Polly Odbert, the volunteer shop manager at our Watford Charity Shop, has won the Chairman's Award for Volunteer of the Year at the Audentior Awards. The Audentior Awards are held annually by Elected Mayor, Dorothy Thornhill, and the Chairman of Watford Borough Council and are an opportunity for the Council to recognise and celebrate outstanding dedication shown by organisations and individuals in the town.
Polly has been volunteering for New Hope since 1992 (two years after we were founded) when we first opened a charity shop on Queens Road. She has been managing the shop since 2006 and works (for free!) five days a week regularly working 50 plus hours a week. The shop consistently generates a high level of unrestricted income to help fund New Hope’s work and is unique in Watford as it is run entirely by a team of volunteers.
As well as generating income for New Hope’s vital services, the shop is also a marvellous provision to Watford in its own right – and this is because of Polly. Many customers have been coming to the shop for years and are known and loved by Polly. Polly takes the time to sit and listen to those in need whether they are another volunteer, a customer or a New Hope service user. She cares for all regardless – from the rough sleeper who needs some clean clothes to the production buyers purchasing items for film and TV sets. She wants to help everybody who comes through the shop doors. Polly has served New Hope selflessly for over 23 years and has put her whole heart into her volunteering – she has never taken a penny and yet has given so much. Her generosity in time and effort rubs off on the other shop volunteers and makes the shop the happy place that it is. She is a true legend!
Well done, Polly!
Photo credit: © Simon Jacobs