The Only National Awards For Non-Medical / Non-Clinical NHS Staff & Volunteers


Previous Winners

2020 Award Winners – Hilton Hotel Manchester

Congratulations to all of our winners.


Public Choice

Sabir Hussain

British Asian Radio

Sabir Hussain is an Award-Winning Music Promoter for the past 25 year, helping young people from deprived areas get into Music and since the Lockdown from March 2020, helping NHS staff with quality 24-hour music from his online Radio Station “British Asian Radio”.

In June 2021, Sabir Hussain won the Prime Ministers “Point of Lights Award” for outstanding contribution to British Society and Communities with his Radio Station. Sabir Hussain has also worked in Government departments of Home Office, DWP and Office of National Statistics in helping the Disabled and under privileged.

He has excellent Interpersonal Skills and loyalty towards NHS in helping them in Media and Art projects. Sabir Hussain was also a victim of Covid 19 in April 2020, where he was in Airedale Hospital for two weeks under treatment and thanked all NHS staff and Doctors in looking after him.

I strongly believe that Sabir Hussain is the perfect choice for the “Public Choice” Award for his outstanding help towards NHS staff with his British Asian Radio. British Asian Radio was created to help young and disabled people get their Music heard online when mainstream radio stations didn’t provide the opportunity.

After 25 years in the Entertainments Industry, Sabir Hussain thought of this unique concept when so many young and disabled people were complaining to major Radio stations for not playing independent music.

Since Lockdown of March 2020, British Asian Radio has played over 1000 new songs from young and disadvantaged people from across UK. It has given opportunities to people who never would have dreamed of getting they music heard.

Since 2020 British Asian Radio has provided Acoustic Therapy for Afghanistan War Vets to combat PTSD and Trauma by using Music as a method of treatment.

Mental Wellness Champion

Catriona Rowland

Barts Health NHS Trust

Since January 2021, Catriona Rowland has been the Staff Wellbeing Lead at Newham Hospital. She was redeployed into the role from her day job in Quality Improvement because of her innate ability to listen to staff and respond to their concerns and her limitless energy and drive. She has been the central driving force behind the formation and delivery of the new Health and Wellbeing Service at Newham Hospital.

Catriona is a force to be reckoned with – within weeks of starting her role, she had identified several spaces in the Hospital that could be converted into wellbeing areas. She secured comfortable furniture, embedded donated Neuro-beds, Massage Chairs, Free Magazines, Food and Refreshments. Catriona was also intuitive enough to realise that not all staff could leave their wards to access these resources. And so, she worked to provide in-ward Wellbeing to these staff.

Catriona has worked to embed a newly allocated psychology resource at the Hospital for both individuals and teams in need of it, to ensure that staff’s Mental Health was being cared for, as well as their Physical Health. In turn, Catriona has supported local managers to support their own teams’ Mental Health. For example, regular Mindfulness and check-in sessions were embedded into Team Huddles, and Teams and Individuals were supported in accessing help via Apps and local Mental Health Initiatives.

Since January, Catriona has organised many initiatives that helped staff with their Mental and Physical wellbeing, to relax and release. These include, but aren’t limited to:

A Silent Disco, Singing Lessons, Concerts from the London Symphony Orchestra, Skin Clinics to deal with PPE–induced issues, Zoom Exercise Classes, Hand and Soft-tissue Massages, visits from Therapy Dogs, a Healthy Living Club for staff, learning about Diet, Exercise and Mental Wellbeing, a Gardening Club.

She is a constant presence on site with high visibility in all staff areas and continuously promotes the availability and uptake of Wellbeing Services and opportunities to staff.

During this time, Catriona has also somehow managed to find time to mentor and support several members of staff who have been seconded to the Wellbeing Team. These individuals include Volunteers and Project Search Interns – individuals with learning needs accessing a programme within Newham Hospital, with the aim of improving access to work. We have seen these staff members’ skills and confidence blossom, thanks to Catriona’s support and guidance.

Going forward, Catriona is ensuring each area has an individualised Wellbeing Plan, which includes embedding wellbeing knowledge, skills and behaviours to recognise and respond when Mental Health is a challenge for staff, but also to build up resilience and continue to support good Mental Health.

