Oldham volunteer gets prestigious award after over 60 years helping good causes

Barbara Heywood has been given a Platinum Champions award by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) for her volunteering excellence.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 1st July 2022

A volunteer from Oldham who has given her time and skills to good causes for more than 60 years has received a prestigious award.

Barbara Heywood has been given a Platinum Champions award by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) for her volunteering excellence after she started lending a hand at homeless charity Emmaus back in 2011, and has been offering her services each week within the charity’s social enterprise and community since then.

Barbara has mostly given her time to Emmaus Mossley in Ashton-under-Lyne.

Emmaus Mossley is just one local branch of the charity across Greater Manchester, and it supports 26 formerly-homeless people by providing them with a home, work, companionship, and individual support.

Barbara was awarded her RVS Platinum Champions award as par of an official Jubilee project to celebrate outstanding volunteers across the country who are making a difference every day.


Thousands of people from all over the UK who volunteer for a range of causes were nominated for the RVS Platinum Champions award, and from these nominations, 490 volunteers were hand-picked by a judging panel presided over by The Duchess of Cornwall – one of which was Barbara.

Read more: Street homelessness figures in Greater Manchester reduced by over 50%


“This award was a lovely surprise and really, I receive it on behalf of all the dedicated volunteers who see a job and get it done,” Barbara said.

Barbara has volunteered her time at Emmaus Mossley in Ashton-under-Lyne since 2011 / Credit: Emmaus Mossley

“I don’t think I’m exceptional and know a lot of other people who do amazing work for good causes. I get as much from volunteering at Emmaus than I give, if not more.

“It’s my happy place.”


Before helping out at Emmaus Mossley, Barbara started volunteering in her teens and has supported various organisations over the past 60 years – including as a guide commissioner with the Girl Guides, a Duke of Edinburgh Award officer for North West England, and at Oldham LEA.

Alongside volunteering at Emmaus Mossley, Barbara also currently volunteers at Oldham Baptist Church as a church deacon.

Featured Image – Emmaus Mossley