Awards and recognition

Local Volunteer Awards 2021 - Categories, winners and runner ups

Our local volunteer awards was a completely virtual affair which took place during Volunteers Week. The only thing which remained the same was our incredible volunteers - both winners and runner ups - who we recognised for their ongoing dedication, commitment and support of Guide Dogs.

We received an amazing 616 online nominations, and a further 100 ‘Pat on the back’ nominations based on our new ‘PEOPLE’ behaviours. We would like to say a big thank you to everyone that nominated a volunteer to receive one of these awards. And of course, an even bigger thank you to each and every Guide Dogs volunteer.  

We're now delighted to announce all of our winners and runners up for 2021 

 National Volunteer Awards 2021 - Results

Congratulations to all! 


Winner: Sallyann Short - Newcastle

First runner up: My Sighted Guide Lead Volunteer Team - Nottingham

Second runner up: Mike & Anne Clifford - Cardiff


Winner: Emma Free & Simon Daws - Suffolk GD Forum - Peterborough

First runner up: BBH Whelping - National Centre

Second runner up: James Hodgkins - Welwyn


Winner: Helen McCann - Bristol/Exeter

First runner up: Sarah Bailey - Maidstone

Second runner up: Stephen Norris - Northern Ireland


Winner: Robert Blackwood - Glasgow

First runner up: Sian Healy - Cardiff

Second runner up: Carolyn Farler - Bristol/Exeter


Winner: Bryan Garnham - Peterborough

First runner up: Kate Bosley - Maidstone

Second runner up: Jane and Steve Ekins - Midlands Reg Centre

Third runner up: Brenda Weaver - Welwyn


Winner: Heather Gelder - Midland Reg Centre

First runner up: Amber Valley Group -Nottingham

Second runner up: Cath and Paul Mercer - London

People's Choice Winner

Winner: Helen McCann - Bristol/Exeter

Pat on the Back recognition scheme

Guide Dogs’ vision is of a society in which people with sight loss enjoy the same freedom of movement as everyone else. At Guide Dogs we really value the contribution and commitment of all our volunteers and staff, working together to ensure that our vision is achieved.

The Pat on the Back recognition scheme is designed to recognise outstanding achievements of individuals or teams volunteering or working for Guide Dogs which contribute towards our overall mission and demonstrate our behaviours:

  • Person-centred
  • Expert
  • Optimistic
  • Partner
  • Lead-by-example
  • Engage

What is a Pat on the Back?

Pat on the Back is a scheme whereby volunteers and staff members can be nominated for carrying out something over and above their usual activities or duties in line with our values and contributing to our overall purpose. It can be a one off activity or something that has taken place over a period of time.

Anyone can nominate a staff member or volunteer including Guide Dogs’ volunteers, staff members, clients and members of the public. Where someone doesn’t have access to the internet, a staff member may need to assist them with their nomination.

What will happen once I have submitted my nomination?

Once we have received your nomination form the person you have nominated will receive a thank you letter containing your message from the nomination form along with a Pat on the Back pin badge. We will include your name in the letter so the person knows who made the nomination.

There is no limit on how many times you can put someone forward for a Pat on the Back, but please think carefully about your reasons before submitting the individual’s details more than once.

Volunteers nominated will also be considered for a local or national volunteering award or the annual People Awards.

There is no closing date for Pat on the Back; it's a rolling programme, so it is timely and you can show your appreciation all year round!

Pat on the Back nomination form

Nomination forms must be typed and submitted to

Get in touch

If you need any help completing the nomination form, please call the volunteering office

0345 143 0191