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
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
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
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
Presented by Cllr Bobby Bennett
Most Active Town
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.”