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Broadland celebrates community with virtual awards ceremony

Community at Heart

Published: Friday, 13th November 2020

Broadland District Council’s sixth annual Community at Heart Awards has gone virtual, with winners announced live during an online awards ceremony held yesterday (Thursday, 12 November).

The event, which acknowledges the valuable contribution of volunteers, individuals, businesses or community groups and the work they do in the district, was recorded and is available to watch on the Council’s YouTube channel.

Broadland District Council Managing Director Trevor Holden and Chairman Karen Vincent hosted the ceremony, and a judging panel chose winners in a variety of categories from nominations made by members of the public. 

Each winner received a trophy and £250 to donate to their chosen community group or voluntary organisation. All the nominees were sent a hamper of goodies to enjoy while watching the event and to thank them for their work in the community.

Councillor Karen Vincent said:

“Our Community at Heart Awards gives us the opportunity to recognise the valuable contribution of volunteers, individuals, businesses and community groups and the work they do to make communities across our district vibrant and welcoming places. My heartfelt thanks go not just to our amazing and incredibly deserving winners but to everyone nominated for a Community at Heart award. Each nomination demonstrates the positive difference a person or group has made and I want to say a huge thank you to each and everyone of you for your selfless work and achievements that help to make Broadland such a special place to live.”

John Warren, Partner of awards sponsor Price Bailey, said:

“This is the fourth year running we have had the pleasure of being involved in these awards. Each year, we are moved by the amazing stories of kindness and generosity. These wonderful volunteers really are at the heart of our communities and we are delighted to be able to celebrate their achievements.”

The winners of this year’s Community at Heart Awards:

Young Person of the Year - Evie Sansom

Every year 11-year-old Evie raises money for autism charity Sunbeams Play by writing to celebrities and asking them for their support. This year, she took her fundraising efforts one step further by completing 26 mini challenges and raising over £300 for Sunbeams and the NHS. Evie also made Hama beads and handed them out to her neighbours to try and cheer them up – she even sent some to the Prime Minister as a get well soon present.

Volunteer of the Year - Michelle Thackham

When Michelle is not working as Deputy Sister at Cromer Hospital’s Dialysis Unit or fulfilling her role as a Councillor for Coltishall, she volunteers as a treasurer and trustee for Coltishall and Horstead Preschool. On top of this, she recently became a director of Coltishall Activities and Sports Trust.

Since taking on this new role, Michelle has overseen the refurbishment of Coltishall Village Hall, project managing much of the work as well as fundraising and applying for grants to help finance the work.

Environmental Champion of the Year Award - Tina Johnson
Sponsored by Barnwell Print 

Tina makes Lingwood a cleaner and safer place to live.  She runs the village Terracycle scheme, collecting waste such as crisp packets, toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes to be bought and re-purposed. All the funds raised are then donated to local causes in the village. She also supports the Plastic Free Lingwood community group, educating residents on the devastating effects plastic can have on nature and the environment.

Sporting Achievement of the Year Award - Mandy Foyster
Sponsored by CiM Graphics

Mandy has been a marathon runner for many years, and as completed many marathons, one dressed as a sheep. Along the way, Mandy has raised money for various charities. In the last three years she has pushed herself even further, completing the brutal Spine race, a 268- mile run along the Pennine Way in just 148 hours, as well as becoming the first woman to finish the Thames Ring.

During lockdown she also organised several virtual races including the Sheepy Shuffle half-marathon which raised £6,500 for Mirkwood Rest Home for Retired Sheep.

Community Group of the Year – SENsational Families

This local charity works tirelessly for children with special educational needs and their families. They offer advice and support to parents and carers to help them through difficult times. During lockdown, they began delivering survival packs and goodies to the families and carers they support, making sure they had everything they needed. They also began offering invaluable online support by email and over Zoom for those who were shielding or unable to get out of the house.

Carer of the Year - Kayleigh Griggs

Kayleigh has been caring for people with disabilities since she was 14. Since then she has worked in a variety of different settings, always going the extra mile to offer the best support possible. Currently she works as a respite foster carer to 5 young people with complex needs, taking care of them for short periods of time so their foster carers or parents can have a break. This year Kayleigh went above and beyond, going into self-isolation and taking on more hours so she could continue to support the young people and their families.

Inspiration of the Year – Jackie Hamilton

Jackie founded TherapyAid in 2019 to try and give something back. The charity provides support to unpaid carers in Norfolk to support their wellbeing. The free service offers carers five treatments of reflexology, massage, reiki and many other treatments to help them cope with the stresses in their everyday life. During lockdown, Jackie and TherapyAid began delivering wellbeing hampers and offering sessions over Zoom, as well setting up a book and podcast club for all the carers they support.

Business Community Support of the Year - Hug a Mug Café

Hug a Mug is a community cafe, offering fresh brewed coffee, home-baked cakes, savouries and light lunches. They host regular events, including mini produce market, a free jigsaw library, book swaps and regular craft stalls. The café is a lifeline to isolated residents of Lingwood, who are able come along and can chat to the volunteers and other customers. During lockdown it was sorely missed but recently reopened for weekends manned by a team of volunteers.

Good Neighbour or Friend of the Year Award - Julie Douglass

Julie leads the Good Neighbours Group for the Coltishall and Horstead area along with her team of dedicated volunteers. When the government announced the lockdown back in March, Julie helped co-ordinate the local response in the area. She has been helping people in the community by collecting prescriptions and shopping, as well as taking people to medical appointments.

Safer Broadland - Broadland Special Constabulary

Broadland Specials are volunteer police officers with the same powers as regular police officers. They predominantly support emergency response, neighbourhood policing and events.

Special Recognition Award - Special Inspector Mike Chambers

Mike has volunteered as a Special Constable in Broadland for over 15 years and has been in his role as Special Inspector for last 10. His role sees him managing the Broadland Specials team, working closely with both Broadland Police and Broads Beat officers.

Special Recognition Award - Broads Beat Police

The Broads Beat Police make regular patrols along the Yare and Bure rivers in Broadland. They are on hand to ensure the public are using the waterways safely and responsibly, as well as responding to emergency calls such as searches missing people, drownings, firearm deployments and anti-social behaviour. They have worked tremendously hard this year to keep everyone safe whilst the Broads saw extremely high numbers of visitors due to the coronavirus crisis.

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