank is based at the Thornbury Baptist Church, Gillingstool, Thornbury, BS35 2EG, and is open every Friday afternoon between 2pm and 4pm.
This year we are proud to present the Award to a relatively new Thornbury organisation, JIGSAW.
JIGSAW was set up three years ago by parents to provide support and understanding and practical help for local families who face the challenges of having a child with additional needs. Tor Goodman, founder and director, is a paediatric nurse who has developed JIGSAW and is always looking to improve and expand what the organisation does and the numbers of individuals and families they can assist.
JIGSAW has grown steadily and now includes a special educational needs and sensory lending library, social and special needs events, weekly support group and holiday activities.
On receiving the award Tor expressed her thanks and gratitude for the recognition of their achievements and how they were now looking to the future and hoping to expand and become even more successful.
We are delighted to award the 2015 Alan Hudson award to local volunteer Pam Forrest.
Pam has supported cancer research locally for nearly 30 years, initially by holding fundraising coffee mornings, which not only continue but have had to move from her house into a bigger venue. She also runs an annual event in Alveston, Elberton, Tytherington and Old Down in which local people open their gardens in support of cancer research. Since 1997 she has been a committee member of the Thornbury branch of Cancer Research UK, variously as chairman and treasurer. Her efforts have helped to raise more than £500,000 for the charity in the past 20 years. She has also been the local fund-raiser for the Red Cross for the past 40 years.
This year’s winner of the Alan Hudson Award is the Lions Club of Thornbury.
Volunteers and staff of the Thornbury Volunteer Centre voted unanimously for the Lions Club in order to recognise their outstanding support of local charitable, voluntary and community organisations in Thornbury and district. By raising funds through their second-hand book shop in the St Mary Centre they help numerous good causes and are an asset to the town.
Mayor Guy Rawlinson presented Colin Evans of the Lions Club with the Award at the Volunteer Christmas Lunch in the Town Hall in December.
The winner of the Alan Hudson Award for 2013 was the Thornbury Memory Café. On behalf of the Café, Audrey Green was presented with the award at our Jubilee Volunteer Awards ceremony at the Thornbury Castle Hotel on 2 December by Dame Janet Trotter, Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire.
The Memory Café was formed in 2012 for anybody with memory problems and any form of dementia, together with their carers, families and friends. It’s not a clinic but a welcoming café where people can relax, enjoy being together and meet others. Meetings are held twice a month in the Methodist Church Hall.
Since starting it has gone from strength to strength and we think that it fits the ethos of the Alan Hudson award perfectly.
The winner of the award for 2012 was local volunteer Dot Curtis.
Dot Curtis is well known in Thornbury for her tireless volunteer work with the elderly, running two luncheon clubs and until July 2011 the Bathings Day Centre. With help from a team of volunteers Dot has cooked and served thousands of meals over the years, organised many outings and arranged transport for numerous customers.
As Dot explains “I get a lot of joy from volunteering. I get far more out of it than I give and I really can’t imagine not doing it.” Last summer, however, ill health forced her to retire from running the Day Centre. It was taken over by Penny Baker, owner of Blend and Origin Cafés in Thornbury. Dot still runs the Luncheon Club at St Mary Church Hall on Wednesdays.
We felt Dot was a very worthy winner of this award as she shares the same values as Alan and has helped her local community enormously.
The first winners of the Alan Hudson award were the staff and volunteers of the shop in the St Mary’s Centre run by Multiple Sclerosis People’s Help (MSPH).
The charity was founded in 2001 by Roger Wall and Shaun McCarthy, who themselves have multiple sclerosis, with initial funding from the MS Society’s Millennium Award Scheme.
MSPH helps people who suffer from MS to live independent lives. The charity arranges for jobs to be carried out in the home and garden free of charge, such as installing ramps and grab rails, lowering shelves and cutting hedges. The service is available to people with MS across South Gloucestershire, Bristol and North Somerset.
We suffered a great loss in January 2011 when our chairman, Alan Hudson, died suddenly.
Alan joined the management committee of the Thornbury Volunteer Centre, formerly the Thornbury & District Volunteer Link when it was created in 1988, and remained chairman for more than sixteen years.
In memory of him, we decided to create The Alan Hudson Award for Volunteering Achievement.
It is awarded annually and celebrates the work of an individual or group who in the opinion of the Thornbury Volunteer Centre has made a valuable contribution to the local community.
We are to be charity of the month during May at the Swan Inn. Many events are planned — details to follow.
Join us at our Spring Sale on Saturday 27 April at the Thornbury Methodist Church Hall.
Christmas tabletop sale
Our sale on 11 November was hugely enjoyable and financially successful.
Sources of Help booklet
Our invaluable guide to organisations that can help you in need is available online.
Discover your perfect volunteering opportunity
Contribute your time and skills to the local community.
We post details of new volunteering opportunities on and local groups.