Hyde Community Action celebrated the achievements of their volunteers and the outstanding contribution to Hyde Community Action they make at an event attended by Jonathan Reynolds MP.
At the event on the 24th of March, 30 volunteers were awarded for their contribution. The stories of seven courageous women stood out. These were all stories of local Bengali women, who have overcome many personal obstacles to step out of their comfort zone in order to achieve great things for themselves and for the wider Hyde community.
Confidence soars for Syeda
Representatives from the NHS, local councillor Jim Fitzpatrick and a large crowd of HCA volunteers and supporters heard the story of Syeda, who received the Exceptional Progress Award on the night. Syeda arrived in the UK from Bangladesh to become a housewife. For years she was isolated and had low confidence, spending all of her time looking after her family and overlooking herself. But this all changed when she came across a creative crafts class at Hyde Community Action. This was a lifeline that gave Syeda a new purpose and new friends. Her confidence grew and over the years she became so involved as a volunteer, that she started to lead the sessions herself. Fast forward to 2017 where Syeda’s confidence has blossomed and she is successfully running additional crafts classes both at Hyde Community Action and in Newton.
Baking a difference
The audience also heard the story of Volunteer of the Year award winner Salma, who decided that in addition to being a full time mum, she wanted to give something back to the community through volunteering. Her enthusiasm and commitment to reach out and engage with women in the community, who needed support to come forward and make positive changes in their lives, earned her the award. Through Salma’s very popular baking sessions, she builds rapport with the ladies and supports them in taking on new challenges.
Said Salma: “So I wanted to do something that made a difference rather than get a job and just get paid, decided to go into volunteering, since I have started with HCA I have really enjoyed all the training and I have learned so much about making a difference in people’s lives.”
Onwards and upwards
The official part of the proceedings ended as a group of volunteers released messages of optimism and freedom in the form of balloons. Hyde Community Action Chair of Trustees, Caroline Gregory, said of the event: “HCA has been able to improve the lives of many people in Hyde and other parts of Tameside by providing activities and services that we know are needed and welcomed by the community. We make a difference to many people and you must never doubt the value of what happens at HCA. It is a unique organisation which works with local people to give them what they want.“
Caroline concluded: “Volunteers are essential to HCA, and all of us involved work hard to try to make this an enjoyable and worthwhile experience for you as well as you being invaluable assets for us. You give freely of your time and skills and are very much valued.“