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Volunteer of the Year

Sue Nicholson

A Good Samaritan Shows Her Dedication to Supporting Working Women.

Sue has been nominated by Support & Outreach Officer, Hannah Lewis. Hannah has nominated Sue because of her reliability and commitment as a volunteer that helps vulnerable, working women. Sue, alongside many others, provide a holistic service help women move forward towards safe, whole lives free from prostitution and drug addiction. Volunteering under this project is a vital aspect of the charity, and without it, many women would go without resources and someone to talk to. Sue provides a loving hand to everyone she meets, regardless of their situation. We asked Hannah a series of questions to see why winning this award would mean so much to Sue:

What is the name and purpose of the organisation that Sue volunteers for?
The Joanna Project, Leeds. The project aims to work with vulnerable, hard to reach, women who are trapped by life controlling addictions and who are often involved in street prostitution with all the exploitation and danger that involves.

What is Sue's current occupation?
Sue is currently a Young Persons Housing Support Worker.

Why do you think Sue is so motivated to volunteer?
Sue has a real heart for the women we support and is very genuine in her love and care for them.

Is it possible to measure how much volunteering that Sue does?
At the moment, Sue is committed to 3 hours with us on the weeks she is on the rota, but will often pick up more hours to step in. She has sometimes been known to give three evenings in a week, going way above and beyond what we ask of our volunteers. She is also readily contactable throughout the week and always on hand with other opportunities to help, and the 3 hours she gives on paper really doesn't do justice to her commitment and dedication to the project.

Why is the Joanna Project so close to Sue's heart?
Living locally and seeing the effects of sex work, Sue is passionate about reaching out to women who live in her own neighbourhood. She is part of the local community and sees volunteering as a way to do something positive for the area. We are based in a poorer part of the city, and Sue would readily say the area has faced its fair share of challenges. Many of these challenges come from the prominence of street sex work, and so Sue has become involved in trying to make a difference where she can.

How does Sue balance her commitments?
Sue always speaks fondly of her family, and in the past I have been amazed at how much one woman can do! Sue has a large family who she often has round for lunch at weekends. She really is a huge support to all who know her, both in her own life and through volunteering, which is why it would mean a lot to recognise the amazing care she gives. As you can clearly see, Sue has many commitments and interests that she has to balance in her life. Despite this, she still makes time for those that are less fortunate than her, and putting her best foot forward to try and help people.

What has been Sue's standout volunteering moment?
While there has not been one particular standout moment, I think that the thing which stands out in Sue's 5 years as a volunteer is her consistency. I know that this means a great deal to the women, who have little stability and consistency in their lives. The kind of consistency that Sue exhibits is something that the women don't see very much of, so it's appreciated when someone is so committed and sticks to a routine.

Sue's steady commitment to them is known by the women we support and many of them have come to see her as a mother figure on outreach, often asking for her when she's not there, and giving her the affectionate nickname 'Mother Hubbard.'

Lastly, why do you think that Sue deserves to win this award?
Sue is our most reliable and committed volunteer. She is a part of our evening outreach team, supporting women taking out hot chocolate and sandwiches as well as offering sign posting support to women we meet. Something as simple as this can make a real difference to a woman's day, spreading a little bit positivity in their daily lives.

Volunteering hours are antisocial but despite this, Sue still manages to hold down her own work, as well as being a reliable volunteer that has given up her free time for over 5 years. She is always the first person to offer when cover is needed, and helped pioneer our new Saturday Outreach team. Her commitment to the Joanna Project is second to none, and nobody is as willing to give up their free time as quickly as Sue is.

As mentioned already, Sue goes above and beyond what we ask of our volunteers. As a volunteer co-ordinator, it's a real privilege to know her and to have her on the team. She makes a real difference to the women we see through the relationship she's been able to build with them, and there is huge trust and confidence placed in her by some of the most chaotic and vulnerable women we see. Sue is always willing to give more time, and will often bring extra treats with her to outreach, going the extra mile to make sure each woman knows they're loved and valuable.

If you think that Sue deserves to be recognised for her volunteering efforts, make sure to vote for her in the public vote for SuperAchievers.

Vote for Sue

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