A DEDICATED volunteer from Rugby has received a regional commendation in recognition of his support for local families.
Steve Gold has been highly-commended in the Barnardo’s Marsh Trust Awards for the Midlands and South West.
The 50-year-old has been praised for his work with the charity’s Hillmorton Children’s Centre.
He was nominated for his hard work and dedication to local families, particularly at the Sunbeams parent and toddler group which meets at Rogers Hall in Deerings Road.
Steve also played a key role in setting up a new job club, attracting funding for laptops and arranging a venue for parents to learn new skills and apply for employment.
Steve, the curate at St John the Baptist Church in Hillmorton, said: “This is lovely recognition for the amazing teams who make our Sunbeams and Job Club groups happen, and for the families who support each other so well and make this little community what it is.”
Barnardo’s volunteer co-ordinator Gill Stubbings said: “Steve took on the running of the Sunbeams group in 2013, working with the children’s centre to improve this much-needed outreach service for local families.
“He encourages participation and now has a small team of mums who support the messy activities and another mum who leads the singing. This is developing their confidence and encouraging them to volunteer in their community.
“Steve refers to them as his ‘Sunbeams family’.”
One mum said: “We didn’t know anyone when we moved here but Steve made us feel so welcome and helped us to become part of the community.”
Another added: “Steve’s supportive ear helped us all to get through parenthood.”
The Barnardo’s Hillmorton Children’s Centre, in Watts Lane, is part of a network which includes children’s centres in Cawston, Claremont Road, Long Lawford, Newbold, Oakfield and Wolston.
Managed by Barnardo’s on behalf of Warwickshire County Council (WCC), they provide free activities and support for parents and carers of under-5s.
However, in November WCC voted to reduce the county’s 39 centres to just 14 to save £1.1milion, due to a £67milion cut in government funding.
Claremont and Long Lawford centres will become ‘Children and Family Centres’ which will provide ‘an enhanced service across a broader age range’.
The Hillmorton and Wolston centres might continue as ‘outreach’ centres – ‘provided day to day management and costs could be transferred to a third party and where there is access and an interest in continuing service provision’.
The Oakfield, Newbold and Cawston centres face closure when the plan is implemented in October 2019.
The Sunbeams parent and toddler group meets at Rogers Hall every Tuesday from 9.30-11.15am.
Call (01788) 540588 or search for ‘rugbychildrenscentres’ on Facebook for more information.