Catriona has gone above and beyond in what isn’t even her usual day job. She cares deeply about the Mental Health and Wellbeing of staff at Newham Hospital and for this, she deserves praise and recognition.

Corporate Services

HR Operations Team

University Hospitals of North Midlands

The HR Operations Team have been critical to the pandemic. In March 2020 we saw a steep rise in absences due to Covid-19 and the HR team was asked to lead a Covid-19 Staff Testing Pathway. They quickly mobilised a team comprising of HR, OH, Infection Prevention, Pathology, Clinical teams, and IT. Managing a Clinical pathway was a departure from the norm, but the team rose to the challenge!

Within a few days, a Testing Pathway was in place with two drive-through centres. The team worked with IT Developers on a new system, which meant that once an employee had reported an absence, within a few hours we had made a call to them, booked a PCR test and results were given by SMS next day (with some being available the same day). This was at a time when Community Testing Centres were new and turnaround times could be as much as four days. The HR Team quickly became experts in staff testing and all this knowledge was built into a Clinical Standard Operating Procedure.

With the HR Team acting as call handlers, they played a pivotal role in connecting with almost 10,000 employees/household members, providing support, explaining Government guidance on self-isolating, and importantly booking a Covid-19 test.

As Covid-19 absences continued to rise, the HR Team took a step back to redesign the pathway. They knew that improving the technology solution was essential. As Testing Capacity became available at Community Testing Centres, acting fast was critical to ensure that employees were tested at Trust sites. This was critical to assist with outbreak management. The team worked with a Systems Developer on a self-service solution, which meant that the moment an employee opened an absence, they would receive an automated SMS message with a link to book a test. This development meant that staff could book a test 24/7, attend within a few hours and receive results the same day. This was a critical turning point.

The HR Operations Team lead the Contact Tracing Pathway and were able to spot areas of concern and report these immediately. To date the Team have facilitated over 1,275 Contact Tracing Activities. The Team developed Daily Reporting Flows for divisions to help plan the likely date of return of staff, which has been essential for service delivery and worked closely with the Trust Infection Prevention Doctor on a research project looking at the virus prevalence and staff absence. Over the course of the last 12 months, members of the HR Operations Team have worked every single day supporting with staff testing, in the early days supporting 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.

During this time, the Team have helped over 9,200 people obtain a test and have talked to many thousands of employees and families. The HR Operations Team have never underestimated the impact that a reassuring voice at the end of the phone will have.

Estates & Ancillary

Paula Betterton

West London NHS Trust

Paula is currently one of our Driver Porters who showed real initiative and responsiveness during the Pandemic, and has continued to support our services over and above what was expected of her. 

During the pandemic, Paula took control early on within the Portering Team without being asked, she supported all the Driver Porters with the day-to-day organisation of jobs, managing with reduced staffing. The Supervisor for the team was asked to shield and Paula then became the main point of contact. During her day she fully supported Portering Operations for Patient Transport, making sure that all patient appointments were kept, and transportation was covered whilst covering what was needed for the day to day needs of our Hospital site including waste, linen, pharmacy etc.

Additional duties were added during the pandemic and one of these was supporting with the delivery of PPE. Making sure vehicles and drivers were available to allocate PPE, Paula provided an outstanding service to all the areas. Identifying who were in need across all our inpatient units and community sites. Paula made sure that all the generous donations our Trust received, including food for staff, were collected, and delivered to where they were needed on time and following all the appropriate storage requirements.

Without being asked, she initiated and supported the collections and deliveries of additional nursing equipment and scrubs. Arranging deliveries and sorting scrubs into sizes, which became an urgent requirement to keep staff safe. Also making sure her own team had enough PPE to support their needs.

Paula showed excellent Leadership Skills and was the first to train on the Enhanced Cleaning and Decontamination of the vehicles and the first driver to step up and transport patients who were identified as being COVID positive. Showing other staff who were anxious about taking on these duties that if they followed the right procedures, wore the correct PPE, then it would be just like a normal part of their day.

Paula continues to lead by example and where needed to make changes to keep everyone safe. The Porters supported Paula in everything that she changed, whether it was rotas, or staggering start and finish times. They knew she had their best interests and safety in mind. With all the changes she had to implement, from increasing staffing and train new agency staff, to looking after additional vehicle requirements and learn new skills to support others, Paula showed that she was a real asset.

