Contributions of individuals and organisations across North Yorkshire were recognised today (30 September) in our annual Community Awards.

Following a three-year break due to the coronavirus pandemic, 81 nominations were received for 48 groups and individuals across three categories.

The winners were announced today at a ceremony at the North Yorkshire Wider Partnership Conference at the Pavilions of Harrogate.

Chairwoman, Cllr Margaret Atkinson, said: “I’d like to congratulate the winners for showing such outstanding commitment to their communities as well as all of the deserved runners-up. It was great to be able to host the ceremony in-person following a few difficult years.

“There are so many individuals and groups who make a difference in their area so the awards are an important way to recognise the life-changing work of volunteers across the county.”

The winners received £1,000 for their project, group or nominated relevant local charity in the case of the volunteer awards. Two runners-up in each category received £250.

The winners

Making a difference award – helping rural communities to flourish

Revival Group

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

Runners-up: North Craven Pantries and SELFA Bentham Youth Group.

Best community group

Gallows Close Centre volunteers

Winner: Gallows Close Centre volunteers: The group has a 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 received support, including food parcels, prescription collection and care packs.

Runners-up: SleepSafe Selby and Tadcaster Volunteer Cars and Services Association.

Highly-commended: 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, among 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

Volunteer of the year Tracey Romaine

Winner: 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.

Runners-up: Richard Holmes, Citizens Online volunteer, and Jill Standish, who has helped to develop Ripon Arts Hub.