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Points of Light: October 2015 winners

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 October 2015 (the numbering continues from September’s winners):

353. Emma Ridings (Manchester)

Violence is the third leading cause of mortality in young people in Europe, and many deaths happen because those at the scene don’t know what to do. Emma, a medical student, got involved with StreetDoctors in 2013. The charity brings together a network of medical student volunteers to teach first aid to young people at greatest risk of violence. Emma runs regular sessions to teach young people in the Manchester area, volunteering up to 20 hours each week.

354. David Roberts (Smalfield, Surrey)

David, a retired firefighter, has supported the Fire Fighters Charity for 46 years and was one of the pioneers of the innovative ‘Shop in a Box’ concept. This involves buying fire service-related merchandise wholesale and sending boxes out to stations to sell at open days and other community events. So far he has raised £325,000 to support people in the fire and rescue service community.

355. Veronica Kumeta (Birmingham)

Veronica founded Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer with Sue Macmaster in 2000 to help their friend Carol Knaggs who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly, Carol and Sue both died due to cancer, but Veronica has worked tirelessly over the last 15 years with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. So far the charity has raised over £1 million to help fund new medical equipment for their cancer unit.

356 & 357: Hannah and Stephen Potts (Leeds)

Hannah and Stephen previously ran a small animal boarding business. They were contacted by so many people asking them to take their unwanted pets, and were so upset by the number of abandonments, that they decided to turn their business into an animal charity. The charity takes in small animals, mainly rabbits, rehoming them where possible or providing sanctuary.

358 & 359: Jenny Halpern Prince and David Meller (London)

Jenny and David are co-chairs of Access Aspiration, a charity that provides work experience for young people. Jenny was inspired to found Access in 2012: having obtained valuable experience through family contacts, she wanted to help other young people who might not be so well connected. So far the charity has provided work experience for more than 800 students from state schools with high levels of free school meals.

360. Ed Guiness (Bedford)

Ed, an IT consultant and coder, understood the importance of an online presence and efficient IT systems – something that many charities struggle to finance. In 2012 he founded Social Coder, to link charities with volunteer IT consultants, software engineers and coders. Since then Social Coder has inspired over 700 volunteers to help on more than 50 projects in the UK and the developing world, completing more than £125,000 worth of work for free.

361. David Barrs (Ingatestone, Essex)

David, a head teacher, was inspired by the UN’s message of inclusivity and togetherness and has worked to promote this among young people for the last 30 years. As well as designing and distributing 80,000 educational kits so that teachers can teach their students about the UN through other subjects, he has also spoken at more than 50 schools around the country. David was awarded a UN Silver Medal for his contribution to the UN’s 50th anniversary celebrations with the UN Kits.

362. Meredith Leston (Oxford)

Meredith, also known as Merri, founded the initiative ‘Meeting of Minds’. This is designed to bring an academic spotlight to Mental Health to talk about the biological basis of mental health difficulties. Merri set up the initiative to host open conversation events about mental health, led by guest speakers both from professional and celebrity backgrounds who share their stories of their experiences. She also co-chairs the Oxford University society Mind your Head, which works to reduce the stigma around mental health issues.

363. Tim Prideaux (Surrey)

Tim wins the award for his involvement with the charity Revitalise, which provides respite breaks for disabled people and carers. A Trustee for over 20 years, Tim continues to be a Director of Revitalise Enterprises. As a result of the work the charity does, nearly 5,000 people received breaks last year, supported by 4,000 volunteers.

364. Jeremy Roebuck (Haddington)

Jeremy, a university lecturer from near Edinburgh, volunteered his expertise to help Grow Movement after reading an article about their pioneering work in 2014. The charity works with volunteer business consultants from around the world to improve skills and opportunities for entrepreneurs in Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi. Jeremy leads on volunteer expansion in Scotland – as well as recruiting over 100 new volunteers, he also secured £60,000 of funding from the Scottish government.

365 & 366: Greg and Jen Phillips (Plymouth)

In 2009, Jen and Greg suffered a terrible loss when their daughter Jasmine was stillborn at 32 weeks. They also found there was no suitable space in the hospital for them to process their loss, and struggled with being surrounded by newly born children. As a result they founded the Snowdrop Appeal to raise money for a specialist ward to help other grieving parents in similar positions. Thanks to the Appeal, 2 rooms were officially opened at Derriford Hospital’s delivery suite in April 2015 for any bereaved parents to mourn stillbirth, miscarriage and early baby loss.

367. Charlotte Bates (Kent)

Charlotte applied the knowledge she gained from her law degree at Cambridge University to set up the student network for Lawyers Without Borders. The network encourages students to do pro bono law work, supporting cases in the developing world, particularly in Liberia, Namibia and Kenya.

Read about all subsequent winners at the new Points of Light website.