Showcase: Harry – Sam Solandt Award Winner

At Hope’s tenth anniversary celebrations, Harry was presented with Hope’s annual Sam Solandt award.

Every year, Hope Support Services give out three awards: Fundraiser of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and the Sam Solandt Award. All three recognise massive efforts to support Hope. The 2019 winner of Fundraiser of the Year was Herefordshire CAMRA for their incredible efforts with the annual ‘Beer on the Wye’ festival, which has donated over £20,000 to Hope over the years. The 2019 Volunteer of the Year award went to Jane Batty for her hours of hard work at Hope sessions, especially with the under 11 groups.

The annual Sam Solandt Award is named after a much loved member of the Hope team who sadly lost her battle with cancer in 2017. It is supported by her family and is given to an individual for making an outstanding contribution to Hope whilst overcoming their own challenges; possessing a zest for life and a drive to achieve the best for the greater good. This year, it went to Harry.

Harry with Paul, Simon and Mark from Herefordshire CAMRA and Volunteer of the Year Jane Batty.

Harry has been involved with Hope for two years. In this time, he has been to events across the UK and volunteered at everything from youth sessions to bag packs. Most recently, he has taken on the role of Vice-Chair of the Y-Team. We looked back over the last two years and Harry picked out a few highlights:

2018

2019

2020

One of my earliest memories with Hope is volunteering at the Wye Float. It was loads of fun but I ended up falling in the water, so I was freezing all day! I also got to go to loads of events with Hope in 2018 including the Three Counties Show, where we had a stand and also invited primary schools to watch Hope young people try out blacksmithing.

I remember helping to set up the 2019 duck race. Rhi, Julia, SammyJay and I spent at least four hours lining up a thousand ducks at the start line. Then, I had to walk through the mud down the river to make sure none of the ducks got stuck. I was with two people in all the kit and there was me with a stick in the middle of the stinging nettles!

In 2020, I’ve promised myself I’m going to try and do more presentations. I really appreciated the public speaking training I had during a Y-Team meeting because it gave me the confidence to talk at the tenth anniversary celebrations, assemblies and to other organisations, but it’s something I have a lot of trouble with so I want to do even more.

I began helping out at youth sessions in Leominster and occasionally Hereford. I love being a role model for people younger than me and helping to make their lives that bit easier. Two years on, the skills I learned back then are helping me to realise my dream of becoming a youth worker.

I have so many funny memories from volunteering at Bromyard and Leominster youth sessions and trips in 2019. Not only have I become a leprechaun, an elf and a pumpkin but I also remember starting up a game of Hide and Seek and hiding in a cupboard I wasn’t allowed in!

I also look forward to volunteering at youth sessions as much as I possibly can. I want to continue to help young people – I love being a role model for them and making their lives that little bit easier. I hope I’ll be involved with Hope for many years to come in a variety of different ways.
Harry at a Hope on the Road

Myself, I have benefitted a huge amount from Hope. In 2019, I was part of a 3 night sailing trip around Cornwall which was pretty incredible! It was an escape at a time when I had a lot going on, where I could be surrounded by positive people and just have a laugh. That trip was also the first time I met JL Solandt, which makes receiving this award extra meaningful.

The training and courses I have been offered have really helped me personally. For example, the cookery course I took has made a massive difference to my family because it means my dad doesn’t have to cook straight after coming home from work – I can cook meals for them and develop my own skills and since the course gave me the push forward, I haven’t looked back!

I think it’s amazing that Hope has been providing the support that it does for ten years. In the grand scheme of things, I’ve been involved quite early on, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how Hope progresses over the years. I feel so proud of myself for winning the award and it meant a great deal to me. It was really heartwarming to see all my hard work volunteering was appreciated so much.

I want to thank Hope very much for supporting me through a very difficult time in my life and, not only that, but also giving me a platform to progress as an individual and build on my confidence. Now, because of Hope, I have direction in my life and a plan for what I want to do (which I wasn't sure of for such a long time). I'm so grateful to have been given the opportunity to help other young people going through a similar situation to what I did.

Harry and so many others have supported Hope in a huge number of different ways – this blog should have given you a flavour, but it cannot capture the enormous gratitude we have to all of our supporters for their continued backing. Without a doubt, we could not be where we are today without you all.

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