ASDC Announces winners of the Volunteer of the Year Award 2023
Published: 18 Oct 2023
We’re thrilled to announce the recipients of the Marsh Trust Volunteer of the Year Award 2023, following the award ceremony at the ASDC Conference in Belfast last month. This award, sponsored by the Marsh Trust, highlights the charitable status of our organisations and the need for support whether that be with time or through other forms of resource.
Running for the second year, the award recognises volunteers who have shown exceptional dedication, commitment, and outstanding service to science centres and museums around the UK, focusing on achievements in impact, inclusion and passion.
After receiving some truly inspiring nominations, the panel of judges came together to select a winner. But it wasn’t that easy! Judges do like a challenge and the entries for this award certainly did require some innovative thinking to ensure the nominees were recognised.
And now to announcing the winners!
The overall prize was awarded to Polly Hutchinson, who is a volunteer at the Natural History Museum in London where she’s been enthusing visitors since 2008. Completing a degree in Earth Sciences in her 50’s, she’s an incredible ambassador for the science. She actively researches in constant quests to discover things about specimens, making visitors’ experiences unforgettable.
Photo of Polly Hutchinson speaking at the ASDC Conference at W5 Science and Discovery Centre in Belfast (photo credit: Phil Magowen - BNL productions)
What happens when there’s more than one person whose passion for volunteering is outstanding, working so hard to create an impact with a real focus on inclusion? This year the awards panel created an award for a unique group of children called the Wonderseeker’s Young Steering Group. The panel noted that it was the children’s passion for science and nature and willingness to contribute their time and experience to support the Charity’s development that deserved recognition. From representing the voices of children in their communities, to testing out new exhibits and sharing ideas for new activities, the group have been instrumental in shaping the future of the Charity.
Shaaron Leverment, ASDC Chief Executive, who award the prize in person to the children at their Young Steering Group meeting said:
“It was a highlight of 2023 to come to present these brilliant young volunteers with their prizes. Meeting some of their families, hearing their stories and passion for science and nature was an utter privilege. These young advocates and activists are making a real difference, not just to Wonderseekers but beyond - and they’ve even created a brand-new national award for ASDC!”
The judges awarded highly commended to Sandy Forrest who volunteers for the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick. Sandy has given many hours of her time every week over the last two decades, including 16 years as Chair of the Volunteer Group.
The winners received a cash prize from Marsh Charitable Trust, who kindly sponsored the event, with certificates for all three recipients. ASDC members were invited to submit their nominations for this award, and the winners were carefully selected by the judging panel; Shaaron Leverment, Chief Executive, ASDC, Clare Harvey, Chief Executive, The Ogden Trust, Annie McCarthy, Trust Manager, Marsh Charitable Trust and Tamsin Russell, Workforce Development Lead, Museums Association.
Congratulations to all the volunteers who won the awards this year! ASDC and the judging panel hope this award continues to grow, recognising and celebrating the hard work and dedication of all the volunteers working in science centres and museums around the UK.
Header photo shows (from left to right) Sandie Fisher from the Scottish Seabird Centre who accepted the highly commended award on behalf of their volunteer Sandy Forrest, Monica Davey, friend of the Marsh Charitable Trust who presented the awards, Polly Hutchinson, Shaaron Leverment and Jo Hennessey who accepted the honorary award on behalf of the Wonderseekers Young Steering Group.