Marsh Award for Children’s Services Volunteer of the Year

This Award is run in partnership with Barnardo’s and recognises volunteers who are dedicated to helping children, young people and families across the UK, who demonstrate an exceptional level of support and commitment to their role and the clients they support.

Nominations are made via Barnardo’s and judged by a panel consisting of Barnardo’s and MCT representatives.

The Award recognises volunteers across all departments of Barnardo’s in 8 regions across the UK.

Pictured above: 2010 Award winner, David Backhouse

Beatriz Salguero-Hernandez 2022

Beatriz was matched with her young person at the start of her care journey and the two have built a dependable relationship. Four years on, this has changed into genuine friendship and the young person feels safe with Beatriz as she provides the security and stability that the young person needs. Beatriz has shown resilience, sensitivity and no judgement to her young person. Her creativity has helped her young person rediscover her childhood, making new positive memories for missed experiences and allowing her to escape in simple childhood pleasures. During the pandemic, Beatriz quickly introduced video calls with her young person and ensured that their sessions remained meaningful while they were not able to meet in person. In four years, Beatriz has never missed a session and takes every opportunity to show her young person how much she means to her. Her dedication and reliability are without words and she is an excellent communicator.

Previous Winners

Kate Nash

Kate has been a Nightstop host for 3 years and during that time has supported many homeless young people, offering them a safe bed for the night and the chance to seek additional support. She has shown tremendous dedication and commitment to her role and welcomes the young people to her home, where they soon feel comfortable. During the pandemic, out of 7 Nightstop hosts in her area, Kate was the only one who felt able to continue her role and so without her, the service would not have been able to continue. Throughout the lockdowns and restrictions, Kate supported over 20 young people who would otherwise have found themselves sleeping on the streets. She is available whenever she is called upon, even at short notice, and put her own health concerns regarding coronavirus aside so that she could help these young people. Kate adapts to each young person’s needs who comes to her and is a true asset to the service


Regional Winners:

  • Central England – Marian Cowdray
  • Cymru and South West –Diane Davis
  • London – Hala Osman
  • Northern Ireland & Scotland – Katrina March
  • South East – Lara Kondratiev

Sarah Chapman

Sarah Chapman, Coventry & Warwickshire Children’s Rights Service

Sarah became an Independent Visitor in 2017 and have been matched to S, who has a range of challenges including learning, social and emotional difficulties, for just over 3 years. S’s foster mother says that “Sarah is always there for S, winning over her trust and giving her the stability she needs”. Sarah has encouraged S to get involved with Girl Guiding, an activity that her foster mother thought S would not be able to engage with due to her difficulties.

While applying to be an IV, Sarah volunteered to become a Barnardo’s Supported Lodgings Host, caring for and accommodating Chloe, a 17-year-old care leaver. Chloe said that Sarah went out of her way to make her feel at home, which was different to what she had experienced before. Sarah has also taken the time to give support and advice to others who have been approved as Hosts for the service. Sarah and Chloe shared their experiences on BBC Breakfast, raising awareness about the scheme and encouraging others to volunteer to become hosts. Sarah has also appeared on national radio, television and newspapers, advocating the scheme as an option for young people on their journey to live independently.

This year’s Regional Winners are:

• Northern England – Frankie Wood
• Wales – Tanya Chowdhury
• Northern Ireland – Rasa Dimparte
• South East – Genevive Pentlow

Kiranjit Dhillon

Kiranjit (Kiran) got involved with Barnardo’s by chance and since then has displayed a genuine passion for voicing the concerns of young people. She is an enthusiastic promoter of Barnardo’s services to other organisations and even MPs and clearly communicates the needs of young people within the Leaving Care Team to policymakers. She took an active role in presentations at the Barnardo’s Believe in Me conference and co-delivered the launch of the service’s London Voice and Influence Strategy where she spoke confidently about the importance of having a voice and of being listened to. Kiran makes presenting ideas and promoting Barnardo’s services look effortless and is a great role model for other people in the service.

This year’s Regional Winners are:

• Wales – Snack Bar
• South West and Midlands – Sheila McGrath
• North East – Debra Ward
• Northern Ireland – Maria Asfalidou
• South East – Dana Zuhair
• North West – Rebecca Crawford

Neill Graham and Ailsa Watters

Neill Graham
Neill has been a volunteer for over 10 years, both in the UK and abroad. In Morocco and Iraq he coached football for street children and orphans at community centres. He has been a volunteer with the Barnardo’s Nurture Service in Scotland since 2015 where he supports four boys on a one-to-one basis, all of whom have experience of domestic violence, neglect and antisocial behaviour. Neill has managed to build relationships with the boys and helped them socialise with other children, go to youth clubs and activity centres and engage more with their families.

Ailsa Watters
Ailsa first became involved with the Community Family Hub East Team in Newcastle as a service user, following a ten year drug dependency. In the past few years, she has changed her life around to become a Family Support Volunteer with the service, going through the necessary training and gaining a qualification in the field. Ailsa has supported two families with complex needs and helped them to re-engage with their community and build strong relationships so that they avoid isolation. She represents the service at national Barnardo’s events, has helped raise awareness of Barnardo’s stores and fundraised for the organisation. Ailsa is a great ambassador for Barnardo’s and an inspiration to other volunteers.

