Shortlist announced for community awards

This story was published 22 September 2022

The shortlist has been revealed for North Yorkshire’s community awards scheme which celebrates the voluntary work of individuals and organisations.

Pavilions of Harrogate

A total of 81 nominations for 48 groups and individuals have been made, from organisations helping to provide food and clothes to the vulnerable, to volunteers involved in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

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 30 September at the Pavilions of Harrogate.

Council chair, Cllr Margaret Atkinson, said: “We are once again delighted with the number of entries we have received. The annual awards are a great way to celebrate the organisations and individual volunteers who make a huge contribution to lives across the county.

“Volunteers help us to deliver critical services and many provide social networks which reduce isolation and enable people to live independently for longer. We look forward to the awards ceremony when the well-deserved winners will be announced.”

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

Making a difference award – helping rural communities to flourish

North Craven Pantries: They were established by groups of volunteers in response to the coronavirus pandemic but have since acknowledged the need for ongoing support. The four Pantries, located in High Bentham, Ingleton, Settle and Hellifield have more than 75 active volunteers and have supported over 1,100 people. They provide access to emergency food and support, and signpost to access wider support where needed.

Revival North Yorkshire volunteers: Revival was established in 2015 to provide activities to help prevent loneliness in older people in remote moorland villages. During the pandemic, Revival reinvented itself to meet the needs of the community, supporting over 200 older and vulnerable people in the remote Esk Valley villages. They made over 4,000 phone calls to check people were coping and have a friendly chat, did 1,300 doorstep visits, delivered 885 hot meals and dealt with a wide variety of other needs.

SELFA Bentham Youth Group: The group is made up of young people aged 11 to 19 who may be experiencing vulnerabilities, disadvantaged and/or have disabilities. The young people have worked on making an impact to their environment by planting trees, making bird boxes, making bird feeders and making bee baths. The group have completed an art project with a professional artist exploring their own identities, developing their self-esteem and celebrating themselves. They are now organising Skipton's first Pride.

Best community group

Sleepsafe Selby: The group provides free support to people in Selby facing a night on the street. A six-bedroom converted shipping container with living area, kitchen, toilets and shower block provides a safe space to stay while guests are helped to look for long-term tenancy. Assistance with life skills is given and guests are befriended, encouraging healthy social interaction and increasing confidence. When guests move out they are helped with a generous range of goods to furnish their new home. Guests often return to volunteer and provide essential lived experience.

Tadcaster Volunteer Cars and Services Association: The group has been providing community transport for Tadcaster and the surrounding area for over 30 years. Within the last five years the group has developed its other community activities such as their charity shop, Knit and Natter and Jigsaw Club. They carry out collection and delivery of prescriptions, food deliveries and coronavirus vaccination appointments and have a community cafe and garden. Plans are moving forward for a designated men’s shed.

Gallows Close Centre volunteers: The group has a local community hub in Scarborough, providing a range of social activities for residents. They work with other groups and organisations to deliver fitness, creative and learning activities based at its well-equipped centre that serves the Northstead, Newby and Barrowcliff areas. It also has outdoor sports facilities and a community garden. During coronavirus lockdowns, the team ensured local families in need were given support including food parcels, prescription collection and care packs.

Scarborough Salvation Army volunteers: The volunteers are essential to the running of the Victory Programme; a fun and free practical programme teaching people to cook healthy and nutritious low-cost meals. Friendships are made and confidence is grown, with many participants becoming volunteers. Referrals come from, amongst others, North Yorkshire County Council’s Living Well team, North Yorkshire Police, as well as probation and inclusion officers at primary schools.

Volunteer of the year

Richard Holmes: Richard volunteers with Citizens Online helping people to improve their digital skills and use the internet safely. He has provided hardware and software support for a wide range of people including refugee families, and families on low income combining his support role with a full-time job. During the pandemic, he identified a support route using screen-view software to facilitate remote assistance when home visits were not possible.

Tracey Romaine: Tracey set up SleepSafe Selby to help homeless people in the town. She had volunteered for several years in soup kitchens and found that she wanted to provide more holistic support to people who have nowhere to live. She raised money, found a site and sourced shipping containers to provide a welcoming place for guests. She also supported them with life skills and donated items when they found a home of their own.

Jill Standish: Jill has been the driving force behind the development of the Ripon Arts Hub. The building, once a social club, provides a professional studio theatre with separate bar, green room and office space, all now fully accessible. The lack of community venues in the city meant that people struggled to access the arts or local entertainment. The Hub now brings people together and enriches the life of the community with a wide range of groups using the facilities.