News story

Points of Light: February 2015 winners

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Points of Light award recognises outstanding individuals - people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.

The following people were given a Points of Light award in February 2015 (the numbering continues from January’s winners):

212. Keely Hohmann (Telford)

National Citizen Service (NCS) graduate Keely created an art therapy group, HE4L, as part of her social action project. Since graduating she has raised £13,000 to expand the programme. HE4L is now set to run fortnightly sessions in a new base, and 1,000 people have engaged with the project so far.

213. Caroline Shearer (Essex)

Caroline set up an anti-weapons campaign after her son was fatally stabbed at the age of just 17. The Only Cowards Carry Weapons Awareness programme delivers workshops across Essex educating young people about the dangers of carrying knives and other weapons. So far the charity has given presentations to over 25,000 youngsters.

214. Marice Cumber (London)

Marice founded Accumul8, a social enterprise that employs homeless and vulnerable young people to make and sell “preserves with purpose”. The young people gain vital work experience, and profits from the sale of the jams and chutneys are invested in creative activities and training courses.

215. Holly Bantleman (London)

Holly founded an education, healthcare and sports charity in partnership with the Kenyan government, communities and local organisations. Holly’s first project involved fundraising for tin roofs – giving the charity its name, Raise the Roof. More recent projects have got young people involved in sport and provided free health clinics and HIV testing. Holly and her fundraising volunteers, Team 1000, are currently working with a community in Barut to set up a vocational training school.

216. Jodi Ann Bickley (Birmingham)

Jodi Ann has written more than 3,000 letters to people in need of comfort and friendship. After contracting a brain infection in 2011 and being diagnosed with ME, she could no longer work. Confined to her bedroom for much of the day, she set up the One Million Lovely Letters website offering to handwrite letters to others who were having a bad day or needed comfort or support. So far she has raised over £14,000 for the project through Kickstarter.

217. Fran Findlater (London)

In 2010 Fran created Bounce Back, a painting and decorating company that trains and employs ex-offenders. More than 400 people have been through the Bounce Back training programme and reoffending rates are dramatically lower than the national average. Bounce Back has attracted support from the Ministry of Justice, Comic Relief and Alliance Boots, among others.

218 and 219: Helen and Joel Blackman (North Devon)

Helen and Joel volunteer hundreds of hours to provide surfing sessions for young carers and young people who have gone through bereavement or extreme family breakdown . They lead the North Devon Wave Project, a community surf programme which runs 6 week courses of surf lessons and mentoring for 8 to 21-year-olds.

220. Ian Campbell (Belfast)

Ian was inspired during a holiday to the Philippines to found Ten Foundations, a charity that supports vulnerable and homeless children in the Philippines. Ian aims to build 10 orphanages in 8 years, providing homes for over 400 children. He has also created a thriving livelihood programme to help women in the community into sustainable employment and support their children.

221. Phil Morris (Wirral)

After former soldier Phil was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2003, he created the CheckEmLads campaign to raise awareness and offer support to others. The campaign has attracted almost 20,000 members on Phil’s Facebook support group and 11,000 followers on Twitter. A dedicated team of 25 volunteers, who have suffered from testicular cancer themselves, help the run the campaign.

222. Naomi Thomas (Somerset)

Naomi Thomas used her own experiences of battling breast cancer to set up the Wedding Wishing Well Foundation which organises and funds weddings for terminally ill people. After her own wedding was funded by well-wishers from businesses and generous individuals in her community, Naomi set up the foundation in 2012 to help make other people’s wedding dreams come true.

223. Mike Bright (Cardiff)

Mike helps people to “change the world in their pyjamas” through quick and easy volunteering opportunities on the ‘microvolunteering’ website Help from Home. The site lists more than 800 ways for participants to volunteer from their own home and in their own time. So far over 10,000 people have volunteered through the site. This year Mike is encouraging people to give up 2015 seconds to volunteering as part of his #Challenge2015 campaign.

224. Jaime Bautista (London)

Artist Jaime runs creative workshops in London’s leading galleries, supporting hundreds of homeless people to get back on their feet. SMart Network sessions are held in prestigious cultural institutions including Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The National Gallery and the British Museum. The workshops also promote social skills, enterprise and self-presentation, while finished artworks feature in a specially produced magazine.

225. Dr Nihara Krause (London)

Nihara is a clinical psychologist who has helped pioneer education workshops to tackle young people’s mental health issues. She has reached over 7,000 students, 2,000 teachers and 2,000 parents through sessions in south London schools. These sessions teach participants how to spot the early warning signs and provide self-help strategies to those experiencing mental health problems. Nihara has also created online resources for those seeking help.

226. Sara Sullivan (Hampshire)

Sara has led a knitting revolution to produce more than 35,000 hats for charity. She leads a team of 70 colleagues at Ageas, where she is an in-house lawyer, to knit thousands of tiny hats every year for the Big Knit. The hats decorate Innocent smoothie bottles and for every bottle sold, Innocent donates 25p to Age UK. Through their efforts, together with donations from Ageas, Sara’s group has raised over £10,000 for Age UK.

227. Cat Fletcher (Brighton)

Cat is one of the founders of Freegle, a free sharing network that allows people to reuse unwanted goods. Launched in 2009, it now has more than 1.9 million members in over 400 community groups across the UK. Cat now runs Freegle Brighton and has saved thousands of tonnes of useful but unwanted goods from landfill, donating them to charities, social enterprises and good causes in her area.

228. Chris Davies (Newport)

Chris is the Parkrun Welsh ambassador, organising free, weekly, 5-kilometre timed runs for thousands of people throughout Wales. Chris has secured funding from Sport Wales to ensure that parkruns are open to everyone, free, safe and easy to take part in. The events take place in parkland surroundings. Chris encourages people of every ability to take part – from those taking their first steps in running, to Olympians.

229. Yi Shao (Newcastle)

Yi Shao has volunteered for The UK Association for the Promotion of Chinese Education for 15 years, promoting Chinese culture and education to students across the UK. She has organised exchanges for thousands of students and teachers between the UK and China and coordinated 7 summer camps for British-Chinese students, 5 training programmes for Chinese Sunday school teachers and 2 school visits to China. Yi’s volunteering helps British-Chinese students stay in touch with their cultural roots and boosts the mutual friendship and cultural understanding between young British people and the British-Chinese community.

230. Jonjo Heuerman (Dartford)

13-year-old Jonjo was inspired by the death of his grandma to raise £196,000 for bowel cancer research. A lifelong West Ham fan, Jonjo is a ‘mini patron’ of the Bobby Moore Fund. He is currently undertaking an 800 mile cycle and walk from Newcastle to London via every premiership football club to raise funds.

231 and 232: Steve and Annette Hayward (Bristol)

Steve and Annette run the Aretians RFC’s Rugby Cubs club for young people in Bristol. Since taking on the management of the club the couple have grown its membership by a staggering 1470%, giving 2 to 12-year-olds of all abilities the opportunity to try the sport and make new friends.

233. Alan Toogood (London)

77-year-old Alan is the UK’s longest serving Samaritan. He has volunteered with the charity for over 50 years. During this time, he’s taken approximately 9,000 hours of calls from members of the public in need of a listening ear.

The next Points of Light award winners can be found on the March 2015 page. All of the winners can be found via the Points of Light collection page, which brings together all the monthly lists of winners.