VOLUNTEERS at a mental health charity were rewarded for their efforts when they were presented with awards by some of the region’s leading figures.

BAND, a voluntary organisation set-up to support people in Bolton with mental health problems, held its annual presentation ceremony at the Friends’ Meeting House in Silverwell Street.

The ceremony was attended by Jim Battle, deputy police and crime commissioner for Greater Manchester, along with the Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Martin Donaghy and his mayoress, Gay Wharton.

BAND has about 80 volunteers, some of whom have themselves suffered with mental health problems.

Rita Liddell, chief officer of BAND, paid tribute to the work of the charity’s volunteers.

She said: “These people are some of the most inspiring people I have ever met and I feel privileged to work alongside them. It’s a real honour to be joined by Jim and the mayor and mayoress.

“Mental health and the law have not always had the easiest relationship, so having Jim here is a step in the right direction.”

Mr Battle said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to be in the company of so many dedicated volunteers.

“These are the people who make a difference to other people’s lives. I think their work is tremendous and it must be celebrated.”

Cllr Donaghy said: “The people at BAND work so hard to support individuals with mental health issues and make them feel like part of the community.

“There’s an isolation and stigmatisation associated with mental health and I think it’s a tribute to these volunteers that people across the borough can lead normal lives.”

Theresa Newsham, who has been a volunteer at BAND for more than 30 years, was presented with The John Brown Volunteer of the Year Award 2014, which is named after the charity’s late former chairman.

She said: “I’m thrilled to receive this award. At BAND, we are a big community and we all support other through the good and bad times.”