An amazing 14-year-old from Beeston, Callum Fordham, who volunteers twice a week at a food kitchen for the homeless, has been nominated for the prestigious Coronation Champions Awards, being held to celebrate the Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort.
With the support of Her Majesty The Queen Consort, a passionate advocate of volunteering and President of Royal Voluntary Service, the Coronation Champions awards are set to recognise exceptional volunteers from across the country at this momentous point in history.
Callum has been volunteering for nearly two years and is now in the running to become one of a total of 500 volunteers, who will be selected as the nation’s Coronation Champions and invited to attend one of the official Coronation celebrations.
Gifting his time every Tuesday and Thursday evening, Callum helps out at a food kitchen for the homeless and vulnerable at Sneinton Market.
At the self-funded, volunteer-run kitchen, which goes by the name of Sharing The Love, Callum gets involved in lots of tasks.
This includes preparing the food, helping collect hot food donations, setting up the tables, serving customers and handing out clothing, shoes and sleeping bags. He also spends time with customers to make sure they feel safe and welcome.
Callum started volunteering with Sharing The Love whilst doing his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award, but after finishing, could not bring himself to stop, as he’d built up such strong connections and relationships.
As well as receiving an invite to one of the official events, such as the Windsor Castle Coronation Concert or a Coronation Garden Party, all 500 Champions, will also receive a specially designed, official Coronation Champions pin and a certificate signed by His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort.
Callum said: “I would feel honoured to become a Coronation Champion because although I don’t do it for recognition, it would give me a great sense of achievement and pride.”
“Homelessness and hunger are massive problems in today’s society and volunteers, like those from Sharing The Love, really make a difference.
“It’s not just about providing food and essentials, but also offering friendly, emotional support.
“Through volunteering, I have gained a range of skills, as well as benefitting emotionally and mentally from knowing that the time and effort I put in makes a huge difference to those we help.”
When launching the Coronation Champions Awards, Her Majesty The Queen Consort said:
“Up and down the country, millions of unsung heroes are contributing to their local communities, giving generously of their time and their talents to enhance the lives of others
“If you know a volunteer who is making a difference, please be sure to share their story. We would love to hear about them!”
The Coronation Champions Awards invite people in Nottingham and across the UK to nominate their local volunteering heroes who are going the extra mile. Nominations can be made across eight award categories; supporting older people; supporting young people and children; crisis and welfare; community; sports, culture, and heritage; health and care; sustainability and the environment; and animal welfare.
Furthermore, the awards aim to celebrate and inspire the next generation of volunteers. Nominations are open to people aged 14 and over, and judges will be on the lookout to recognise rising stars as ‘Young Coronation Champions’ (aged 14-18).
Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said:
“It has been a joy to see how many volunteers have been nominated in recognition for their incredible work so far.
“We’re going to have a real challenge on our hands when it comes to judging the entries, as every volunteer is already a star in my eyes.
“I know there are many more people out there with astounding stories to be told, and I want to encourage everyone who has the good fortune of knowing a dedicated volunteer, to step forward and nominate them for this once in a lifetime award, because they really deserve it.”
Nominations will be reviewed by an expert judging panel made up of volunteering specialists, charity leaders and academics. Nominees will be judged on their demonstrated impact, initiative, inspiration, and involvement in volunteering over the last five years.
Nominations for the Coronation Champions Awards will close at 23.59 on Sunday 2nd April. To nominate a volunteer for the Coronation Champions Awards, visit: www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/coronation-champions-awards