Chris on Unsung Heroes
I recently had the great pleasure of being involved in the first awarding of the Suffolk medal.
Three individuals – Terry Hunt, Rev Canon Sally Fogden, and Richard Martineau – all became the inaugural winners.
As I took part in this celebration and listened to the speeches outlining the impressive contributions these people have had within the county, it reminded me of what it is I love so much about working within the voluntary sector – and particularly, why I’m so proud to be a part of Community Action Suffolk’s delivery.
For me, there’s something both humbling and motivating about being in a world full of life’s ‘unsungs’.
Every single day in our office, I hear about the John or Jane who, out of sheer passion for a cause or their neighbourhood, is ploughing hours of time, and huge amounts of energy, into improving the lives of others.
They might be campaigning for a facility, running people to and from hospital appointments, uniting parent groups, reducing solitude, or delivering supplies to those in hardship.
Every one of these people, in my view, is a medal worthy member of Suffolk.
Having grown up in Suffolk, established my career here, and raised a family, I’ve always been aware of how much our county is one which has, for the most part, ‘hidden its light’, rather than perhaps shouting about its accomplishments to the extent it deserves to.
That’s changing of course, but in the voluntary world, you’ll still see the vast majority of volunteering work going on behind the scenes, without request or expectation of praise.
It’s why awards like the Suffolk Medal are so important, and it’s why, some of Community Action Suffolk’s annual awards have actually been around for as many as 20 years, in a bid to honour those who deserve a form of ‘spotlight’ moment.
Our thinking about awards and recognition never stands still, however. So, two decades on from those earlier accolades being passed over, many of you will know that there’s a new ‘bigger, better, bolder’ look to our intentions for our annual celebrations this year.
We’ve confirmed in recent weeks that the CAS awards have actually been amalgamated with the Suffolk Association of Local Council Village of the Year Awards, and the Most Active County Awards, led by Suffolk County Council.
It means entrants in 2019 stand the chance of being the first winners of one of 15 in our inaugural Suffolk Community Awards.
You can enter individuals, groups, venues and organisations, under such categories as Youth Club of the Year, Young Person, Most Active Town or Village, Suffolk Good Neighbour, or Outstanding Contribution.
Our deadline for these awards is now looming, so before you get lost in thoughts of summer holidays and entertaining children, please do take the time to put your entry in.
You have until Sunday 21st July to submit your application and simply need to go to https://www.suffolkcommunityawards.co.uk/
Please, play your part in shining a light on Suffolk’s fabulous ‘unsungs’. They certainly deserve it!