Volunteers and company bosses who come to the aid of charities, community groups and people in need of a helping hand have been applauded for their efforts at the 2017 Leicestershire Cares Awards.

There was a double celebration for Walker & Son, the Samworth Brothers’ pie factory at Beaumont Leys.

Walker & Son was named Company of the Year, winning the Nicholas Corah Memorial Cup, with the firm’s personnel manager Brendan Russell winning Volunteer of the Year.

He won for his outstanding contribution to the WIRE Project, giving people hope through life-changing opportunities.

Brendan said: “I was both humbled and honoured to collect the Company of the Year award on behalf of Walker & Son.

“A core value of Samworth Brothers is to support our local communities and we are happy to be recognised by Leicestershire Cares for the work we do.”

Team of the Year went to Topps Tiles for its team challenge which saw volunteers from its property department, led by Joanne Harris, paint, make, build and tile areas of Redgate Animal Sanctuary, in Markfield, leaving the charity with a more practical animal feeding area and kitchen.

Read more: Topps Tiles on acquisition trail despite fall in sales

Placement Provider of the Year was won by Pochin, the plumbing and heating supplier and retailer of bathrooms and AGA cookers.

Pochin has been supporting both the WIRE and Homelessness projects for more than four years, seeing 42 completed work placements and supporting many of those people into jobs and employing two of them in the business.

Glynn Barrington, financial director at Pochin, said: “It was nice to be rewarded by Leicestershire Cares to acknowledge our long-standing relationship and continued work to provide placements within our business.”

Read more: Pochin wins national award

The ProHelp award, for companies who support community groups with pro-bono help, was won by Sandstar Communications, a PR and marketing agency based in Leicester.

Sandstar supported Harborough’s Arts Fresco and the ProHelp Advice Surgery, where community and not-for-profit groups access free, face-to-face advice.

Sandstar director Simon Gribbon said: “ProHelp is a tremendous programme and really helps community organisations by providing pro bono support from highly-skilled professional services businesses.

“We’re delighted to have been recognised with this award and look forward to continuing our involvement with ProHelp and Leicestershire Cares.”

The Kelvin Irons Memorial Award for Outstanding Partnership went to Blaby District Council for its support of the Team Challenge programme.

The council has provided Leicestershire Cares with a range of diverse Team Challenge options at sites such as Fosse Meadows Nature Reserve and A Place to Grow.

Mark Foote, strategic manager for people, performance and assets at Blaby District Council, said: “We are so proud to receive this award, and we are hugely grateful to Leicestershire Cares and local businesses for support given through the volunteering projects.”

Kieran Breen, chief executive of Leicestershire Cares, said: “Congratulations to the winners, nominees and all the volunteers from our member companies.

“They achieve so much and, with tough times ahead, now more than ever Leicestershire Cares is needed to give a helping hand up to people and communities in need.

“It is absolutely vital that organisations such as Leicestershire Cares survive and thrive so we can all give as much support as possible.

“Together we can make Leicestershire a better place.

Celebration Event

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