HARD work and dedication to the community were celebrated last Friday as volunteers picked up awards for their efforts.

The Slough Voluntary Sector Awards 2017 saw over 200 guests flock to the Heathrow Windsor Marriott Hotel in Langley.

Touching stories at the Slough Voluntary and Community Sector (Slough SCS) event included that of 17-year-old Denesh Pawar who picked up Young volunteer of the year for helping children in care. Denesh, who is in foster care himself, has chaired the Reach Out Group for children looked after by Slough Children’s Services Trust for some years. His citation said: “He chooses to move forward to help others in care to improve the experience.”

Denesh said: “I think my story has been important, what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.”

Group of the year went to the Wexham Park Hospital Volunteers, which has 88 people taking on a range of roles from patient companions to mealtime assistants.

Voluntary services administrator, Elisha Rajput, 26, said: “There are so many volunteers and without them we wouldn’t be able to pull it together.”

Mohammed Raza, 73, who was at the event, organises the hospital’s book stall while Tia Boland, 19, works in the children’s ward.

Volunteer of the year went to John Goudie, 66, of Slough’s Night Shelter. It runs to help the homeless and the citation said Mr Goudie was ‘not only offering time, support, empathy and compassion... he is getting people housed, in employment.” Jean Sinclair, 72, was highly commended for having been a long-term trustee and chair of domestic violence charity, Dash. Asa Marshal, 29, was also highly commended for running her own charity ASA (achieving strong aims) and helping her mother’s Meet and Mingle charity, despite being in a wheelchair.

Slough Borough Council’s mental health service won the SCVS Parnership award. It was voted for by Slough CVS staff and the service was applauded for changes it had implemented to ensure residents were better served.

Debenhams, based in the Queensmere Observatory, took the Business support of the year award for supporting carers.