Oasis Domestic Abuse Service crowned Kent Charity of the Year!
At a glittering Gala Dinner at Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone on Thursday 13th June, nearly 300 representatives from Kent’s charitable sector gathered as community charity, Oasis Domestic Abuse Service, was crowned Kent Charity of the Year 2019!
The Kent Charity Awards winner
Oasis Domestic Abuse Service, has supported people affected by or at risk of domestic abuse for over 22 years. They offer a comprehensive range of services in Thanet and Dover, including two refuges for women and children, forced to flee their homes.
Loukia Michael, Fundraising Manager at Oasis Domestic Abuse Service, said; “We are absolutely delighted to have been given this award which is a recognition of our staff team who work tirelessly supporting the vulnerable families who need our help. Winning the KCAs will help us to bring domestic abuse out from the shadows and we dedicate this honour to the brave women, men and children who have had the courage to change their lives. We hope the award will help us reach out to more families so that they know there is help out there and they are not alone. “
Now in its Fifth, The Kent Charity awards has grown from strength to strength and as in previous years, the judges were staggered and delighted by the great diversity of charities and voluntary groups there are in Kent, all working hard to make the lives of others better. The quality of entries from large and small organisations from all corners of the county gets higher each year, making the selection process a huge challenge for the judges.
Volunteer and Trustee of the Year
Also attending Kent’s most prestigious Award ceremony were the finalists in the Volunteer and Trustee of the Year categories. These highly-acclaimed accolades were presented to Mike Clark and George Harvey respectively.
The Volunteer of the Year Mike Clark, inspired his local community to help clear and transform a seriously neglected corner of Broadstairs with stunning results. Mike believes that age should be no barrier to making a difference to the community we live in.
George Harvey was was crowned Trustee of the Year for the 32 years of incredible service he has given to Spadework, a charity providing life skills, training and work experience for over 90 people with learning and other disabilities. George was also instrumental in growing the charity to what it is today.
On winning the Children’s Charity of the Year Award, Stephen Gray, CEO of the Young Lives Foundation said: “My team work incredibly hard all year long, often in challenging circumstances, so each and every one of them, paid or voluntary, deserves this recognition. I am feeling very proud to lead them on the next leg of the journey” Thank you to everyone at Kent Charity Awards for a wonderful evening” Stephen Gray | CEO
Three special awards were given to; Royal British Legion Industries (Large Charity of the Year), Wildwood Trust (Animal and Environment Charity of the Year and Air Ambulance Kent, Surrey, Sussex (Outstanding Contribution to Kent).
Commenting on winning Large Charity of the Year award, RBLI’s Chief Executive Steve Sherry, CMG OBE, said: “Winning the award is a major boost for everyone at the charity.
“Being recognised as the best large charity in the county is testament to the hard work everyone at RBLI does for veterans and people with disabilities which is helping improve lives every day. We are very proud to have won.”
The Kent Charity Awards recognise and celebrate the unsung heroes of Kent who work tirelessly to make the lives of others better. Finalists fell into the following categories – Community, Children’s, Volunteers, Care, Start-Up, Disability Charity of the Year and the winners were:
Community Charity of the Year – Catching Lives
Children’s Charity of the Year – The Young Lives Foundation
Best Use of Volunteers – Home-Start Medway
Care Charity of the Year – Heart of Kent Hospice
Start-Up Charity of the Year – Hypo Hounds
Disability Charity of the Year – Tunbridge Wells Mental Health Resource
The Kent Charity Awards were founded by Jo Hage and Sarah MacDonald of Rise Communications. As event managers for several key business awards across the county they realised there wasn’t a single, countywide award scheme aimed at the third sector and wanted to do something to honour the commitment and hard work charities and voluntary groups do across Kent.
Chairman of judges Susan Robinson said on the night: “This has been another incredible year of applications, demonstrating the high quality of Charities operating in Kent. The judges faced a difficult task of short-listing the finalists and then made some incredible visits to each of those charities. We were inspired, laughed, cried but overall came away humbled. We witnessed innovation and collaboration. During these challenging times we saw hope and possibilities. We thank all the charities that entered this year and hope they will again, continue to challenge us! Well done to all the finalists.”
The finalist volunteers this year were all very different in what they do for their respective charities, but all demonstrated a passion, dedication and empathy for the people and cause they support. Our winner Mike Clark saw an idea and to the best of his ability encouraged others to join him on a journey to deliver a project that has greatly helped the local community”.
The finalists in all categories were:
Community Charity of the Year
Catching Lives – Winner
Kent Autistic Trust
Oasis Domestic Abuse Service
Children’s Charity of the Year
The Young Lives Foundation – Winner
We Are Beams
Best Use of Volunteers
Home-Start Medway – Winner
The Family Trust
Care Charity of the Year
Heart of Kent Hospice – Winner
Start-Up Charity of the Year
Hypo Hounds – Winner
The Big Reveal
The Hygiene Bank
Disability Charity of the Year
Tunbridge Wells Mental Health Resource – Winner
East Kent Mencap
Royal British Legion Industries – Large Charity of the Year
Wildwood Trust – Animal and Environment Charity of the Year
Air Ambulance Kent, Surrey, Sussex – Outstanding Contribution to Kent
Trustee of the Year
George Harvey – Spadework – Winner
Megan Mckay – Cherished Gowns
Tony Hillier – The Family Trust
Rod Black – Step and Learn Conductive Education
Volunteer of the Year
Mike Clark – Broadstairs Town Gardens Team – Winner
Roger Judge – RBLI
Lil Smith – Pilgrims Hospice
David Burridge – The Big Reveal
The event could only take place because of the support of its sponsors – Furley Page, The KM Media Group, Medway Council, MidKent College, Kent County Council, Kreston Reeves, Diggerland, CC Works, Kent Community Foundation, CAF Bank and Arriva.
Entries for the 2019/20 awards will open in October 2019 and can be made through the Kent Charity Awards website www.kentcharityawards.com . The Awards will be held in a different area of Kent next year and venues are currently being looked at.