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Volunteering champion

333. Colin Stodel

Helping over 100 people find volunteering opportunities with the Jewish Volunteering Network across London delivering meals, putting on pantomimes, making food parcels and fundraising has been named a Point of Light by Prime Minister David Cameron.

When Colin retired from his role as an IT professional in May 2012 he was keen to support causes he believed in. He became involved in the London Olympics, where he helped at the Paralympics, and this fuelled his passion for helping others.

He started volunteering with the Jewish Volunteering Network himself and discovered a passion for helping others to find a role that helps them to give back to the community. Through weekly open-door sessions Colin has used hundreds of hours of his own volunteering to generate thousands of hours of help for the Network. In his sessions he encourages people to think about which issues have impacted on those close to them in the past, to help find a cause they are passionate about giving something back to.

Colin has helped people volunteer with a wide variety of causes, from fundraising to hands on welfare projects. He is particularly interested in supporting people with disabilities to volunteer and finding opportunities that enhance people’s lives. He recently advised an accountant thinking about retiring who was unsure how to fill his time. He had many skills and abilities to offer charities and Colin advised him on a great opportunity helping a children’s charity. The businessman recently retired, comfortable with his new life of volunteering.

As well as in finding the right volunteers for others Colin is active in the community himself. He volunteers at the Association of Jewish Refugees, helping refugees of all religions and ethnicities at their homes and in community centres with basic computer skills and provides assistance to patients and relatives at Watford General Hospital’s Acute Admission Unit.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Colin has not just given hundreds of hours of his own time to supporting causes he believes in.  By helping other people to find volunteering opportunities they are passionate about he has delivered thousands of hours of volunteering to a huge range of causes.  From making food parcels to using professional skills for charities, Colin has helped around 100 people give something back to their community and I am delighted to recognise his service with the UK’s 333rd Points of Light award.”

Colin said of being awarded a Point of Light:

Volunteers have amazing skills but don’t realise how useful they are to charities. The JVN and all the charities in our network couldn’t do any of their work without them and I would encourage everyone to think about ways they can give something back.”

Watford MP Richard Harrington said:

“This award is a thoroughly deserved accolade for Colin, and I am delighted that his contribution has been recognised by the Prime Minister. We are incredibly fortunate to have people that go the extra mile for our local community, and dedicate so much of their own time to helping others. I am sure I am speaking for everyone in Watford when I say how proud we are, and thankful for everything Colin has done – and will continue to do.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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