Islander receives national recognition with special volunteering award

8 February 2024

“She’s not a volunteer to us, she’s family!” – Islander receives national recognition with special volunteering award

 A volunteer who has worked with the families’ charity Home-Start IOW has received a national award in recognition of her dedication over 25 years.

Margaret Rylands has volunteered with Home-Start on the Island supporting families in their homes since 1999, has been a trustee for almost the same amount of time, as well as serving a term as Chair of the Board of Trustees.

She’s been described by parents and carers she’s helped as: “A lifeline, a part of the family, the mum I don’t have, the grandmother to my children that they haven’t got…”

Home-Start UK’s Volunteer Awards were held on Thursday 18th January to recognise and celebrate the amazing contributions of volunteers across the network.

There are more than 10,000 Home-Start volunteers and 1,000 Trustees who volunteer in communities all over the UK.

A group of around 30 Island volunteers, families and trustees gathered at Briddlesford Farm to watch the national ceremony broadcast online to Home-Start branches all around the country – and to see Margaret win the biggest award of them all!

Margaret will receive a cash prize from the Marsh Charitable Trust, who sponsored the event, as well as a trophy and certificate.

Speaking after the award ceremony Margaret Rylands says: ‘I was just amazed that I made the shortlist – and I don’t know what the word is now!

“I’ve really enjoyed all the years that I’ve been at Home-Start. I’ve often felt that I get at least as much out of it as the families, if not more.

“It’s lovely watching children grow up with the families I’ve stayed in touch with, I hope that somewhere along the line that I’ve made a difference.”

Speaking on the video shown at the award ceremony, Home-Start IOW Scheme Manager Alison Griffiths said: “Margaret is unassuming, very reliable, she’s incredibly thoughtful, she’s so kind – but she does it all in a very quiet way.

“She just cares really really deeply for Home-Start and she believes in everything that we do.”

Becky Dollery, a mum from one of the first families Margaret helped, says: “It’s quite emotional… It was really tough when the kids came home from hospital, being so premature, a lot of the time I was on my own with my husband working away during the week – so I really only had Margaret.

“Without her help I couldn’t have done those little things other people take for granted.”

Marie Cooper, another mum supported by Margaret 20 years ago says: “There’s not a thank you big enough – she’s not a volunteer to us, she’s family.”