We all know them, the people who care, give up their time and want to make a difference in their community. Sussex volunteers are incredible, passionate people – and we’re celebrating all that they do. Who do you think deserves recognition for their efforts? It is now down to you to vote for the Argus Volunteer of the Year, who will be crowned next month. Here are eight nominees and we will tell you about two more next week.

You can vote for your favourite using the voting form printed in The Argus newspaper.

The Argus:

1. Kay Sexton

Kay combined her passions for sharing fresh food and tackling food waste when she set up the Community Fridge at the Weald allotments in Hove.

It opened in April and combines donations of produce from allotment holders with surplus food from local companies which is then distributed to nearly 100 households in the city who need fresh food .

Kay puts in up to 20 hours a week, co-ordinating 14 volunteers, organising food pick-ups, and securing future funding.

Kay manages to lead and co-ordinate all this while balancing her job as a writer.

The Argus:

2. Jim Deans

Jim founded Sussex Homeless Support, which helps support the homeless and vulnerable. The team was one of the first on the frontline to feed the homeless on the streets during the beginning of the pandemic. Demand at his soup kitchen went from one a week to eight for a five months. Brighton-based Jim helps people find accommodation. This includes gathering household electrical appliances to allow tenants to carry out basic tasks, as their rooms are often empty. Jim has communicated and worked with other agencies in Brighton and Hove to supply items to hundreds of people.

The Argus:

3

Erica Verrall

Erica has been working throughout the Covid pandemic as a volunteer for the Coldean Covid-19 community initiative in Brighton to provide meals to people in need.

Based at St Mary Magdalen Church in Coldean, she spent every day of lockdown ensuring that anyone hungry was given something to eat.

She has cooked thousands of hot meals, which have been delivered to people’s doors three times a week and also helped supervise a Friday food bank at the church.

She worked long hours, at times from 9am to 6pm, at the same time as looking after her own family.

The Argus:

4, Colin Barton

For more than 30 years Colin has been supporting those affected by Myalgic encephalopathy (ME), a disease that can cause physical and mental fatigue, as well muscle and joint pain.

Despite suffering from the illness himself, Colin is chairman of the Sussex and Kent ME society, which aims to inform the public and professionals about the illness. Throughout the pandemic, he has been taking calls from those with symptoms of ME syndrome as well as continuing to co-ordinate information about the disease.

When the start of the pandemic sparked panic-buying, Colin helped signpost those in need to get hold of urgent supplies.

The Argus:

5 Sue Earnshaw

Over the course of the pandemic, Sue Earnshaw has been taking her old friend’s dog out every day for long walks. Not only does she arrive early for the task, but she goes to the supermarket and gathers much-needed supplies along the way. Always greeting others with a lovely smile, she visits anyone lonely or isolated as coronavirus restrictions keep many people indoors. During lockdown, she has helped paint the walls of Shoreham Free Church in Buckingham Road, washing all the curtains and cleaning it throughout. She is now training for a marathon walk on October 4, The London Marathon Your Way, while also raising funds for St Peter and St James Hospice in Chailey.

The Argus:

6 Nicola Allen

Chief fundraiser for Wayfinder Women in Eastbourne, Nicola Allen has kept the charity together with her unbridled enthusiasm, sense of fun, adventure and possibility.

The volunteer-led registered charity helps women find better lives by building their self-confidence and skills.

Nicola has managed to raise more than £3,000 in the last six months doing a “dance-athon” and “The Magnificent Seven” project, which involved getting seven women to walk 26 miles to raise money to get a book published.

She helped raise £2,000 too for the book, which is about how Covid has affected women in lockdown. Her projects are fun and they inspire community to take part.

The Argus:

7 Sue Docherty

Sue Docherty has worked tirelessly alongside fellow volunteer Erica Verrall for the Coldean Covid-19 Community Initiative in Brighton, cooking hot food to be distributed to people in need.

She has worked long hours in the kitchen at St Mary Magdalen Church and also helped with the Friday food bank. As the demand reduced after lockdown, Sue helped pack and deliver food parcels to the community, despite having a family to support. Her fellow volunteer Rose Bunker described her as “absolutely amazing” and thanked her for doing the hot and hard work of cooking while wearing PPE.

The Argus:

8 Carla Mouland

When lockdown first came into force in March, Carla Mouland, from Portslade, volunteered at a school for children of essential workers.

She raised funds for food and drink for the children, even cutting down on her own shopping to afford more snacks.

As children began to return to school, Carla organised and hosted an online quiz that raised £800 which went towards the school’s funds.

Her eagerness to help compelled her to order a gingerbread man and badge for every child.

Carla works from home as a communications support worker and also home-schooled two children during lockdown.