The shortlisted nominees have been announced for North Yorkshire County Council’s Community Awards 2019.

some of last year's community award winners

A total of 55 nominations for 41 groups and individuals have been made for the awards, which honour volunteers who make a difference in their community. From the nominations, 15 have been shortlisted.

A panel of judges, including representatives from the council, volunteer organisations and young people, will visit all shortlisted nominees throughout this month and September to choose the finalists.

The winner of each category will receive £1,000 for the project, group or nominated relevant local charity in the case of the volunteer awards. Two runners-up in each category will receive £250. The awards ceremony will be held at the North Yorkshire Wider Partnership Conference on 25 October.

County Councillor Jim Clark, chair of the County Council, said: “As always, the standard of the nominees was incredibly high, so I don’t envy the judges who had to compile the shortlist and now choose the finalists. These awards are a great way to recognise the tireless work of so many who make a real difference in their communities.”

Below are the shortlisted nominees in each of the four categories.

Best community group – awarded to groups carrying out ongoing voluntary activity/activities in North Yorkshire.

Grassington Hub: Along with the community library, the hub offers residents and visitors support, information, office services or just a place to have a chat. Their work includes supporting local groups with an events box office, press liaison, providing meeting space, managing the village website, organising community events and administering a volunteer transport scheme. They host open access wellbeing activities, community lunches, book clubs and storytelling to pre-school children. Initiatives for 2019 include men’s shed, older people’s tea parties and a wellbeing café.

Parents of Special Children, Hambleton/Richmondshire: Members provide support to parents, carers and grandparents of children with additional needs, with or without a diagnosis. They run parent support groups, workshops and training sessions, as well as events to give carers a much-needed break and pamper. They also provide individual support, including weekly one-to-one sessions, home visits and telephone, text or email support. The group is parent-led and voluntary. 

Tadcaster Swimming Pool Trust Volunteers: The Trust relies on the goodwill of volunteers to assist in the day-to-day running of the swimming pool and fitness suite. Their trained volunteers carry out a variety of roles including life-guards, receptionists, cleaners, maintenance, gardeners, bookkeepers, plumbers, electricians and fundraisers. Front of house receptionists receive training, and maintenance people help to keep costs of repair down by performing tasks such as locker repair, replacing light bulbs and grouting. 

Sporting Memories Foundation, Topcliffe: The foundation provides sporting reminiscence, cognitively stimulating games and physical activity facilitated by trained volunteers. The therapeutic activities can help trigger affirming memories to reinforce identity, connect people and improve personal confidence and mental wellbeing. The inclusive sports include indoor curling, boccia and activities to support strength and balance. The club also allows for networking opportunities, signposting and respite for families and carers.

Best community project – awarded to specific time-limited voluntary projects which were carried out in North Yorkshire between 31 July 2018 and 1 June 2019. The start and finish dates do not need to have been within these dates, but the project must have been active within these dates and have a specific start and end date rather than being open-ended.

Weaponness Window, Scarborough: The newly installed Weaponness Window is a large-scale glass tile mosaic situated on a concrete plinth partially occupied by a mysteriously unnamed sculpture by an unnamed artist but locally known as the legendary Seadragon. The Window is an arts and heritage project that complements the ‘Scarborough Trails, Discoveries on your Doorstep, and Pathways to Health’ initiatives designed to encourage health and wellbeing. The mosaic was commissioned by the Weaponness Valley Community Group to offer the community and other local groups input into the design and the opportunity to take part in weekly workshops with a professional ceramics artist.

Mosaics for Schools project, Harrogate: Artizan International, a Harrogate-based charity, has been delivering the project. The charity has trained a number of people with disabilities in mosaics, to a high degree of competency. Artizan has then worked with local primary schools to bring those they have trained into the schools to teach mosaic skills to the pupils. The pupils and differently-able artisans then create a large scale mosaic together for the school. 

