Our first Helpline Awards were spectacular!

Nicola James

If you read my blog before the Helpline Awards ceremony on 7 November 2014, you know it was full of excitement and eager anticipation as the day approached. Through the awards, we wanted to celebrate and show everyone how valuable helplines really are. We had an excellent response and I was delighted that you all played your part by nominating your organisations, teams and colleagues.

Organising the awards for the first time, you hope you have planned for every eventuality as there is no test run. Luckily, all our worries were unfounded. Following an exceptional conference, our delegates were ready for a change of pace; a party atmosphere, some bubbly and canapés and a front row seat.

Our announcer for the evening was David Searle (118118) and presenting the awards was our amazing keynote speaker, Derek Derenalagi (Injured Serviceman and Team GB Paralympian) together with our own Chief Executive, Theordore Spyrou.

We had managed to keep the results a secret which added to the excitement. One by one the judges’ results were read in reverse order. The winners took their place on the stage amidst cheers and applause and smiled for the camera as they were congratulated and presented with their award. It was really special to see everyone’s faces when their name or that of their helpline was announced.

It’s hard to capture the feeling of the evening in writing so please take five minutes to view the photos on our Facebook page or our Flickr album.

Our first prize winners were:

· Helpline Impact: YoungMinds Parents’ Helpline
· Best Innovative use of Technology: Unlock – For people with convictions
· Helpline Employee of the Year – Alison Milne (The  Pituitary Foundation)
· Helpline Volunteer of the Year – Brendan Mahon (Nightline Association)
· Helpline of the Year – The Lullaby Trust

Since our awards, we have enjoyed following you on Twitter and reading all your tweets and retweets. We have also enjoyed your press releases, some of which you got featured in the press. It was a fantastic event and we are looking forward to next years.

Please make sure you have made a note of the date of next year’s Annual Conference and Helpline Awards - 18 November 2015, at De Vere Conference Centre, London. We are really looking forward to seeing you there.

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