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Suffolk Community Awards – Volunteers 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 Volunteers winners!

Event Organiser of the Year

This award is to recognise an event which involves the local community and volunteers.

AWARD PRESENTATION – Jo Fox and Giles Kerkham (MHA Larking Gowen) with Joe Mason (winner)

Winner – Joe Mason who organises the Haverhill Show.

The Haverhill Show is an annual show, where community groups are invited and encouraged to the event to promote their own community group and raise funds for their own group on the day by fundraising.

The Haverhill show invites local traders to sponsor events (eg a local garage will sponsor the car show and a local wine bar will sponsor/support food and drinks to mention a few)

Haverhill show is supporting local groups by being altogether on a day to raise funds and awareness of their group and the Haverhill show then donates the money they have raised during the day back to local groups.

Christine Abraham Chief Executive of Community Action Suffolk  said “The Haverhill show is an excellent example of a community event that brings together the local community to provide many social, cultural and economic benefits.  We were impressed by Joe’s all year round commitment to lead  a team  of volunteers to ensure that each year the event is planned, organised and run efficiently.”

Outstanding Contribution to Volunteering

This award is for an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the community

AWARD PRESENTATION – Zoe Darrah and Lisa Carr, (sponsor – PolicyBee insurance) with Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne (winner)

Winner – Andrew Aalders- Dunthorne

Andrew is the Group Scout Leader of 1st Fressingfield Scout Group and he has, for the past 10 years, built a group that provides exceptional opportunities for young people and adults in the North Suffolk/South Norfolk area.  Through his organisation of international expeditions to Kenya and Iceland, as well as more locally based activities, he has opened the eyes of many rurally located young people who would not otherwise have engaged in these experiences.

Andrew passionately believes in young people.  That their experiences as they grow up should be as broad and as expansive as possible.  That through providing these opportunities through scouting, that they will become more rounded individuals, more tolerant, more diverse in their thinking.

At a more local level, sailing, climbing, walking, independence and risk taking are all elements that provide young people opportunities to widen their outlook and enhance their characters for later life.

Christine Abraham Chief Executive of Community Action Suffolk  said “Andrew has shown real commitment and passion over a number of years to grow the 1st Fressingfield Scout group from a handful of young people to over 150 now, providing a breadth of activity to assist in their personal development.”

Suffolk Good Neighbour Award – kindly sponsored by Suffolk Community Foundation

This award is a chance for you to say thank you to a neighbour or group of neighbours who go out of their way to help others, someone who shows kindness, compassion and consideration.  

AWARD PRESENTATION – Stephen Singleton, (Suffolk Community Foundation – sponsor) and Cherie Parnell

Winner – Cherie Parnell

Cherie has set up a group called Impact that supports the young people living in the homeless hostel 2 doors down from her house.  Cherie recognised that in her community were young people who had experienced challenging lives and wanted to be a Good Neighbour to them.

Cherie rallied together her friends and support from her church to offer weekly drop ins with food, activity and friendship to the groups of young people to give them the opportunity to form their own kind of family and friendship.  An opportunity to enjoy a good meal and activities they may not have done before.

The young people have discovered new interests and developed existing ones and have become more resilient and compassionate due to the kindness shown by Cherie.

Christine Abraham Chief Executive of Community Action Suffolk  said “Cherie has made a wonderful impact on the young people, giving them the opportunity to do things they have not done before including even short trips away.  Her commitment to this particular community of young people is exceptional”.