IMG 2992 square cropped 868x600 - Star Awards 2021 – appreciating our brilliant staff

24 November 2021

We’ve just celebrated the YMCA St Paul’s group Star Awards 2021. Appreciating our brilliant staff who have supported so many people and taking a moment to enjoy being together. 

Everyone looked amazing, glasses clinked, scrummy morsels were daintily nibbled, there were sparkles on each table and happy conversations burbled over star themed music. It was Thursday 18th November, and more than sixty people were celebrating the amazing work of YMCA St Paul’s Group Staff. Most people were at the in-person event, in a great space on the Holloway Road, but others joined live over Zoom.  

It was lovely to be able to see each other. The awards ceremony gave us a chance to connect and catch up with people we don’t normally get to see.  

Plus the awards! We got to hear so many inspirational stories of the work people put in, the impacts that they have. It was like a purpose recharge. 

Here are our winners: 


Hyades Award – Outstanding Health & Wellbeing team  

Surbiton Health & Wellbeing team  

They collaborate well, doing really great work as a team. They are under a lot of pressure with daily tasks, but they still manage to be happy and always welcome everyone with smile. 

Supergiant Award – Outstanding Health & Wellbeing team member  

Safiyyah Patel  

Safiyyah is currently the only staff member in Health and Wellbeing in Walthamstow. She has been running the gym on her own for the past 3 months. Despite the challenge of running such a big gym on her own she is achieving results and doing outstanding work with fantastic dedication. 

Headlining Housing Team Award – Outstanding housing team  

Lifeskills team at South Ealing  

The Life skills team are providing opportunities for our residents to engage with events, including a session on the Olympics, and varied health and wellbeing sessions. The Life skills team have also got some residents into kickstart opportunities, and into the ‘get on track’ employability programme.  

Housing Hotshot Award  – Outstanding housing team member  

Sirinda Knightsbridge  

She has carried out some great work with really positive outcomes with those who need a high level of support. She has been responsible for a tremendous amount of change at the YPP, not only with the young people, but at this project as a whole. 

 Divine Family Service – Award Outstanding Family Service /Afterschool Club  

Walthamstow summer play scheme -Y-Kidz  

Michelle Irish put together a pilot play scheme for 4 weeks over the summer. She went the extra mile to gain buy in and support from her team and they delivered a service that provided wrap around care and allowed families to go to work during the holidays.

Astronomical Youth  Project Award – Outstanding youth project 

Hayes John Lyons project  

Hayes John Lyons project has really influenced a niche and hard to engage group of young people. The 22 young people are referred from Youth probation services, and the team work with them for up to 2 years. 

Family Supernova Award – Outstanding Youth/children’s team member  

Keith Sheridan  

Keith has gone above and beyond to support the service, working across different areas and adapting his broad skill set to assist in very challenging times.   

Facilities Sensation Award – Outstanding Facilities team member  

Ani Todorova  

Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Ani has experienced her never-ending positive energy and infectious charisma. In her role as Housekeeper, Ani holds herself to incredibly high standards and maintains efficient, friendly communication with other departments. Colleagues have said; ‘Ani always puts a smile on everyone’s face, she brings such joy to people every day and asks for nothing in return.’ 

Superstar Award – Outstanding volunteer

Martin Bushaway  

From the YMCA Shelter to a resident and getting support he got himself back on his feet. Soon he was wanting to give back and got residents to form a team of volunteers that helped with collecting food from local supermarkets for the YMCA Humanitarian Project. 

Martin said recently – “I thought that life was all about making money and getting what you want – I’d blow hundreds of pounds in 1 night just to impress people, I thought it would make me feel good about myself. It didn’t and I was then homeless. When I started to help others through the YMCA I realised I was worth something so much more – that’s why now I believe this is life!” 

Luminescent Legend Award – Unsung hero at YMCA SPG  

Agnieszka Zajaczkowska  

Agnieszka has been a loyal member of staff for a number of years at YMCA Wimbledon. She recently achieved 93% in a Sales and Membership Audit due to her being very organised and having a very thorough understanding of the sales and membership procedures. 

Polaris (Guiding Star) Award – Outstanding community hero

Reena Popat  

Reena and her cousin have carried out amazing work across communities. Working hard to organise volunteers to provide food parcels for those in need across London, and at some of our YMCA hostels, since the start of the first pandemic.  

Aurora Award – Outstanding Team

Walthamstow Catering team  

The staff worked extremely hard producing meals without gas supply for 16months. They took on the challenge without complaining and make sure the staff and residents are feed throughout till the gas was fixed. 


People Team 

The staff have excelled in their roles, transforming the systems and employee services that YMCA St Paul’s Group provides. 


Thank you to all staff for their commitment and service over the past year. We look forward to working with you all in the year ahead.  


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