This year’s Regional Winners are:
Northern Ireland: Christiana Young, Pharos
London: The BEES Service
South East & Anglia: Tracey Shearer, Sydney House Family Hub
Wales: Imogen Garbett, Barnardo’s Compass Partnership
Midlands & South West: Sarah Hudson, Barnardo’s Independent Visitors Scheme
North West: Geri Brown, Wirral WAIV Service

Hadeel Lufti

Hadeel has been a volunteer with the Beehive Children’s Centre for eighteen months, having previously been a service user there and wanting the opportunity to give something back to the service. After attending the annual Barnardo’s safeguarding event in 2016, Hadeel was inspired by a talk from the FGM team and began working to raise awareness about the subject. She worked closely with the FGM team to build relationships with hard to reach communities, facilitating events and discussion groups to ensure that they had the support they needed.

Hadeel has continued to be a dedicated volunteer with Barnardo’s, while at the same time completing the first year of a Health and Social Care course, her additional job as a carer and her role as FGM Champion. She uses her translation skills to ensure that materials are available for service users who have English as an additional language and continually promotes the work of Barnardo’s and the services they offer to a diverse range of people. She shows incredible passion and dedication to her role and is greatly appreciated and admired by staff and service users alike.

Leanne Westhead

Leanne volunteers with Barnardo’s Compass Partnership in Wrexham, having previously been a service user there. She has developed the ‘Baby Crash Course’, which helps young people to prepare for parenthood through practical activities and advice. Her own experiences as a young parent have provided her with an insight which other staff do not have and help her develop relationships with the young service users.

In her role as a volunteer mentor, she has helped a number of young service users and developed a comprehensive resource pack to enable young parents to carry out affordable educational activities with their children. She is a dedicated volunteer, providing the service with a number of innovative ideas which would not have come into fruition without her input and determination.

Kathryn Clark

Kathryn volunteers with Willow Young Carers in Leeds where she provides one-to-one befriending services to young carers. She is an invaluable member of the team, dedicating up to 20 hours of her time each week to befriending 3 different young people and assisting with group activities.

Kathryn goes above and beyond what is expected in her role and is extremely committed, kind and caring in her work. Throughout her time as a volunteer, she has made a huge impact to how the service is run and has gone from strength to strength in her role, and on a more personal level in her confidence.

Heidi Cannings

Heidi volunteers with Barnardo’s as a Supported Lodgings Provider, opening her doors to young people aged 16-25, offering them a secure and safe place to live for anywhere between 3 months and 2 years, for over 5 years.

Heidi is a kind and committed volunteer who goes the extra mile, also offering young people emergency overnight accommodation in her spare bedroom and volunteering once a week at a soup kitchen, all while working full time. She tailors her support to each young person she houses and is always happy to help, even if she is needed at short notice or in the event of an emergency.

Peter and Meryl Ashford

Peter and Meryl have volunteered with the Barnardo’s Outreach Scheme for Unaccompanied Children for a number of years, after having lived in Afghanistan for over 7 years. The scheme supports young people who have come to the UK from war-torn countries seeking protection and asylum.

Peter and Meryl are extremely dedicated volunteers and have worked with young people from numerous countries, giving over 300 sessions of support. They help the young people with their English, help them build budgeting and practical skills and give them support and friendship.

Sarah Butters

Sarah volunteers with the Newport Young Families Group, having previously been a service-user of Barnardo’s as a young mum with two children. As a member of the group, she used to stay behind to speak to staff about her future goals and education options and it is through these discussions that she became a volunteer.

Sarah makes an outstanding contribution as a volunteer. She co-facilitates two groups offering activities to meet the needs of young families and gets involved in planning and training, showing consistence and enthusiasm in her commitment to Barnardo’s. Sarah also helps to run events and has represented Barnardo’s at national conferences, speaking about her experiences and sharing her story to demonstrate the opportunities that Barnardo’s helps young parents achieve.

Sophie Stanley

Sophie volunteers in the Family Visitor Centre at HMP Erlestoke, offering support to children visiting their fathers in prison. The Centre offers a friendlier and more approachable entrance to the prison and Sophie is on the front line of this, welcoming families with warmth and putting them at ease in what seems to many a hostile environment.

Sophie also works one to one with the prisoners, mentoring them during their time in prison and preparing them for their release. She encourages them to put the things they need in place to continue a positive relationship with their children when they are released. The support that Sophie provides to the prisoners and their families is invaluable and goes above and beyond the expectations of her role.

David Backhouse

David volunteers for Barnardo’s in a number of roles, as a driver, a sessional worker, mentor and IT ‘whizz’ for 10 hours a week. At a recent anniversary event, he took sole responsibility for the audio-visual equipment, organised a professional presentation, drove young people to and from the event and created a calm and positive atmosphere.

