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Suffolk Community Awards – Communities Showcase

Winners and guests gathered at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket earlier this week to celebrate the Suffolk Community Awards.  The Awards are a partnership between Community Action Suffolk, Suffolk County Council and the Suffolk Association of Local Councils

Community Action Suffolk presented nine awards to individuals and organisations representing – Communities, Children and Young People and Volunteering.

Christine Abraham, Chief Executive of Community Action Suffolk, said “the Suffolk Community Awards this year had a record number of nominations and it was a difficult task for the panels to select the final winners.  We were all overwhelmed to read so many good examples of community and voluntary activity that people are undertaking for the benefit of others in their local communities.  Suffolk should be very proud”.

A welcome from the Chair of Trustees, Stephen Javes and the compère for evening Mark Murphy paved the way for a heart warming evening of honouring those who contribute so much to their community.

Today we are showcasing our Communities winners!

The Colonel Probert award  – This award is for an organisation that has worked exceptionally for the benefit of the community.

AWARD PRESENTATION – Stuart Stanford and Nick Corke – (winners – Hour Community), Geoffrey Probert – (sponsor)

The winners of The Colonel Probert award – for community initiative are Hour Community from Framlingham.

Hour Community is a need lead organisation that listens to the residents and tries to address their needs. To date they have provided a community wheelchair accessible transport service that focuses mainly on medical appointments and weekly outings for Mills Meadow residents.

They also run a monthly dementia friendly lunch club, The Forget Me Not Club, and a weekly Mental Health drop in cafe, The Worry Tree – both of whom use the Hour Community minibus for outings. The Forget Me Not Club is part of the befriending service in the town .

The way they have improved the community is by providing services that would otherwise not be available to those who are on their own or in need of support with a dependant relative, which is having an impact on their wellbeing.

They also have two trishaws, that are used to take residents of Mills Meadow for a cycle ride around the town, and a van for furniture clearance.

Christine Abraham Chief Executive of Community Action Suffolk  said “Hour Community are such worthy winners of this award as the achievement over the last year has been absolutely amazing.  They now have over 40 volunteers involved and support people from across the community that need a little extra help and support.”

The Ian Campbell MBE award –, celebrating an individual who has worked for the benefit of the community.

AWARD PRESENTATION – Winner Bryan Hall from Wickham Market and Ian Campbell MBE – sponsor

Winner – Bryan Hall.

Bryan works tirelessly to make the community of Wickham Market a better place to live.

In his 45 years in Wickham Market, Bryan has been at the heart of most community initiatives. One of the most high profile of these has been spearheading the formation of a community hub to re-open Lehmann House, a local care home. This nursing home incorporates the Aspire day care centre, run by the community with Bryan as Chairman of Trustees.

Wickham Market now has a completely re-furbished care home, offering high quality care and accommodation.  The activities of this centre are open to the residents as well as those from the local community and surrounding villages.

As Chairman of Good Neighbours, he has presided over a very successful group, in operation for 12 years, which last year carried out 1,865 jobs for the local community using 47 volunteers.

Christine Abraham Chief Executive of Community Action Suffolk  said “I have known Brian for many years now and he is truly inspirational to me and many others.  I often describe Brian as a fiery spirit, because he has this ability to galvanise the local people around particular challenges and then bring community development initiatives to fruition”.

The Village Hall or Community Building award – sponsored by Business Services at CAS.

This award is to recognise the positive contribution made to a community by its Village Hall or Community Building.

AWARD PRESENTATION – Christine Abraham (Chief Executive, CAS), Ian Peters, Mel Connell and Jim Catlin (Shotley Village Hall)

Winners – Shotley Village Hall.

The ‘not for profit ‘ Shotley Village Hall is the heart of the community. Not only does it host scores of events but it proactively engages with residents.

Recently the committee raised nearly £30,000 from various grants and funding to completely resurface the previously unstable car park. This now allows parents a safe place to park away from the main road when they drop off and pick up their children from the nearby primary school.

The hall itself holds a weekly pop up Suffolk Library, used by all generations, a pop up Babergh Customer Services facility, Soup – Lunch, WI meetings, Over 60s club, sports clubs, art classes, pantomimes, presentations, musicals, concerts.  This is to name just a few with more than 30 groups and organisation using the hall.

By offering a clean, warm and fully accessible facility, the community is encouraged to participate in a wide range of social activities, thus reducing loneliness and isolation and providing excellent community services in a central location.

Christine Abraham Chief Executive of Community Action Suffolk  said “Everyday we see assets in our communities closing, shops, pubs, post offices.  Our village halls are an essential asset that we must seek to protect.  They provide a hub for the community where activities and social interactions are provided that keep people connected and therefore well.  Shotley are a shining example of a well run and well used village hall.”