Paula was outstanding in her contribution to her colleagues. Giving confidence to others to be able to get through the day safely, making sure patients were not forgotten. During the pandemic the fear from staff in the hospital was very real, Paula kept a level head, showed others what could be done. Paula is most definitely a hero to us in the department.

IT & Digital

Margo Smith

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust

I have been involved with Health Informatics and Digital health for almost 20 years and have known Margo Smith for most of that time. We are part of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation trust, as well as being a shared commercial informatics service digitally supporting many different NHS organisations including Acute Trusts, CCGs/ICS, Mental Health, Community, Social Care and 3rd Sector, even Prisons, and that is where Margo comes to the forefront.  

There isn’t much happening digitally across our Region and Trust that has not crossed Margo’s desk to some extent, at some point. Her primary role is heading up all the digital support functions for the Trusts and 3rd Sector Organisations, however her impact is felt much wider, and she has become the ‘go to’ person that pulls all the services together. The reason Margo is our Unsung Hero is that she does this with such integrity, commitment and drive, whilst still being humble and somewhat unaware of the huge contribution she is making to patient care across West Yorkshire.

Her approach is very much about getting the job done, always finding a way to overcome any perceived barriers. She is generally one step ahead pre-empting requirements based on her experience, or proactively addressing issues she has identified along the way, again with little fuss or fan fair, always in the background but absolutely one of the key driving forces behind all that we do around Digital Services.

If something digital needs progressing, or if people aren’t sure who to go to for an answer/action then they very often ‘ask Margo’ and this includes Digital Leaders, Clinicians, Divisional Managers, Technicians & Project Managers, both internally and across the different Health and Social Care organisations within the Region or Trust.

Recent examples include: ensuring all the vaccination centres were technically enabled at a rapid pace across GPs, Community Centres, Stadiums and within the hospital throughout December/January 2020/21 and specifically over the Christmas period.

Margo was instrumental in working with our CNIO to set up a relative’s line and virtual visiting process to enable patients to see their family and friends through the extremely difficult early Covid period.

Margo worked with patient engagement to support a process around ‘letter to a loved one’ for families to communicate with patients whilst there was no visiting. Margo also played a key role in digitally enabling over 2,000 staff to work from home in less than 2 weeks as the country went into lockdown.

And she did all this alongside her role in ensuring that the support was there for digitally mature and reliant organisations so they could continue to deliver compassionate care to their patients.

Margo would always play down the contribution or impact of her work when the reality is much the opposite. Margo continues to be hardworking, dedicated and outcome driven, whilst still being compassionate, people focussed and supportive to all no matter of their role, position, or request.

Admin & Clerical

Sheila Bekoe

Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust

Sheila Bekoe is the secretary to one of our locum consultant Psychiatrists, but the work she does goes far beyond her role.

At Christmas, Sheila gave up much of her spare time to help struggling BAME families in the Greater Manchester area. All the families had children and many of the parents had lost their jobs due to Covid. Sheila sourced hundreds of items including toys, clothes and learning materials from Trust staff and spent her weekends carefully organising them so that each family she was helping received donations that specifically tailored their needs. She also recruited Staff and Volunteers from across our Trust to help deliver the donations.

In the workplace, Sheila also spends her personal time to help the organisation’s goals of becoming more inclusive. She is one of the most proactive members of our ‘Equality Mentoring’ Project, whereby members of our Race Equality Network mentor members of our board on their lived experiences. Sheila’s input has been recognised directly by the board in helping to identify several positive steps we can take forward to bring about change and improvement.

Apprentice of the Year

Lauren Eyers

Portsmouth University Hospitals NHS Trust

Having successfully recently completed her Apprenticeship Scheme at the Trust, Lauren’s natural capacity to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously came to the forefront during the past 18 months of the pandemic. Her self-motivation, calm and efficient manner enabled her to multi-task on any number of requests for communications support, from every corner of the hospital, while also managing her day-to-day workload. No task was too big.

