Mary Jordan crowned Volunteer of the Year at the Best of Wearside Awards

Gentoo Customer and Volunteer Mary Jordan was crowned ‘Volunteer of the Year’ at the Sunderland Echo’s annual ‘Best of Wearside’ Awards at the Stadium of Light on Thursday 19 November.

The Best of Wearside Awards reward those unsung heroes who do fantastic work in our communities.  As well as sponsoring the event, the Group nominated Mary because of her passion and commitment to helping others in her local community.  Mary contributes most of her time to projects in Sulgrave, Washington.

Mary joined Gentoo’s Washington Local Customer Panel a number of years ago, to help influence service improvements in her local area.  It was then when Mary started by attending the ‘Chat and Craft Group’ which was held weekly at the Sulgrave Centre. Mary soon became a regular and working with Jackie Pitt, Community Engagement Facilitator, she took over the running of the centre.  She now runs a number of events, including a Lunch Club that provides a free, hot, two-course meal to vulnerable residents who are socially isolated or financially vulnerable.

Jackie Pitt, Community Engagement Facilitator (Washington) said: “Mary is a pleasure to work with and always demonstrates a commendable level of commitment and dedication not only to Gentoo but the community. Mary is passionate about giving up her time to help provide activities that assist the more vulnerable residents in her community. Mary is a caring member of the community and the work she does will make a lasting impact.”

Michelle Meldrum, Managing Director, Gentoo Operations said: “The Best of Wearside is a great way to recognise and celebrate the achievements of those living and working in our local communities. It really does give you a sense of pride when you hear about the ways people have gone over and above to help others. A big well done to Mary and all of the other winners.”

Community Group ‘Schools Out Fun Club’ also excelled at the event with a highly commended honour in the Community Group of the Year category. Based in Pennywell, the group was formed to tackle the lack of family provision in the area. The group organise family activities during every school holiday, parties and themed events as well as fun days and family trips.