A dedicated Sunderland volunteer has been honoured for his work help to improve the lives of thousands of people in the region.
Norman Hildrew, 81, from Barnes Park Road, Sunderland, is overjoyed after receiving a Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust Award (NTW.)
The award is presented to a volunteer, not directly employed by NTW, who makes a positive difference to a service, or to the lives of service users or carers.
Norman, picked up the award at a ceremony in Gateshead, which recognised his work as a carer governor with Working Age Adults until 2015 and his involvement with the PRIDE Project, which dealt with building Hopewood Park Hospital.
He said: “I was delighted to be chosen as the winner.
“There were 15 categories in the NTW Foundation Trust Awards and the majority of them were staff awards, but one of them was for volunteers.
“Six people were shortlisted for the award and I was one of them.”
Norman started volunteering in the late 80’s after being inspired to help carers from his own experiences as a carer for his son who has schizophrenia.
Through his work with Working Age Adults, Norman was involved with the development and update of the carer’s information packs, which provide valuable information for carers and were distributed around three years ago.
He said: “I was a carer myself for my son Neil, now 48, who became poorly when doing his A levels.
“His medication is wonderful and he now lives to an acceptable standard in his own flat, but for many traumatic years he wasn’t able to.
“My own experience sparked off my interest in volunteering, as I know the difficulties that my wife and I have gone through for years, so I wanted to try and help new carers who might have the same difficulties.”
The award also honoured his work in the PRIDE project as a carer representative, which was the team building the Hopewood Park in Ryhope, Sunderland, which opened in November 2014.
The Pride Project aimed to improve mental health and dementia care inpatient facilities for people living in Sunderland and South Tyneside through the development of the hospital. Norman added: “I was involved in the NTW Foundation campaign for the new hospital to get a better deal for new carers by assessing carers needs as they developed the hospital.
“I was involved for a number of years to get the hospital, as I felt that carers and people with mental health illnesses didn’t get the attention that they should get and believed the hospital would address this.”