Lauren proved herself to be exceptional throughout what became an incredibly stressful period for the small three-person Communications Team. Single-handedly, Lauren took it on herself to update the frequent Covid-19 Public Health and Staff Information Messages and Posters, such as PPE, Visiting Restrictions, Hand Washing and many more. This work included Mass Printing, Laminating, and then personally distributing the information across the Trust. Known to change regularly throughout a day, Lauren juggled the regular poster updates, along with supporting a much-depleted Volunteers and Charity Team to manage and distribute the large number of food and gift donations across the hospital, as they were arriving almost every hour.

Working extraordinarily long hours, Lauren immersed herself and helped support her colleagues to help manage ongoing media requests, staff communications around Infection Prevention and Control and Public Information around attending the Emergency Department and other clinics. Lauren still managed time over Easter to help deliver 1000’s of Easter Eggs to staff across the Trust!

Head of communications, Emma said: “We simply wouldn’t have been able to have functioned or delivered on the level of communications we did without Lauren. She is an incredible team player and very self-motivated. To support the team, Lauren maintained an action log to record everything that had been asked of the Communications Team and monitored the team’s workload throughout the pandemic.”

Due to the team being incredibly small and increased demands being placed on the most senior member, who had also stepped up and taken on a more senior role herself, Lauren helped ensure the Trust’s social media accounts were regularly monitored and kept up to date with key messages and information for the local community the hospital serves.

Having gone through the Apprenticeship Programme, Lauren volunteered to mentor the team’s new Apprentice, and took him under her wing to support and coach him on the many aspects of acute hospital Communications, including Internal and External Campaigns. More recently, Lauren undertook the role of supporting, training and line managing the new Communication Team’s Assistant. Laurens’s calm and friendly manner has enabled the assistant to settle in and become an intrinsic member of the team.

As the Communications Team increased in early 2021, Lauren welcomed and supported five new members of the team to settle and navigate their way around the Trust’s processes, as well as helping them find their way around the large complex Hospital site. With regular interruptions to her daily workload, Lauren will happily assist and answer any number of queries asked of her. Lauren has been amazing, an Unsung Hero this past 18 months and continues to be today.

Volunteer of the Year

Colin Ogden

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

Colin has been a standout member of the Volunteer Team at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust for eight years. Since joining the Trust as a Volunteer Driver, he has been instrumental in the development of the service across the Trust.

The service started in 2013 as a group of people wanting to help those struggling to get to their outpatient’s appointments. Shortly after starting, Colin began helping with organising driver rota’s, arranging cover for absences, and dealing with any queries that were raised. Colin also supported with the recruitment of Volunteer Drivers and has been involved in the selection and induction of many volunteer drivers. He is so well known and admired that other drivers regularly chat to him over the phone. He gets to know them and their families well and takes all new drivers through their local induction. Having been a driver a short while, Colin had been offered donations from patients for the Trust. He suggested the implementation of an Envelope Scheme whereby patients, if they wanted to, could donate to the Trust’s charitable funds. This is a measure of how valued our drivers and Colin is by the local community (the very people our drivers support). To date our Envelope Scheme has contributed to over £8,500 to Trust charitable funds.

Having regularly supported patients attending their Chemotherapy Appointments, Colin decided that he wanted to support the staff and patients on the unit. In addition to his driving role, he now volunteers on a Friday morning and does his best to put the patients at ease by keeping them company during treatment. Colin makes cups of tea and does his upmost to raise a smile to the Patients and Staff on the unit. Colin’s thoughtfulness and commitment to supporting our patients has extended further to recently cutting a patient’s grass when realising this patient was struggling.

In addition to this, once Colin has finished his volunteer shift in the Chemotherapy Unit, he will then collect any medication for delivery from the hospital pharmacy. He checks if there are any food donations for the foodbank and he delivers these on his way home from the Hospital.

The Trust implemented a food campaign during 2020 as a means for Trust staff to give something back to the local community for the support received in donations during the pandemic. Colin has been instrumental in promoting the campaign at the University Hospital of Hartlepool and coordinating the delivery to the local foodbank from various drop off points around the hospital. Colin not only goes the extra mile for patients, but he also goes the extra mile for the Trust and for his fellow volunteers. On top of that, he has been a fantastic support to staff within the Volunteer Services Team and we cannot thank him enough.

Previous Winners