David is an important role model for the over 25 young carers who attend local after school clubs and is the Chair of Governors of a local school which has a strong reputation for community participation and social inclusion.

David has consistently refused invitations to apply for vacancies at Barnardo’s, preferring to give his time, skills, experience and perspective on a voluntary basis, simply in exchange for making a difference to the lives of young carers and helping to improve the services that Barnardo’s are able to provide.

Sue Legate

Sue volunteers for Barnardo’s as an Independent Visitor and has been matched with her partner Daniel for over 5 years. In that time, she has shown complete commitment to the partnership, helping Daniel through many difficult times in his life and continuing to be there for him as he prepares to start college.

Sue’s warmth, unconditional support and devotion, paired with her honesty, firm boundaries and rapport has helped her relationship with Daniel grow from a partnership into a strong friendship, and has helped Daniel to open up to people.

Doug Easterbrook

Doug has volunteered as a mentor with Barnardo’s services in Caerphilly since August 2003, supporting a number of men during this time. The young men he has worked with deal with a wide range of problems, from learning disabilities to relationship issues.

Doug has proven himself to be reliable and dedicated in all aspects of his work, making every effort to attend as many training sessions, meeting and supervision sessions as he can.

Angela Bluck

Angela is a volunteer at the Barnardo’s project, Parenting Matters, and has been in her role for two years. The Parenting Matters Project works in prisons to help inmates rebuild their relationships with family members, either during their time in prison or in preparation for their release.

Angela consistently displays outstanding commitment to her role and the people she works with, which has won her great admiration and trust among prisoners.

Trusha Kothari

Whilst still at school, Trusha spent two years as a regular volunteer at the Barnardo’s Chance to Play project in Liverpool. The project encouraged and supported disabled children and young people to get involved with local leisure activities which they may have felt previously unable to do.

During her time at the project, Trusha volunteered with a number of groups, building strong relationships with staff, volunteers and the service users that she worked with. She is a reliable, enthusiastic and committed volunteer who made a real effort to understand the individual needs of the people the service supports.

Caroline Earl

Caroline provides supported lodging placements to young people aged 16-21 who are in need of care. During each placement, which could last up to two years, she encouraged the individuals to develop independent living skills so that they could be prepared for living on their own. Since she began volunteering, Caroline and her two sons have shared their home with over 10 young people.

Caroline is the longest serving volunteer with the Futures service. She hopes to share her experiences of providing supported lodging placements through training volunteers who have been newly recruited, so that the best service can be provided.

Trevor Yeo and Karen Wills

Trevor Yeo

Trevor volunteers at the Barnardo’s store in Cosham, undertaking a number of activities to help with the running of the shop. he provides a full day of cover for the shop 3-4 days a week, manage new goods that come into the store, completes stock-takes and works on the till. Over the four years that he has been a volunteer, his confidence has grown and other stores in Hampshire ask to borrow him.

Karen Wills

Karen has made an outstanding contribution to Barnardo’s as a volunteer with SECOS, a project that works with young people who have been exploited through prostitution. She is a regular volunteer for the drop-in and outreach service and also accompanies young people to A&E and helps them to find accommodation. Karen is caring and non-judgmental, which is greatly valued and respected by both staff and service users.

Palmersville Barnardo's Shop Volunteers

Five volunteers at the Palmersville shop went above and beyond their role as fundraisers for Barnardo’s by offering training and work experience to young people who attended the local training centre, particularly those who had extra support needs.

When one of the managers recently had an accident, the volunteers rallied together to make sure that the shop was staffed, often committing extra hours to working in the shop around their own caring responsibilities. This experience helped the volunteers to gain in confidence and learn new skills, which they can now pass on to the young people they are training.

Preston Nightstop staff

Preston Nightstop provides emergency accommodation, in the homes of the volunteers who run the service, for young people who find themselves homeless. Most volunteers offered at least two nights’ accommodation a week for young people, many of whom had experienced a family breakdown or abuse, in order to help them in a practical and caring way.

The volunteers show a great deal of dedication and care to the young people who they come in to contact with, often not realising the positive impact that they have on their lives. Young people feel valued by the service and are able to enjoy being off the streets in a secure and safe environment.

Stranraer Barnardo's Shop Volunteers

The Barnardo’s shop in Stranraer is run by an all ladies volunteer team who decided to take over the running of the shop in 1999 when their manager left and the shop was threatened with closure. Not only did the volunteer team successfully keep the shop open, they turned it into one of the top 15 shops in the country in 2001 in terms of growth.

The volunteers kept the shop open all year round, six days a week, from 10am until 4pm. Remarkably, they were also responsible for collecting all of the donations and processing them for sale in the shop.

Angela Hall

Angela is a volunteer and ambassador for the ‘B76’ Multi-Agency Young Person’s Advice Centre in Hartlepool. She overcame many years of personal struggle to become a volunteer at the centre, establishing new services and gaining funding to support them.

Angela also used her personal experiences to organise a programme for local health and youth workers which raised awareness about eating disorders. She helped to launch the Millennium Volunteers programme in her local area and gave a speech in front of the local MP.