Third Sector Awards 2014: Volunteer manager - Winner: Mark O'Sullivan, Age UK Isle of Wight

Awarded to the volunteer manager, or equivalent, who has made an outstanding contribution to levels and/or standards of volunteering

Mark O’Sullivan (far right) oversees more than 500 volunteers supporting about 550 older people
Mark O’Sullivan (far right) oversees more than 500 volunteers supporting about 550 older people

What does he do?

O’Sullivan manages Age UK Isle of Wight’s Good Neighbour Scheme, a befriending project that supports older residents on the island who have no one else to turn to for help.

How many volunteers does he manage?

When O’Sullivan began overseeing the scheme in May 2011, it had 84 volunteers and 120 clients. Now it has more than 500 volunteers supporting 550 older people, with about 15 new volunteers joining every month. Last year his team provided more than 40,000 hours of support.

What has he achieved?

As well as significantly boosting volunteer numbers, O’Sullivan moved the service forward by developing several specialist support projects. New services included volunteers providing extra support during the cold weather and after life-changing events such as a stroke. O’Sullivan also developed a
set of "community hubs" that were supported and managed by local volunteers. He finds the time to volunteer as a good neighbour himself, supporting an older lady in Cowes, and he spends two or three nights a week giving talks to the local community about issues that affect older people on the island.

What did the judges say?

Martin Edwards, chief executive of Julia’s Hospice, said: "Mark O’Sullivan has had a big impact by developing new ways of helping vulnerable people on the Isle of Wight and by increasing the number of volunteers who help."


Cath Dawson, Home Group
Nafisa Miraf, Touchstone
Nick Snow, Imperial College Union
Lisa Thipthorp, the RAF Association

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