On the 19th November the Greater Manchester Archives and Local Studies Partnership held their volunteer awards evening at the lovely Ordsall Hall in Salford.

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Ordsall Hall 

As my part of my Transforming Archives traineeship it fell to me to plan the event and I really enjoyed making sure the evening went smoothly and most importantly of all that the volunteers had a brilliant evening.

There were four award categories on the night: outstanding contribution by a young volunteer, outstanding contribution by a team of volunteers, GM1914 special award and volunteer of the year. In the run up to the event I received lots of nominations from all over the Greater Manchester area and it was really interesting to read about all the great things that the volunteers have been doing. The nominations were then passed onto the judging panel who made the decision as to who would be winning the awards. Councillors Alistair Cox and Ann-Marie Humphreys were present to hand out the awards to the volunteers after very interesting opening remarks by Sheena Macfarlane.

The first award handed out on the night was the outstanding contribution by a young volunteer. In this category the judges decided that there were two worthy winners of the award James Fagan who volunteers at Archives+ and Laura Earnshaw who is a volunteer at Oldham. The judges said “we were impressed by both of the winner’s digital and research skills. They have made a big difference to the services they volunteer at and can help encourage other young people to volunteer in archives across Greater Manchester”.

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James and Laura receiving their awards from Councillors Alistair Cox and Ann-Marie Humphreys.

Next up was the Volunteer of the year award which was won by Sue Mitchell from Tameside. Unfortunately Sue was unable to attend the evening but we have made sure that she will receive her certificate and prize at a later date. The judges said “We were impressed by this volunteer’s long standing commitment to family history in her borough. The Family History Help Desk she manages makes a vital contribution in developing the digital skills of both residents and volunteers. She has also gone out to engage directly with communities on projects.”

It was then time for the outstanding contribution by a team of volunteers award. The judges had again decided that two of the nominees were worthy of being the winners. Firstly, Digital Salford which had impressed the judges by the way the volunteers on this project have gone beyond the cataloguing & digitisation to help engage with schools and local communities. The project has also led to employment opportunities for some volunteers. The outcome of over 10,000 digitised old photographs is also very impressive. Secondly, The LGBT Foundation about whom the Judges said they “were impressed by the contribution these volunteers have made to preserving and making accessible an important part of Greater Manchester’s history. They were also impressed by the amount of hours contributed and the hard work of the team.”

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Digital Salford Volunteers receiving their award

Last but certainly not least was the GM1914 Special Award which was won by Margaret Koppens who volunteers at Bolton Museum and Archive. The judges were impressed by the number of blogs produced by the winner, but also their contribution to their local community in terms of local history. As part of my role is to manage the GM1914 blog I would particularly like to thank Margaret for her amazing work for the blog and would encourage everyone to head over to GM1914 and read some of Margaret’s brilliant blogs such as this one- https://gm1914.wordpress.com2015/04/30/the-bolton-war-hospital-supply-depot-and-the-role-of-the-womens-relief-corps/ and of course all the other great volunteer blogs.

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Margaret Koppens with her GM1914 Special Award certificate

During the awards ceremony the Greater Manchester Archives and Local Studies Partnership were presented with the the Archive Volunteering Award for 2015 which is sponsored by the Archives and Records Association of the UK and Ireland (ARA) and sector partners to celebrate the contribution of volunteers within the archive sector and to promote good practice in volunteering by the President of the ARA Dr Alexandrina Buchanan.

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Dr Alexandrina Buchanan from the University of Liverpool presenting GM1914 with the Archive Volunteering Award

The judges were unanimous in their selection of GM1914, which has been running since 2013 and involves a collaborative effort across ten local authority archives, led by Greater Manchester Archives and Local Studies Partnership. The project has improved public access and engagement with archives in Greater Manchester and has maximised the potential for volunteers to develop life-long skills in the sector.

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GM1914 Volunteers accepting the Archive Volunteering Award

It was great for so many of the GM1914 volunteers to be there to accept the award and all of the volunteers who have so far contributed to the blog either through creating a post themselves or researching for a post can be very proud of what they have achieved. I would also like to thank the previous National Archives trainees Nicky Crewe and Becky Farmer who were heavily involved in creating and then maintaining the GM1914 blog over the last couple of years. I will aim to keep up to these high standards throughout my yearlong traineeship with the help of all of Greater Manchester’s brilliant volunteers.

The evening ended with a tour of Ordsall Hall which was very interesting and everyone really enjoyed it.

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The Great Chamber, Ordsall Hall

Sadly, I didn’t see the Ordsall Hall Ghost but apparently she saw me!

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