Winners named in Michael Varnam Awards 2016

The winners 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.

The Michael Varnam Awards 2016 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.

At a presentation ceremony on Wednesday, Louise Detain was named the winner in the individual category while the group award went to the Nottinghamshire Deaf Wellbeing Action Group. They were presented with their accolades by Dr Margaret Abbott, who used to work with Dr Varnam, and the city’s Director of Public Health, Alison Challenger.

Louise 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.

Nottinghamshire Deaf Wellbeing Action Group provides practical help and campaigns for rights of the deaf community, as well as educating people in British Sign Language.

There were also two further individuals and groups who were highly commended. These were:

 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

 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

 Nature In Mind (pictured), who help vulnerable adults suffering with stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and poor physical health through nature-based activities

 Souprunners, which is a 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

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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