2021 Volunteer Award winners

Get some inspiration and hear from 4 of last year’s Volunteer Awards winners.

Meet Alison...

Despite the uncertainties of 2021, Alison Williams played a huge part in keeping support groups running to help others in the Parkinson’s community.

On top of this, Alison is a research volunteer. From reviewing applications for research grants alongside scientific experts to making sure the research we fund makes the biggest possible difference. 

Alison says: 

“We can share our experiences of living day-to-day with Parkinson’s, without worrying our families and friends.” 

“My involvement in research helps me to understand more about Parkinson’s, and what I can do to live with it constructively. 2 things stood out last year – being part of a European-wide project to share cutting edge research with lay people and researchers, and raising funds by swimming in the North Sea in April!”

“Getting this award is the icing on the cake. Volunteering is such fun and I get to meet so many fascinating people, and learn so much. Doing all these things helps me as well as other people with Parkinson’s”

Say hello to Mark...

When Mark Bailey was told he had Parkinson’s he wanted to take something positive from it. He joined the South East Research Interest group, connecting people with Parkinson’s, research and healthcare professionals together. 

Mark is dedicated to getting people from the community involved with research, hosting regular meetings and events about research. 

As well as this, Mark has put together training on how to care for people with Parkinson’s for carers. He’s taken the training to the local care company he works for.

Mark says:

"When diagnosed, I wanted this diagnosis to become a positive, which made me decide to contact people and get others to understand the condition. It is so good to have the recognition that what I am doing is helping others. 

"To be nominated was a really proud moment but to win an award was really special and only made me want to increase my efforts."

Introducing David and Elaine...

David Blake, who has Parkinson’s, and Elaine Lyons, who cares for her partner who has Parkinson’s, are committed to raising awareness and increasing understanding of the condition.

Together with Queen's University Belfast, they created a podcast to help first year student nurses understand the needs of people with  Parkinson's before they go out on placements in hospitals and the community.

David, who’s a volunteer educator, and Elaine, a local development volunteer, both feature in the podcast. And their innovation and determination meant that coronavirus didn’t stop the essential task of educating student nurses about Parkinson's.