Richmondshire groups make final of county community awards

Photo: Guy Carpenter.

Richmondshire organisations and people are among the finalists named in North Yorkshire County Council’s annual community awards.

Leyburn Arts and Community Centre and The St John’s Community Centre in Catterick Garrison are in the final of the best community group category, while Richmondshire Area Motorcycle Proficiency Scheme is in the final of the best community project.

Atmaram Dahal who led a two-year project to set up and run Catterick Parkrun is in the running for best community volunteer.

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The winners of the awards, which are in their third year and which seek to find the county’s unsung heroes, the volunteers who help to deliver the services that make their communities better places, will be announced on 3 November in a ceremony at the Pavilions of Harrogate.

Organisations and individual volunteers make an increasing contribution to lives across North Yorkshire. The County Council awards celebrate the wealth of voluntary work undertaken by people to make their neighbourhoods better places and to help the County Council to deliver critical services, for example by providing social networks that reduce isolation and enable people to live independently for longer.

Nominations were invited earlier in the year and a panel of judges, including representatives from the council, volunteer organisations, employers and young people, have now identified finalists in each category. They received 102 nominations for 85 groups or individuals.

Before deciding on the finalists, judges visited shortlisted nominees across the county, including Clapham, Leyburn, Scarborough, Catterick, Goathland, Pickering, Skipton, Settle, Tadcaster and Ripon.

The winner of each category will be awarded £1,000 for the relevant project, group or nominated relevant local charity in the case of the volunteer awards. Two runners-up in each category will receive £250.

County Councillor Helen Swiers, chairman of the County Council, said: “We received so many worthy nominations, it was a difficult but rewarding task to select the finalists.

“All the entrants put so much hard work into helping their communities. The awards emphasise the wealth of skills we have in the county that people are willing to share to the benefit of those less fortunate.

“Without the tens of thousands of hours volunteers give, life for so many people would be much poorer.

“I look forward to meeting all the finalists on 3 November and showing our recognition of the amazing work they do.”

The finalists in the four categories are:

Best community group: recognising an inspirational community group that has made a positive impact on a community and/or people’s lives through on-going, day-to-day activity.

  • Leyburn Arts & Community Centre volunteers Leyburn Arts and Community Centre is a charity that strives to bring to the town a wide variety of activities, including arts and crafts, music, theatre and film, workshops, fitness and wellbeing sessions.
  • St John’s Centre The St John’s Community Centre in Catterick Garrison is a charitable incorporated organisation that aims to provide a range of good quality community services in a friendly, comfortable setting.
  • Yorkshire Coast Sight Yorkshire Coast Sight Support is a user-led charity that supports visually impaired residents of Scarborough.

Best community project: recognising a community project that has resulted in real benefits for their community.

  • Community Angels Community Angels support vulnerable people in Scarborough town centre on a one- to-one basis in various ways, often in their home.
  • Men in Sheds Men in Sheds brings together men who may otherwise be isolated to share and learn new skills.
  • RAMPS (Richmondshire Area Motorcycle Proficiency Scheme) RAMPS gives young people the opportunity to ride motorcycles and learn all about them in a safe environment, and helps to reduce serious injuries on North Yorkshire’s roads.

Young people volunteering award: recognising projects run by an individual or group aged 11 to 25. It is awarded to a young person or people who have made a difference to other people’s lives by volunteering their time and skills to help to solve a problem or to provide a service.

  • Catherine Sawyer Teenager Catherine has volunteered at Settle Stories for two years and has been instrumental in the delivery of their Heritage Lottery-funded project, Tom Twisleton 100.
  • Young Carers Youth Council, Scarborough & Ryedale The Young Carers Youth Council is a group of dedicated young people (aged 10 to 19) who have developed and delivered the #wecare campaign to create awareness of young carers’ lives.

Volunteer of the year: recognising an inspiring individual who has made an outstanding contribution to their community through volunteering above and beyond their normal role.

  • Atmaram Dahal Atmaram Dahal has organised a number of community initiatives in the Catterick area, including community cohesion work, physical activity and cultural events. He led a two-year project to set up and run Parkrun in Catterick and volunteers as a run director.
  • Su Morgan Su Morgan brought together a group of volunteers to enhance Tadcaster with hand-crafted decorations to raise community spirit and promote local businesses struggling with loss of trade after the floods and bridge closure. She has developed the group, Tadcrafters, to address other needs in the community, such as social isolation and confidence building.
  • Karen Murray Karen Murray is chair of trustees at Ripon Community Link and Ripon Walled Garden, which support young people and adults with learning difficulties in achieving their life goals. She also acts as a mentor, advocate and volunteer, providing support to the management team and ensuring that members are listened to.

In some categories, the judges have awarded highly commended certificates to nominees that didn’t quite make the final three but that judges felt deserved recognition. These are:

  • Best community group: Clapham Village Shop, a society for the benefit of the community, was formed in 2014 after the closure of the village shop. A voluntary management committee was set up to address this loss and the shop re-opened in March 2015.
  • Best community project: Goathland Community Hub CIO raised sufficient funds to buy the land, obtain the relevant approvals and build a new Community Hub; and Samuels Rainbow, a campaign which raises funds for local charities that focus on mental health, was set up in memory of Samuel Carroll, who took his own life at the age of 20. The campaign’s focus is giving all males a voice that’s heard
  • Volunteer of the year: Sylvia Merrett is passionate about improving mental health services and is the chair and co-ordinator of the Craven Mental Health and Wellbeing Forum.