The SMILE project, Skipton: Since January SELFA have been working with different care homes on their new SMILE project. The inspiration behind it was the recent Channel 4 documentary, ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’, an intergenerational experiment designed to tackle the increasing problem of loneliness and isolation of older people. SELFAs aim is that friendship between the two generations will blossom and the children will learn to appreciate the elderly members of the community. From baking to movie nights and craft session to trips out, each session is different but enjoyed by all.

Volunteer of the year – awarded to individual volunteers over the age of 25 carrying out voluntary activity/activities in North Yorkshire.

Natalie Davies: Natalie is the volunteer Commanding Officer for Scarborough Sea Cadets. Running a centre with more than 100 cadets from disadvantaged families, they offer a wide range of largely free activities, including sailing, windsurfing, rowing, navigation, engineering, first aid, music and catering. Natalie can put in up to 40 hours a week to take the young people on the water, help them take apart an engine or teach them first aid. The activities are heavily subsidised, enabling young people from low income families or single-parent families to take part. 

Linda Moore: Linda volunteers at Kirkby Malzeard Youth Club where she helps with activity planning, runs games and activities, engages with parents and carers, prepares refreshments and supports her peers. She also volunteers with Ripon Museums, Fountains Abbey (The National Trust) and St Michael's Hospice. She helps with the educational visits at Fountains Abbey, dresses up and gets into a character at the Workhouse Museum in Ripon and visits terminally sick patients and their families at the hospice.

Glennis Hobbs: Glennis volunteers with Smiley Faces (Embsay mum and toddler group), Hetton and Rylstone Babes (H&R mum and toddler group) and runs Hot Chocolate Club (youth club for seven to 11-year-olds in Embsay). She has been involved in organising and running a holiday club/activity week for young people and supports the elderly. She visits the most vulnerable people living alone and is a volunteer at Embsay-with-Eastby Community Library. She also plays a leading role as part of Street Angels in Skipton and is a steward in the Methodist Church.

Emily Towers: Emily has acted as Colburn Youth Projects chair and treasurer since it was launched just over three years ago. This enabled the project to start at a time when anti-social behaviour was increasing in Colburn. Emily now oversees self-employed youth workers who run youth sessions with extra projects and events being organised. Other responsibilities include assisting with applying/presenting to gain funding to keep the project running, paying the staff and keeping professional accounts for successful grants received.

Christopher Porter: For more than ten years Christopher has volunteered tirelessly as a self-advocate to improve the lives of his peers who have a learning disability and/or autism. He volunteers as part of a number of committees, including the North Yorkshire Learning Disability Partnership Board, and also volunteers at South Craven Community Library and Oxfam in Skipton. He attends national events and campaigns as a self-advocate.

Young people volunteering award – awarded to individual volunteers aged 25 or under, or to groups or projects run by volunteers aged 25 or under, carrying out voluntary activity/activities in North Yorkshire.

Amirah Stones: Five-year-old Amirah is the youngest volunteer who helped organise a community Christmas dinner in Northallerton. Each month her chosen day out is to go to York taking gifts for the homeless and more importantly to speak to them. She saved her pocket money and spent it in charity shops buying sleeping bags, hats, gloves and socks for the second year in a row to take to York on Christmas Eve and give out around the centre.

Oliver Webster: Oliver is a 16-year-old South Craven School pupil who for the last three years has volunteered with Exclusively Inclusive. He volunteers as a DJ at their monthly club night, “Club ViVA 52” at Herriot's Hotel in Skipton. He has worked on their community allotment by renovating an area which has become known as the 'Chicken Palace' and other areas. He has set up equipment for presentations, been on hand to problem-solve when things haven’t gone according to plan, taken a lead role in delivering presentations showcasing the work of Exclusively Inclusive and helped with the production of the Craven Gazette as well as contributing articles. 

Young People’s Council: The YPC gives a voice for care experienced young people in North Yorkshire. They meet with senior managers and decision makers to discuss what improvements need to be made and contributed towards the development of a new looked after children’s strategy. Last year the group ran a campaign to raise awareness of youth homelessness across the country by inviting more than 30 young people to sleep under the stars and make beds out of cardboard boxes. The YPC have created a film that is used to reassure young people coming into care and tells them what to expect.

This story was published 20 August 2019