Over 70 volunteers who are part of a community charity that supports some of the district’s most vulnerable residents attended an awards ceremony to celebrate their service.

Epping Forest Voluntary Action (VAEF), a charity-funded volunteer group, held the event at St John’s Church in Epping on Tuesday, June 4.

The volunteers, who are known for making life-changing situations for residents across Epping Forest, were presented with awards from the head of each project respectively.

Projects included the Befriending Clubs, Benefits Advice, Digital Learners, Gardening and Handyman Services, Music Projects, Weight Management and management of the Volunteering Centre.

Speaking about the awards ceremony, Nick Robinson, digital learners co-ordinator at VAEF, said: “Volunteers are not paid because they are worthless but because they are priceless.”

Jacqui Foile, chief officer for VAEF, said “I never fail to be amazed at how many truly selfless people there are in the Epping Forest district.

“These VAEF volunteers have such a massive input into improving and enriching the lives of hundreds of isolated, elderly and vulnerable people and it was wonderful to see them recognised at the awards this week”.

The ceremony also coincided with National Volunteers Week (June 1-June 7) which recognises the country’s 22 million people who help out within their communities.

There were also awards for the Trustees of VAEF, as well as long-service awards who have dedicated their free time for five or more years to the charity.

Maggie Gilchrist, volunteer coordinator for VAEF, said: ““I am really pleased that the awards evening went so well and that VAEF volunteers and the Trustees were recognised for their huge contribution to our community.

“One of our volunteers said that she had not realised the incredible amount of work and different projects that VAEF had and how many volunteers there were.

“This was particularly pleasing to me as many volunteers don't often get a chance to see the impact they make.”