Sheffield volunteer Ralph Keene recognised with award

Sheffield man Ralph Keene has been recognised with a volunteer award
Sheffield man Ralph Keene has been recognised with a volunteer award
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A Sheffield man who has done a huge amount of work for the city's most vulnerable people has been recognised.

Ralph Keene said he was still chuffed to be involved with the 100 Smiles campaign in Emley, West Yorkshire.

The event, at Three Acres Park, gathered 100 volunteers from all over Yorkshire who have made people smile.

Mr Keene, of Ryegate Road, Crookes, received a citation for his work with Buzz Limited, which he founded in 1999.

The charitable company, which does a range of work in the community, grew from an after-school club.

Now, it undertakes family support work, and integrating younger people with the older community.

The group has produced a handbook, a guide for kids who are new to Sheffield.

The group runs English classes for Somali women, and many of its clients come from the Middle East.

It's an ever-changing population, with ethnic minorities moving around.

"They move in and around the area, and we try to respond," Mr Keene said.

Based at St Andrews United Reformed Church on Upper Hanover Street, the organisation has five paid staff.

They are the real heroes, Mr Keene said.

"It's all down to the staff who run it," he said.

"Their imagination, enthusiasm, drive and energy. They have grown it and developed it.

"They have really taken it by the scruff of the neck.

Mr Keene, a 71-year-old retiree, is one of four trustees these days.

He was thrilled to be involved with the 100 smiles function.

"It's really nice to be recognised," he said.

"There are lots of volunteers, who do lots of great things, who aren't recognised.

Mr Keene was also humbled to be given credit for Buzz. He remembered the then-Springfield School head teacher Pam Torrey approaching him to run an after-school club.

"It wasn't my idea, I just put somebody else's idea into practice," he said.

Mr Keene is also a trustee of Furnival, a community centre which is based in an old pub in Burngreave.

He is involved with open hands, which provides housing and support for destitute asylum seekers.