Awards seek to recognise those who help others

Nominations are being sought to recognise the efforts of people in Nottingham who strive to improve the health and wellbeing of others.

The Michael Varnam Awards 2016 will particularly champion those who work tirelessly in the city’s more disadvantaged communities.

They take their name from former Sneinton GP Dr Michael Varnam who dedicated 35 years to helping people in Nottingham, particularly residents and families in deprived areas. He died in 2006, aged 61.

The awards are organised jointly by Nottingham City Council, Nottingham City Health and Wellbeing Board, NHS Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), One Nottingham and the Youth Parliament.

Councillor Alex Norris, Portfolio Holder for Adults and Health at Nottingham City Council and Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “We know that there are a lot of fantastic people out there in Nottingham who, often quietly and without fuss, make a huge difference to the lives of others.

“Michael Varnam was a shining example of someone who dedicated more than three decades of his life to helping people and families from areas of the city which face the biggest challenges.

“If you know of a person, or group of people, who embodies this kind of selfless commitment, we’d like to hear from you.”

The awards will have two categories – individual and group – and nominations open today (Monday 25 July). Entries can be submitted until Friday 16 September.

The two winners and runners-up will be decided by a judging panel consisting of representatives from the CCG, Health and Wellbeing Board, One Nottingham and Youth Parliament, plus the city’s Director of Public Health, Alison Challenger.

Alison Challenger said: “Michael Varnam was extremely respected and admired within Nottingham’s healthcare community, not least for the work he did to improve the health and wellbeing of so many vulnerable people.

“We’re now looking to recognise the efforts and dedication of others like him, who give up so much of their time to make other people’s lives better. In keeping with Michael’s own focus, this could be the care of those with substance misuse problems, but can be any field where help, care and support are offered.”

The awards were last held in 2014 and the winners then were The GREAT Project, which is run by Nottinghamshire Domestic Violence Forum. This scheme in primary schools raises children’s awareness of domestic violence, improves understanding and commitment to healthy relationships, and increases access to support services.

It also increases teachers’ knowledge of the subject and supports children affected by domestic violence.

Dr Hugh Porter, Chair and Clinical Lead at NHS Nottingham City CCG, said: “Michael was an inspirational doctor and incredibly well-liked by colleagues and patients alike. He made a real difference to so many local people.

“His legacy of compassion and a ‘hands-on’ approach is continued through so many people across our city. These awards are about making sure that they feel encouraged by members of the local health and care community and are rewarded for the contribution they are making to a healthier Nottingham.”

People can nominate themselves, an individual or group within health, social care, voluntary, community or business sectors for a special contribution over the past year. Forms can be filled out online at http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/consultation

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