UNISON South West has just held its annual Get Active weekend in Taunton, bringing together UNISON members from across the region to learn new skills and energise them for the coming year.
And the weekend also saw the region’s first awards night to recognise the achievements of the past year and, for some, a lifetime of work within the trade union movement.
UNISON assistant general secretary Roger McKenzie joined regional secretary Joanne Kaye in handing out the awards.
The winners were Corrine Allen-Britten for rep of the year, Jo Anna Speer for the equality award and Anita Curtis for the best campaign (bargaining or learning).
Peter Clark won the Bob Cotton award (health and safety) and two lifetime achievement awards were given to Pete Fryer and Glyn Fenner.
Other nominees who stood out for their incredible commitments throughout the last year included Geoff Hobbs, the regional LGBT Committee, Simon Needham – who was nominated in two categories – Emma Bushel, Wendy Kneebone, Jim Clawson and Jamie Fry.
Ms Kaye said: “It was a night of celebration when we could put all the hard work and the year ahead aside for a short time.
“It was a chance to show our appreciation for the hard work undertaken by our dedicated reps and it was a resounding success with tears, laughter, applause and singing echoing through the hall, as awards were handed out and acceptance speeches accompanied by a rousing performance from the Protest Workshop singers.
“Sometimes we need to take time out to simply say ‘thank you’ for all that hard work that is undertaken by our members on behalf of other members.
This over-arching theme of the weekend’s events focused on the future of the community, voluntary and private sector, and looked at the different medium available to them to help them organise and take the union forward in 2013.
Workshops included strategic organising, telecommunications, one to one conversations, online surveys, the equality act, apprenticeships, utilising social media, protest songs amongst others.