The gift of giving this Christmas

How about doing something different this Christmas? Rather than going down the traditional gifting route, have you thought about giving the gift of time or skills instead?

There are many organisations within North East Lincolnshire who simply would not survive if they didn’t have the support of their amazing volunteers… and that is why St Hugh’s Hospital is championing the Charity/Volunteer of the Year category in the Civic Awards 2023.

We are delighted to be supporting North East Lincolnshire Council’s Civic Office in staging the event, culminating in a glittering awards ceremony at Grimsby Town Hall in March. And while we’ve backed the initiative as a whole, we are also specifically cheering on the Charity/Volunteer of the Year category to really highlight our unsung heroes.

You can right now nominate someone or an organisation you think deserves recognition. They might have helped you, your family, a friend, or you might have helped them raise funds. We want to hear from you about why you think they should be honoured.

In the meantime, if you’ve been thinking about volunteering, or are feeling inspired, here’s how you can find out more about giving the best gift of all this Christmas – your time, or your skills, to a worthy cause. If you’re looking for volunteering opportunities in the borough, then the council’s Take Part NEL initiative could point you in the right direction.



“Volunteering is about doing something that benefits the local community and makes a difference to people’s lives,” said a council spokesperson. “If you want to contribute and make a real difference in our community then volunteering could be the way for you to do this. Not only will it benefit the people and organisations in our area, but you too could benefit by trying something different or learning a new skill.”

As a volunteer, you will:

Learn and teach new skills in a two-way process.
Enhance your CV and future job prospects.
Increase your social and relationship skills.
Improve your self-confidence.
Gain satisfaction through helping others.
Develop a sense of achievement and purpose.
Escape the day-to-day routine by adding some fun to your journey in life.

If that isn’t encouragement enough, perhaps the stories of these happy council-based volunteers will help you out.

Graham Walton, 66, is an archiving volunteer with North East Lincolnshire Council. “It is such as fantastic opportunity to be able to get up close to such historical items where are part of our local and national heritage,” he explained. “I get genuine satisfaction through helping catalogue all this history so that the community might benefit from it someday.

“Don’t be afraid to try volunteering. If you are looking for something more to do or a worthwhile activity, volunteering is a great way to do that. Plus, you get to meet like-minded, positive people.”

Climbing wall volunteer Sue Cracknell, 59, said: “Who would have thought someone of my age would be doing this role! It’s a great opportunity to mix with the community, learn a new skill and keep fit in the process. I have a real sense of pride in getting others to achieve something they would not normally do encouraging the child who stops after the first metre due to fear… seeing them touch the top and come down with a smile on their face is priceless.”

Sue used to climb in her teens and 20s but never thought she would get the opportunity again in her ‘mature’ years. Go for it you won’t regret it,” she added. “It’s a great way to make new friends, learn new things, have fun, and give something back to the community without any pressure. I am so pleased I did it.”


And eighteen-year-old Josh Bray is a digital volunteer. “I enjoy most the varied range of tasks I get to do and situations I have to deal with,” he said. “I am getting much more confident in dealing with people I don’t know. My advice to anyone thinking of volunteering is definitely do it! It feels great to fill your time doing something meaningful. Not only that, but I am alsomeeting new people, learning skills, and gaining confidence – and it looks really good on your CV.”


Watch a video about volunteering with the council here on YoutubeIf you want to get involved, email at


But before you go off and find a volunteering role that suits you, don’t forget to nominate in the Civic Awards 2023!

There are seven categories altogether:

• Mayor’s Community Impact Award (championed by the Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Councillor Stephen Beasant)

• Charity of the Year Award (Ashley Brown, St Hugh’s Hospital director)

• Environmental Impact Award (Jordan Brompton, myenergi)

• Sporting and Wellness Impact Award (Jason Stockwood, Grimsby Town FC)

• Business in the Community Award (Mark Webb, eFactor)

• Inspirational Young Person Award (Mark Blundell, Onside Youth Zone)

• Good Neighbour Award (Sam Delaney, Creative Start)

Find out more information at or skip straight to the nomination page here

Nominations close at 5pm on Tuesday, January 31, 2023. They will be passed to the Civic Awards Panel, who will meet in February 2023 to select the winner of each category. Winners will be invited to a special ceremony at Grimsby Town Hall on Friday, March 10, 2023, to celebrate their award.