Nominate a local hero in our community awards

We have launched our annual community awards to find the county’s unsung heroes, the volunteers who help to deliver the services that make their communities better places.

Last year’s Community Awards winners with their awards. From left, Colin Eastwood of Yorkshire Coast Sight Support, Catherine Sawyer from Settle Stories, Kevin Axelby of Men in Sheds and Su Morgan of Tadcrafters.

Volunteers make a huge contribution to lives across North Yorkshire and the awards, now in their fourth year, recognise voluntary work by individuals and organisations. They celebrate the variety and value of this work to make neighbourhoods better places in which to live and to help the County Council to deliver critical services, for example by providing social networks that reduce isolation and enable people to live independently for longer.

The four awards categories are:

  • Best community group – awarded to groups carrying out ongoing voluntary activity/activities in North Yorkshire.
  • Best community project – awarded to specific time-limited voluntary projects which were carried out in North Yorkshire between 31 July 2017 and 1 June 2018. 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.
  • Volunteer of the year – awarded to individual volunteers over the age of 25 carrying out voluntary activity/activities in North Yorkshire.
  • 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.

County Councillor Helen Swiers, chairman of the County Council, said: “These awards emphasise the wealth of skills and the capacity for caring that we have in North Yorkshire. Over the years, they have highlighted much excellent work, so I look forward to seeing what this year’s nominations bring. These awards honour a handful of the county’s thousands of volunteers and, we hope, show our appreciation for all of them.”

One of last year’s winners was Su Morgan, volunteer of the year for her work with Tadcrafters, a group she brought together about two years ago to enhance Tadcaster with hand-crafted decorations after floods and the bridge closure. It has gone on to support numerous projects.

Su said: “It is well worth being nominated. It’s lovely to see all the different projects that people are doing and lovely to feel someone will go to the effort of nominating you. If you get to the final, that’s even better, of course. It was nice to get the recognition, but I feel very much that the award was for the whole group. There was a lot of feedback from members of the group about how wonderful it is to be recognised.”

The £1,000 prize money helped the group to meet its running costs. It has also received support from Tadcaster Town Council and recently received an Inspire grant from the County Council’s Stronger Communities programme.

“The money has kept us going and enabled us to do many different things,” said Su.

About 30 people regularly attend the group’s monthly sessions and many more contribute by donating materials or making items at home. Su says some people benefit from the group from making things, some from donating and others from finding a new social network. Current projects include making heart-shaped cushions for the breast care unit at St James’ Hospital, Leeds, and personal effects bags for St Leonard’s Hospice.

The closing date for Community Awards nominations is 4 June 2018. Nomination forms can be completed online. Changes have been made to the forms this year to make completing them more straightforward. An option to make a video submission has been introduced for the young people volunteering award. Anyone who is unable to complete the nomination online can call 01609 780780.

A panel of judges, including representatives from the council, volunteer organisations, and young people, will identify three finalists from each category. All finalists will be invited to an awards ceremony at the North Yorkshire Wider Partnership Conference on 26 October 2018.

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.

This story was published 10 April 2018