Nominations are now open for North Yorkshire County Council’s community awards, which honour volunteers who make a difference in their community.
In their fifth year, the awards honour local people and organisations who selflessly dedicate their time to help the County Council deliver critical services.
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 2018 and 1 June 2019. 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 Robert Windass, chairman of the county council, said: “The community awards honour the remarkable work of local volunteers who are committed to improving lives across North Yorkshire.
“If you think someone you know deserves some recognition, I urge you to nominate them. Let’s show our appreciation for more unsung heroes.”
The winners of last year’s Best Community Group award was Exclusively Inclusive, a voluntary group that organises social events to help people overcome isolation within the Skipton area.
Group organiser Katie Peacock said: “We were very excited to learn that we had been nominated for the award, it felt amazing to be part of a group of people who had been nominated for their contributions to their communities. There was such a buzz of excitement, accomplishment and celebration as well as an overriding desire to continue and develop our community work.”
Although they try to keep costs to group members to a minimum, they acknowledge how important the £1,000 prize money has been. With so many people benefitting from the service, they strive to keep the group running.
Katie added: “One of our members recently said ‘If Exclusively Inclusive didn’t exist I don’t know what I’d be doing, the group really does help me feel that I belong and set me on the path to friendship’.”
Every Friday the group runs Rendezvous sessions, which can include making gifts, crafts and article writing for the Craven Gazette. They also organise Come Dine With Me evenings, inclusive club nights and regular trips.
The closing date for nominations is 7 June 2019. Nomination forms can be completed online at www.northyorks.gov.uk/communityawards. 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 25 October 2019.
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.