Retired police officer Martin Steedman has scooped a first-ever Humber-wide volunteer award for his unstinting service to the region’s Blue Lights Brigade

RETIRED police officer Martin Steedman has scooped a first-ever Humber-wide volunteer award for his unstinting service to the region’s Blue Lights Brigade, (BLB).

The Scunthorpe and North Lincolnshire former officer has visited more than 3,000 households since he started with the volunteer service in May 2018 – helping some of the most vulnerable people, especially in rural areas.

His work with BLB saw him crowned the Public Service Volunteer of the Year 2019 in the very first ‘Proud to BEE a Volunteer’ awards. Organised by HEY Smile Foundation and Partners to recognise the work of the thousands of regional volunteers, the ceremony has held at Hull’s DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.

Martin joined BLB because he wanted to ‘give something back’ to the community of North Lincolnshire, in which he has lived and worked during his adult life.

He was drawn to BLB when it launched in 2018 as it was predominately for retired emergency services personnel, who could top-up their vital skills and provide volunteer help and assistance within their communities.

Martin, with guidance from BLB, linked up with the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, based in Scunthorpe, and started to help officers with their Safe and Well visits, which involves going to the homes of people who have been identified as vulnerable.

Proud to receive his award, Martin, who says the award is ‘for all the BLB team’, recalled just a few of the visits he has made. One involved a vulnerable individual who was living in a home with an on-going gas leak and he had not realised. Martin was able to get assistance and make the property safe.

Another saw him spend two hours keeping an elderly lady company – she had lost her husband on that day, two years earlier, and had expected to be on her own all day.

“Instead I was able to keep her company. That is what the visits and BLB is about, many of the volunteers have been in caring community roles during their careers and we are carrying that forward.”

Stephen Jones, a founder member of BLB, was delighted: “We are thrilled by this. Martin inspires us all with his dedication and the incredible amount he puts into the role.”

BLB, which now has more than 300 members – some trained as emergency response volunteers (CERT), was launched under the VANEL (Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire) banner with support from the Connected Communities Innovation Fund. More funding is now being sought to secure the future of BLB. For more information on volunteering for BLB in North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire, or how you can help the BLB financially, email blb@vanel.org.uk or telephone Steve Jones on 01472 245510.