We put unsung heroes in the spotlight at awards ceremony

Individuals and organisations across North Yorkshire who go above and beyond to help in their local communities have been honoured at an annual awards ceremony.

Our Community Awards saw 147 nominations for 123 different groups and individuals made across three categories.

This year saw the introduction of a new category, which recognises those who dedicate their time to care for the environment.

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

The council’s chair, Cllr David Ireton, said: “We are pleased to celebrate the achievements of the many individuals, groups and businesses who go the extra mile to help their communities.

“With many households feeling the crunch during the cost-of-living crisis, it’s great to see people come together to support the most vulnerable in North Yorkshire.  

“This year also sees an emphasis on protecting our environment, and we have recognised the brilliant work that goes on to tackle climate change.”

The ceremony was held at the Wider Partnership Conference at the Pavilions of Harrogate on Friday, 27 October.

The group of winners and runners up from the North Yorkshire community awards

Winners and runners up from the North Yorkshire Community Awards

The winners and runners-up

Caring for the environment

Winner: Sustainable Swaledale: A small, four-year-old volunteer organisation, coordinating projects that connect people with nature via practical enhancement and sustainability projects. Members have launched a tree-planting initiative expanded to include a tree nursery and woodland monitoring. A swift, swallows and martins project is under way to install bird boxes and collect population data, and members also run a meadow and wildflower restoration project. A fourth project addresses local food growing and sharing.

Runners-up: Circular Malton and Norton and Richmond School Eco Club.

Highly commended: Kirbymoorside Environment Group and PALS with Trowels.

Best community group

Winner: Neurodiverse Community Catterick: Primarily supporting veterans and civilians within the Catterick Garrison area, members focus on mental health, inclusion, advocacy, and provide employment support for young adults who are neurodivergent, which refers to someone whose brain processes information in a way that is not typical of most individuals. The group helps to prepare people for the transition to adulthood, as members have started formulating an online educational tool for visual learning.

Runners-up: Skipton Step Into Action and Reeth and District Community Transport.

Highly commended: Resurrected Bites and Tadcrafters.

Volunteer of the year

Winner: Anne Galloway: Anne is one of the 12 voluntary trustees of Settle Swimming Pool and has the main responsibility and oversight of the staffing and management aspects. This has been important during the reopening of the pool in October last year, and the almost complete change of paid staff. She also takes a key responsibility for the running of the charity shop which runs on volunteer input. Anne organises the rota, runs the shop subcommittee with fellow trustees and maintains an overview of the stock and its organisation.

Runners-up: Kendra Davies and Colin Etherington.

Highly commended: Lynn Smith and Jean Walling.