The winners of this year’s Northamptonshire Community Foundation’s annual awards were announced at a gala evening at Northampton’s Royal Theatre on Thursday night.
Twenty six groups from across Kettering, Corby, Daventry and Northampton were up for an award across six categories, Sports and Fitness, Arts, Culture and Heritage, Environmental Impact, Strengthening Communities, Supporting Families and the High Sheriff Initiative Award.
Entertained by performances from the Northampton Male Voice Choir, Brigstock Hand Bells and Corby Deep Roots, Tall Trees over 300 guests saw the winners take to the stage, including a night club for adults with disabilities, a service that supports families living with, or caring for someone who is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and a group that is passionate about the local community and environment.
The University of Northampton generously sponsored the event for the third year and Vice Chancellor Nick Petford, who took part in the judging, said: “I am delighted that The University is the key sponsor of these Awards and of an evening that recognises the efforts of so many organisations and individuals. It shows just what a small amount of funding, coupled with an awful lot of passion and commitment, can do. The work across so many sectors and communities has a massive ripple effect for good. We embrace volunteering at The University of Northampton and our vision is all about ‘transforming lives and inspiring change’ – an aspiration echoed by every one of those nominated.”
Other judges included David Summers, Editor of the Chronicle & Echo, Jane Carr, Chief Executive, Volunteer Northamptonshire and Chris Knight of Hewitsons and High Sheriff, Anne Burnett.
Here are the winners from the evening:
Sports and Fitness Award winner: Sakhi Milap
Sakhi Milap enables Asian women to play an effective citizenship role in a wider community through attacking barriers of isolation. The group promote mental and physical health through healthy living, regular exercises and lifestyle with a view to lead an independent life with less dependency on institutional care. They provided two hour sessions of chair and floor yoga and one hour sessions of keep fit for women aged over 60 years. Over 140 women were supported to access the services and over 340 hours of sports and physical activity were provided with 20 volunteers supporting the activities.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Award winner: Rockin’ Roadrunners
Rockin’ Roadrunner is a night club that takes place at The Roadmender, Northampton for adults with disabilities offering a safe, fun event with access to live music, DJ’s and performers. A programme that offered ten arts and crafts workshops took place and over 80 beneficiaries took part supported by 15 volunteers, extending the experience of the club nights.
Supporting Families Award winner: Family Support Link
The service provides effective support, education and early intervention to families living with, or caring for an individual with addictions.
The group provide outreach support and confidential counselling to over 1872 beneficiaries, with 10 volunteers supporting the services to help reduce isolation, to provide diversionary activities for young carers, early crisis intervention, support, information and practical help.
Environmental Impact Award winner: Umbrella Fair Organisation
This Organisation is a co-operative of people who are passionate about their local community and environment and aim to develop promote sustainable living for all people within Northampton, through social enterprises, a community centre and events. Thirty five new volunteers were recruited to help support activities and projects from the Castle Ward area and to be part of the team refurbishing the Racecourse Pavilion, helping at the festival or Tea on the Lawn, working in the café or joining their Energy Advice Team. Events have attracted over 830 beneficiaries from the local community to learn about environmental impact and ways of reducing their carbon footprint.
Strengthening Communities Award winner: Daventry District Time Bank
The group were funded to run a Time Banking which is a mutual help scheme using the sharing and exchanging of volunteer to help meet local need. Activities include teaching English as a second language, dog walking, DIY, decorating, babysitting, driving and gardening. The project achieved 1440 hours of activity generated within the community and 155 volunteers exchanging of skills.
High Sheriff Initiative Award winner: Serbian Ensemble St Eliah Corby
The group established in 2013 is the only Serbian style dance group in Northamptonshire with over 45 members they were funded to buy traditional Serbian dance costumes to wear at performances across the county. They group gave a performance that attracted 1045 people which was supported by 7 volunteers and were able to share their traditions across the community including traditional Serbian food. The group have also taken part in a range of activities building community connections and establishing a sense of belonging in Corby.