Last week saw the announcement and presentation of the 2014 YMCA Black Country staff awards. I was really proud to have two of the YMCA Open Door Team shortlisted for individual categories and to have the team shortlisted for Team of the Year.
We didn’t win Team of the Year, that deservedly went to the Walsall Housing Team who have worked so hard together to overcome some very challenging circumstances this year. Nevertheless, it was great to be shortlisted and receive a bit of recognition – the team work incredibly hard and with great ability and compassion to deliver a fantastic service that enables 50 young people to stay in safe accommodation each night.
Unfortunately, despite a tremendous record of recruiting Host families, fundraising and all round non-stop dedication, Rachael Taylor was only runner up in the Personal Achievement category. But again deserved recognition to be shortlisted nonetheless and it was difficult to argue with Wolverhampton Nursery Manager, Charlie, being announced as winner.
However, despite these slight disappointments the rock of our Wolverhampton Supported Lodgings provision, Stanley Ifamene, was crowned Inspirational Colleague of the Year. I was utterly delighted with this. Stanley really is one of the most inspirational and exemplary humans I have ever met. He works hard, cares with great attention and tenderness for the young people he is responsible for and, most importantly, he lives out every part and every moment of his life through his faith in Jesus. He encourages me every time I see him, inspires me to greater performance and approaches every situation with a desire to give honour to God. He is a true hero.
It was a great fun evening. The company was top quality and it was good to be reminded of the effective and wide reaching work that YMCA Black Country Group is responsible for. The positive impact and influence of the organisation seems to be growing and building on the firm foundations of past generations. The other award winners were James and Hashan who both work with great effort and enthusiasm in Aleksa’s nursery, and Tony who has worked persistently and tirelessly for years making sure the place doesn’t fall apart. The final award was a Lifetime Achievement award for Board Members Eric and Brenda Moore who have given about 60 and 40 years voluntary service respectively to the YMCA. That really was an inspiring and fitting end to the awards. Looking forward to next year!