We are delighted that the Good Shepherd’s Admin/Finance Manager Helen Holloway has received Wolves’ Rachael Heyhoe Flint award for services to the community.
In a surprise gathering at Molineux, Helen received the award given in memory of the former Wolves vice-president and cricketing pioneer.
Helen first started volunteering at the Good Shepherd in 2011, initially within the food service but then providing book-keeping and bid-writing support in addition to the ‘day job’, working for Underhill’s Solicitors, also on Waterloo Road.
In 2015, it looked like the Good Shepherd was going to lose its funding and so Helen, literally overnight, decided to give up her job and concentrate solely on submitting applications to help secure the charity’s future.
It worked, and from the start of 2016 Helen was taken on full-time, since when she has been one of the key driving forces behind the charity which provides food and support services to those in need across Wolverhampton.
Chairman of the board of trustees, Nigel Tinsley, has seen at first-hand how Helen’s organisational skills, commitment to value for money and personality has helped the Good Shepherd develop over the last decade.
“Helen joined us as a volunteer at a time when we were struggling to meet the demands on our service,” says Nigel.
“Without her exceptional organisational skills, boundless energy and devotion to the project, we would not have been able to meet the needs of our service users, and it is thanks to her that we had the foundations in place to become the organisation that we are today.”
The Good Shepherd’s head of operations Tom Hayden has worked closely with Helen since arriving at the charity back in 2018.
“Helen is truly one of a kind and her passion, enthusiasm and sheer dedication to supporting the people of Wolverhampton is inspirational,” says Tom.
“She started with the Good Shepherd as a volunteer and over the years has done everything from fundraising, finance, and admin, to cooking the Christmas dinner!
“Helen has been instrumental in the growth of the Good Shepherd and we are only able to support so many people in the city because of the hard work she has put in to sustain and grow the charity.
“Helen is passionate about making sure no one has to go hungry and the network she has built up with food partners to redistribute food waste is something truly special.
“It’s been an honour to work alongside her for the last three years and I’m so happy her work for the people of Wolverhampton has been recognised.”
There have been strong links between the Good Shepherd and Wolves over many years with the club and Foundation working closely with the charity including regular player visits.
The Good Shepherd are also one of the charities working with the Foundation on the Feed Our Pack project launched in January to help alleviate food poverty within the city.
They also benefitted from the first ever Molineux Sleepout in 2019, followed by the virtual sleepout last year, and potentially again from the return of the event in November providing restrictions allow.
“From our long association with the Good Shepherd, we have always been huge supporters of their vital work improving the lives of homeless and vulnerable people from Wolverhampton,” says Will Clowes, head of Wolves Foundation.
“Many of us at the Foundation have met and got to know Helen over that time, and have experienced just how important her influence has been at the charity over so many years.
“She is the sort of personality who Rachael used to love – creative, dedicated, passionate about helping people and never shy to lead from the front.
“That is why Helen is such a fitting recipient of this year’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint award, which we are delighted to present to her on behalf of all at Wolves.”
Baroness Heyhoe Flint was a pioneer both on and off the sporting arena, captain of England women’s cricket team from 1966 to 1978, including winning the first Women’ World Cup in 1973.
Amongst many accolades, she was awarded an MBE in 2008, was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2010, became a peer in the House of Lords the same year and was awarded the Freedom of Wolverhampton in 2011.
Originally a director at Wolves, she later became a vice-president before passing away at the age of 77 in January, 2017.
It was then that Wolves created the award in her honour to mark outstanding contributions to the local community.
Helen, who received the award from the Foundation’s Senior Manager Lee Smith, was certainly taken by surprise when a video put together revealed she was receiving the award.
“To say I was shocked is an understatement,” she said.
“I am so honoured and humbled by this when I see so many others in our community who go above and beyond.
“I have always loved the work I do, I am inspired daily by the team around me and feel so blessed with my life. I don’t do it for recognition, I do it to help everyone at Good Shepherd make small differences daily to people lives.”
Congratulations to Helen on such a deserved honour from everyone at the Good Shepherd.