Nominations revealed in Michael Varnam Awards 2016

The nominees have been named for an award designed to honour the efforts of people in Nottingham who strive to improve the health and wellbeing of others.

Three individuals and three groups have been invited to a special presentation ceremony next week where a winner will be announced in each category for The Michael Varnam Awards 2016.

The awards 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.

They 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.

The presentation ceremony will take place at Loxley House on Wednesday 26 October and the nominees are:

Individual award

 Bushra Naeem, who has volunteered since the age of 18 to help women who are socially isolated, raised money for charity and organised a food bank. She is also vice president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association in Nottingham
 Louise Detain, who is a foster carer and is heavily involved with a number of community projects including a children’s choir and a support group for people affected by domestic violence
 Maxi Leigh, who runs a charity called Support For Survivors which helps people affected by abuse. She also sits on the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission

Group award

 Nature In Mind – helps vulnerable adults suffering with stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and poor physical health through nature-based activities
 Nottinghamshire Deaf Wellbeing Action Group – provides practical help and campaigns for rights of the deaf community, and educates people in British Sign Language
 Souprunners – group of students at the University of Nottingham who give up their spare time to support homeless people, providing food, clothing, sleeping bags and general advice

Councillor Alex Norris, Portfolio Holder for Adults and Health at Nottingham City Council and Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “I’d like to congratulate those who have been nominated and look forward to meeting them next week.

“The Michael Varnam Awards are designed to acknowledge people out there in Nottingham who go above and beyond to make a huge difference to the lives of others. Very often this type of selfless person goes about their business quietly and without fuss, so we think it’s important to recognise the hugely positive impact they have and say thank you for everything they do.”

Alison Challenger, Director of Public Health at Nottingham City Council, 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.

“Since we opened the nominations for these awards in the summer, it has become clear that we are very lucky in Nottingham to have so many people in our communities who share his drive and commitment to support others.”

The awards were last held in 2014 and the winners then were The GREAT Project, which is run by Nottinghamshire Domestic Violence Forum. This is a scheme running in primary schools which aims to raise children’s awareness of domestic violence, improve understanding and commitment to healthy relationships, and improve 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.”

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