The fifth annual Mayor’s Civic Awards celebration has recognised and honoured the efforts and achievements of local people and organisations who have strived to make Croydon a better place in which to live and work.
The 14 finalists who attended the awards ceremony in the Braithwaite Hall were drawn from more than 150 nominations made earlier in the year by members of the public. They included fundraisers, volunteer carers, people who volunteer in spite of the personal difficulties they face themselves, organisations that promote volunteers, and young volunteers.
The Lifetime Service to Croydon award went to Jad Adams, a volunteer with homeless charity Croydon Nightwatch since 1979, and chairman since 1992.
In 1996, he launched a resettlement scheme to settle formerly homeless people in new accommodation, partnering with a recycling charity to provide furniture. Some 50 people are now resettled each year. To help former homeless people enter work or education, Jad set up a vocational support scheme to provide workplacee equipment, such as protective clothing.
Despite increased numbers, Nightwatch remains entirely voluntary, and is now the largest such organisation in the borough. Jad has worked to raise new funds to support the organisation, reaching out to Croydon’s business community, in particular.
He said: “I’ve always been concerned about homelessness, and wanted to do something practical to help. I volunteered one night in the 1970s for Nightwatch and realised this was an organisation I wanted to be part of. That feeling has never changed and I’m proud to have been chair when we were commemorating Nightwatch’s 40th anniversary this year.
“I feel incredibly honoured to receive this award. It’s a recognition of the value of volunteering, particularly in a field such as homelessness, which hasn’t always received the attention it deserves.”
Other award winners were:
● Volunteer of the Year: Hardeep Panesar
● Group of the Year: joint winners – Croydon Hearing and Lakes Playground Action Group
● Young Achiever of the Year: Stella Femi Fasusi Olomu
● Business of the Year: Whitgift and Centrale management teams
Councillor Wayne Trakas-Lawlor, the Mayor of Croydon
“This evening we showcase and celebrate the achievements of people who have dedicated their lives to working freely for the benefit of others.
“We celebrate passionate people who are tireless in campaigning to improve their communities with little or no resources, people who are creating a better future for young people, businesses, groups and organisations that put social values and community at the heart of everyday life.”
Judges examined each entry and scored achievements against criteria designed to identify those people who had gone further than others and made a real difference to their community.
The event’s Gold Sponsor and sponsor of the Lifetime Service award was Kier Group. The other sponsors were Veolia, The Croydon Partnership, Axis and AIG.