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WINNERS of this year’s Suffolk Community Awards were crowned on Monday evening in a ceremony at Stowmarket’s Food Museum.

Individuals, teams, groups, charities and communities were honoured and applauded, in an occasion jointly staged by Community Action Suffolk, Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Association of Local Councils.

A total of 15 awards were presented on the night, following a summer of judging which saw a haul of 162 nominations painstakingly assessed by representatives from the trio of organising bodies.

The accolades were collated into five different categories on the night – CAS Community Awards, SALC Town and Village of the Year Awards, CAS Children and Young People Awards, Suffolk’s Most Active Community Awards, and CAS Volunteering Awards.

For the first time this year, the awards included a specific Faith Award, which was presented by Rt Revd Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

This award was given to Red Lodge Lightwave, a Christian community organisation which works in practical ways to care for those in its community. It runs a café, after school clubs and debt advice.

Presented with the Colonel Probert Award this year (which acknowledges a group or organisation for its work), was Compassionate Companions, which helps to support those reaching the end of their life.

The 2023 Town and Village categories attracted a great deal of competition. The winner for Small Village was named as Cockfield, with Bucklesham and Theberton & Eastbridge being highly commended.

Large Village of the Year went jointly to Kessingland and Thurston; while Town of the Year went to Sudbury.

Winner of this year’s Roddy Macleod Award (for a youth group or organisation) was CYDS – Young People Taking Action.

Most Active Village went to Coddenham, and Most Active Town to Mildenhall.

Meanwhile, the Suffolk Good Neighbour Award was presented to Acton GNS, and Event Organiser of the Year went to Ipswich Junior parkrun Core Team.

The full list of winners are as follows:

CAS Community Awards

Colonel Probert Award

Winner: Compassionate Companions

Presented by Geoff rey Probert

Ian Campbell MBE Award

Winner: Jean Evans

Presented by Ian Campbell MBE

Village Hall & Community Building Award

Sponsored by Business Services at Community Action Suff olk

Winner: Kesgrave War Memorial Community Centre

Presented by Judith Shallow DL

The Faith Award

Winner: Red Lodge Lightwave

Presented by Rt Revd Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

SALC Town and Village of the Year Awards

Sponsored by West Suffolk Council, East Suffolk Council, Breakthrough Communications,

Babergh District Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and Parish Online

Small Village of the Year

Winner: Cockfield

Highly commended: Bucklesham and Theberton & Eastbridge

Presented by Cllr Katie Graham, Cllr Donna Higgins and Vicky Moseley

Large Village of the Year

Joint Winners: Kessingland and Thurston

Presented by Baroness Scott of Needham Market

Town of the Year

Winner: Sudbury

Highly commended: Stowmarket and Kesgrave

Presented by Sir Edward Greenwell BART and Cllr Julie Bell

CAS Children & Young People Awards

Andrew Towers Award

Winner: Rosie Burl

Presented by Norman & Glenys Towers

Roddy Macleod Award

Winner: CYDS

Presented by Hector Macleod & Elizabeth Constantine

Anne Dunford OBE Award

Winner: Inspire team – Naomi Morgan, Keith Mcdowell and Alex Worne

Presented by Christine Abraham

Suffolk’s Most Active Community Awards

Most Active Village

Winner: Coddenham

Presented by Cllr Bobby Bennett

Most Active Town

Winner: Mildenhall

Presented by Cllr Keith Robinson

CAS Volunteering Awards

Suffolk Good Neighbour Award

Sponsored by Suff olk Community Foundation

Winner: Acton GNS

Presented by Melanie Craig

Event Organiser of the Year

Sponsored by Larking Gowen

Winner: Ipswich junior parkrun core team

Presented by Giles Kerkham

Outstanding Contribution to Volunteering Award

Sponsored by Cadent

Winner: Kelly Bennett

Presented by Karl Shipp and Kate Grant

Cllr Katie Graham, East Suffolk Cabinet Member for Communities, Leisure and Tourism, was one of the judges assigned the challenging task of selecting winners.

She said: “We are thrilled to have been able to honour so many wonderful projects, individuals and organisations for their great work in the community.  

“The ceremony is always an emotional but wonderful celebratory occasion and we extend our best wishes to every single winner.”

Chris Abraham, CEO of Community Action Suffolk, said: “An occasion like this is so important for Suffolk, as it really shines the spotlight on the great work being carried out by so many volunteers across their communities.  Congratulations to everyone on their award.”