A HERIB volunteer has picked up a top award at the recent Viking FM Awards.
Dedicated trustee Robin Russell was presented with the award for Volunteer of the Year at a special dinner at Hull’s KC Stadium.
The award is given to those who care about the people and community around them and who are endlessly passionate about community projects and help out whenever they can – even when there’s nothing in it for them personally.
Robin was nominated for his work with the Beech Holme Tandem Club where he has been heavily involved in raising funds to purchase additional tandems to encourage more people to be involved as well as leading an annual one week holiday allowing visually impaired people to "get back something they've lost".
The club allows blind and partially sighted riders to ride behind sighted front riders to allow them to stay fit and healthy, achieve regular exercise and develop a social network; reducing feelings of isolation and associated feelings of loneliness and depression. On average approximately 20 blind and sighted riders cycle on a weekly basis along with their 20 riders.
The club meets every week, in all weathers and regularly ride routes of 15 - 20 miles. If the weather is too severe to ride the group still meet and go to the pub to ensure that the social aspect of the group is still maintained. Although the tandem club has been going for many years (approximately 58) when Robin joined the group was very small - 2 or 3 tandems and Robin has been instrumental in encouraging more front and back riders to get involved.
Robin has also been heavily involved in raising funds to purchase additional tandems to encourage more people to be involved. The group is run entirely on a voluntary basis and Robin also leads an annual one week holiday for the tandem group allowing visually impaired people to "get back something they've lost".
As a Trustee for the charity, Robin also regularly attends board meetings and is part of a team of people directing the charity and ensuring it is run in a professional and legal way and maintains its focus to improve and enrich the quality of life for local people with sight loss at all times.
Commenting on his award Robin said: “I was over the moon to be shortlisted let alone win the volunteer of the year award. You do these things because you want to do them and so it is nice to get that recognition.”
Congratulating Robin, Sandra Ackroyd, HERIB Chief Executive, said: "We nominated a number of volunteers for different awards and we were thrilled when Robin was shortlisted by the judging panel and delighted when he was given this accolade. Tandem cycling not only offers health benefit but the power to transform the lives of people living with visual impairment by addressing issues of social isolation and mental wellbeing. Without people like Robin and his colleagues at the tandem club, whose passion for cycling is truly inspiring, this opportunity would not be possible."