'Exceptional’ Haywards Heath woman wins national award
A national award reserved solely for ‘exceptional individuals’ has been given to Jackie Cooper from Haywards Heath.
The British Citizen Award, in partnership with One Stop and now in its fifth year, recognises people who positively impact their communities.
Jackie will be honoured for services to volunteering and charitable giving and presented with her award by TV’s Michael Underwood at the House of Lords on Thursday, January 23.
She has been volunteering for 25 years, taking on a variety of different roles. She is a trustee of two charities that work with children and young people, one in the UK and one in Kenya.
She is the director of Sussex Clubs for Young People where she is lead safeguarding officer and also volunteers as an Independent Custody Visitor (ICV).
ICVs are volunteers who visit police custody suites unannounced 24/7, checking on detainees’ welfare to ensure they have been given their rights and entitlements and are treated with dignity and respect in accordance with the Human Rights Act and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.
At each two hour visit Jackie speaks to the detainee, checks on their welfare and conditions and submits a report.
Award organisers say Jackie goes above and beyond by helping to induct new members, train police custody staff and mentors new ICVs.
For 25 years she’s volunteered as an ICV and is lead coordinator in Brighton, the busiest custody suite in Sussex.
The BCA recognises community heroes who could otherwise be overlooked. Dubbed the People’s Honours, many recipients are later selected to receive a Queen’s Honour after being recognised with a BCA. At the ceremony each receives a Medal of Honour inscribed: “For the Good of the Country.”