A Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service volunteer and a project which gives carers much-needed breaks have been shortlisted for prestigious awards.

Manager Roy Aldwin is in the running for the Guardian's Public Servant of the Year award. Hertfordshire County Council Breakaway for Carers has also been shortlisted for a Guardian Public Service Carers, Families and Communities Award.

"I thought it was a wind-up when the reporter from The Guardian rang me," said Roy, 47, who has two daughters, Jessica, 20, and Fiona, 15, and lives with wife Alison in Kings Langley.

"But I was absolutely delighted. I know they get a lot of nominations, so to even be shortlisted is a real honour. It's a real privilege to work in the fire service and to get this acknowledgement − even if I don't win − is fantastic."

Roy started work for Hertfordshire Constabulary as a special constable at 19 and became their crime reduction manager in 2000. He has been on secondment to Herts Fire and Rescue since 2007, looking after the fire safety community volunteer scheme.

The scheme was set up in 2008 and currently has 90 volunteers working across Hertfordshire. The volunteers support firefighters with community safety engagement work and give out fire safety advice to make as many people as possible safe from fire related injuries.

"I love working with the volunteers," added Roy. "They all show great commitment to their communities and they really are helping cut the number of preventable deaths and injuries."

Away from the fire service Roy is busy as a school governor at Bedmond Village Primary School, Abbots Langley, and working part-time at a community safety project in Hemel Hempstead, and as crime manager at social enterprise Dacorum Business Against Crime.

Richard Thake, Executive Member for Community Safety, said: "I am thrilled that Roy's hard work and dedication have been recognised and that he had been shortlisted for this gold standard award. We know Roy's devotion brings out the best in all our volunteers."

Breakaway has been nominated for introducing Slivers-of-Time technology to improve its service, which enables relatives and friends looking after dependent adults to have a break by arranging for someone else to take over for a few hours in the person's home.

Slivers-of-Time is a social enterprise which has developed a web-based booking system which allows carers to see who is available to provide cover for them when they need it and make a booking at the click of a mouse. An automatic text message goes to the volunteer, who confirms the booking by text.

Colette Wyatt-Lowe, Executive Member for Health and Adult Care, said: "I am proud that Hertfordshire's work is leading the field nationally in this area and hopefully we will inspire other organisations to follow us in making it easier for people to volunteer their time to support others."

While the Breakaway nomination for Public Services award is decided by a judging panel, the Public Servant of the Year award is decided by Guardian readers and website users through an eballot on: www.guardian.co.uk/publicservicesawards 

The awards ceremony will be held at London's Intercontinental Hotel in Park Lane on Tuesday 22nd November 2011.

For more information on Breakaway for Carers email: breakaway@hertscc.gov.uk  


Photo: Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service volunteer manager Roy Aldwin


Posted October 18th, 2011 at 0955 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: andrew.lynch@pavpub.com