Hope Centre hero wins top volunteer accolade

Halesowen News: Award winner: Camilla Phillips from the Hope Centre. Award winner: Camilla Phillips from the Hope Centre.

THE Hope Centre in Halesowen has won another accolade for the outstanding work its volunteers does to help local people.

Camilla Phillips, who helped save the Highfields estate centre when funding was cut in 2009, won the Community Action Award at this year’s Dudley Volunteer Awards.

Dudley Council for Voluntary Service's Eileen Fielding lavished praise on Camilla and her staff.

She said: "Following the closure of the project she was working on Camilla knew she had to keep the service going for the local community.

“This lead to her establishing the Hope Centre in Halesowen on a voluntary basis and despite numerous obstacles she now guides a team of dedicated volunteers.

“Camilla supports many people with a range of problems and issues, fighting injustice, poverty and loneliness on a daily basis.”

She added: “Volunteers like Camilla are truly inspirational and make a difference to people's lives. Camilla is well deserving of the 2013 Dudley Community Action Award."

Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris praised the work Camilla and her team do at the centre.

He said: “It is fantastic that Camilla has been recognised in this way for the amazing work that she has done, along with all the volunteers at the Hope Centre, to help people in need.

“I have worked with Camilla and Wendy ever since they were first looking at setting up a replacement for the old Lighthouse Project and am always blown away by their dedication, which is matched only by their compassion and warmth.

“This is a richly deserved award for one of the heroes of our local community and the incredible team that work alongside her.”

The awards ceremony at Brierley Hill Civic Hall was packed with more than 350 people last Thursday including chief superintendent Stuart Johnson from West Midlands Police, Dudley Council executive John Polychronakis and Dudley Council deputy leader Councillor Peter Lowe.

The Mayor of Dudley Councillor Alan Finch and Dudley CVS Chairman Mike Abrahams presented awards to volunteers.

The Healthy Communities award was presented to Robert Stokes, who runs a Self Management Programme in Cradley Heath. Robert helped 61 people to better manage their health and long term conditions.

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