The Engage Unsung Hero Awards celebrate the individuals who work tirelessly to help their Credit Unions and their local communities.

It has been a fantastic couple of weeks, we have had some great nominations come through. It has really highlighted all of the efforts which go into the day-to-day operations of a Credit Union and the hard work of all of the individuals involved.

It was a difficult task for our judges with so many great nominations, but we have finally found our Unsung Heroes of 2021. We are delighted to be able to share them with you, and celebrate the efforts of these individuals. We’d like to give a huge congratulations to all of our winners, as well as a thank you to everyone who took the time to leave a nomination.

Without further ado, here are your Engage Unsung Heroes of 2021.

“Evelyn is the first on the premises every night to have the heating on for the other volunteers and customers. She is like a mother hen to all staff and customers. If she takes a night off, our customers are wondering where she is as they enjoy her chat and her wit. She looks after the premises, checking the kitchen, toilets, etc. to make sure all is as it should be. She keeps staff calm if a problem arises and helps them to overcome them. Evelyn is the Credit Union. She was there when it began and continues to serve our community as best as she can.”

-Betty Biggar 

“Paul was a founder member of the Credit Union in 1992. He was in his twenties when this began from a small church hall in Sydenham, London. Since then, he has been the treasurer and the IT person carrying out all those difficult tasks to keep the overheads lower. The Credit Union has grown to be one of the biggest community Credit Unions in the UK thanks to Paul’s efforts, working all hours including weekends and evenings, almost daily. Not only does he help this Credit Union, but he also helps several other credit unions in the South East area as the ABCUL forum secretary for the region. I cannot think of anyone more deserving than Paul.”

-Ravi Ravindran 

“Jessica started as a volunteer and has always been a Credit Union advocate. When she is out at events promoting the Credit Union to new members at our Select Partner events, she has the biggest smile and creates a lot of buzz around the great work of Credit Unions. She cares about the members that she serves. E.g. when chatting to a member on the phone who described being abused by her boyfriend, Jess took the time to make sure she was safe and contacted the police to follow up on the situation.

“She only works three days a week but makes sure she is available to members and Select Partners five days a week! She is always supporting colleagues: baking cakes to bring into the office often, making everyone feel special on their birthday, and always supporting a colleague when they are having a bad day. She never hesitates to offer help to colleagues working overtime during busy periods and coming in on her days off.

“All in all, Jess is an outstanding example of our ethos: People Helping People. Whatever she is asked for she will commit to 100% and she’s an invaluable asset to our community.”

-Charline de Dorlodot

“During the height of the Covid pandemic, Gareth offered to facilitate outreach to members who were elderly, isolating, or just too terrified to leave their homes. Gareth ensured these vulnerable people had access to all of our Credit Union services, he visited people in their homes and delivered withdrawals of cash, issued loans, and was a welcome sight to our members stranded at home.”

–  Ruth Clarke 

“Sandy has worked in our Member Services Team for 6 years. She is the first voice our members hear when they call. There’s a saying, ‘what does a smile sound like’, if you phone Sandy you know exactly what that sounds like. She is just such a lovely person, kind, patient, and caring, she wants to help every customer. Last week one of our members wrote in to thank Leeds Credit Union for the way we support her, an elderly lady who was full of praise for our colleagues, however, for Sandy she was just overwhelmed, she said Sandy always made her feel welcome and was exceptionally kind, making her feel wanted and respected.

“She is brilliant with elderly customers, customers with substance abuse, mental health issues, language issues, she can look after them all and still be smiling at the end of the day. She takes 80 to 100 calls a day, her work ethic and positivity are commendable. She is a complete one-off, she sits at the Welcome Desk at our Head Office and greets every colleague and visitor with a big smile and makes them feel so welcome. There are 50 of us in the credit union, I see lovely examples of kindness, respect, and good service every day, however, with Sandy I see it in absolutely everything she does, for members, for colleagues, and for visitors. She is a credit to the Credit Union sector and I feel very lucky to have her, and this opportunity to nominate her.”

-Kevin Mowles

“Maria has been a volunteer since 1997, 10 years ago the Credit Union began a Non-Referral Foodbank. Since then we have added a baby bank and a clothing bank. Although it is not a one-man band, Maria is the cornerstone to it all, she organizes all the donations we receive from our members and non-members, sorting clothes into age groups, assembling food parcels, and managing our social media channels (Caring and Sharing Glasgow). Everyone is aware of the greater demand on Foodbanks, we need more people with the energy and determination of Maria to help as many in the community as possible. Maria has her own work to do in the mornings from 6 am to 10 am, after that she is straight to the Credit Union to start the daily process of Foodbank work, sometimes until 6 pm. Maria takes the phrase ” it is better to give than to receive ” to extremes, she is more than worthy to receive some recognition for the work she does.”

-John McGarrell 

“Karly is extremely professional with a strong and confident smile, an upstanding caring character. Always puts her customers’ needs first with passion and dedication. She leads a team of talented outstanding individuals who follow her examples with pride and loyalty.”

-Chris Sessford

Congratulations to all of our Unsung Heroes and thank you for all of your efforts in helping your local communities , you will be receiving your prizes over the coming weeks. We hope you enjoy them.

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