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Suffolk Community Awards – Young People and Youth Group 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 young people and youth group winners!

This award is for the Young Person of the Year and recognises the significant contribution to the community of an individual young person in Suffolk.

AWARD PRESENTATION – Norman and Glenys Towers (sponsors) and winner Issac Holmes 

Winner – Issac Holmes

Isaac attends Orwell Panthers Athletic Club every Wednesday evening to help with the coaching.  He has passed his assistant coach this year and is able to help run small groups.

He is also an accomplished guide runner and has recently attended the National Disability Championships as a guide runner for one of our athletes who is partially sighted, staying the whole weekend with our other athletes by warming them up and giving them the confidence to compete.  He also runs for Ipswich Harriers on other evenings keeping up his speed for guide running.

He is a very popular young coach at the club, always willing to help with any group with great enthusiasm.  Orwell Panthers is now able to invite more visually impaired people to the club as his enthusiasm has encouraged them to run a guide runners workshop for all their coaches to gain more understanding of the impairment.

Christine Abraham Chief Executive of Community Action Suffolk said “To hear how much time Isaac gives to Orwell Panthers club to both coach others and also run as a guide to enable partially sighted runners to continue to enjoy their sporting activity is amazing.”

The Roddy Macleod Award is for a small, but exceptional youth club or youth group which has made a difference to the community.

AWARD PRESENTATION – Hector Macleod and Elizabeth Constantine (sponsors) and winners from Lowestoft Boxing Academy – Ben Poole and Lewis Herrington-Waters

Winners   –  Lowestoft Boxing Academy

This boxing club has been a great safe haven for numerous young people, Ben and the rest of the club have been very supportive and have helped them both mentally and physically.  It’s not just a boxing club but a second home for quite a few troubled young individuals and without this community club and Ben’s help they would have no where to go to for the support they need. The club brings individuals together and helps make them feel the community cares no matter what their troubles are. Every community needs a coach like Ben running a small community club like the Lowestoft Boxing Academy.

Sometimes young people have issues and are shy and easily overlooked; also some people can’t afford the expensive clubs and boxing equipment. Ben has helped people by giving his time for free and often giving them a pair of boxing gloves of his own.

It’s the little things that have the biggest effect in people’s lives as the other young individuals who train there know – they have a place to go to for support, they mention this to others and are made welcome there and given a push in the right direction.

Christine Abraham Chief Executive of Community Action Suffolk said “Lowestoft Boxing Academy is so much more than a Boxing Club working with young people from the local community in Lowestoft.  It was interesting to hear of the transformations that happen as a result of engaging in the broader elements of boxing.”

Anne Dunford OBE Award is for a group of young people who have taken a leadership role in a decision making process for the benefit of young people.

AWARD PRESENTATION – Anne Dunford OBE (sponsor) with Jasmine Smith, Megan Hobby, Chloe Mills and Kat Walker from Felixstowe Academy – winners

Winners   – Proud Period

Five girls in Year 12 at Felixstowe Academy – (Chloe, Jasmine, Kat, Katie, and Megan) put together the Proud Period! project outside of their lessons after identifying a need within the school.

They put together a plan, created a logo and series of resource boxes, and placed these in key toilets around the school. They led assemblies with every year group, one set of assemblies for girls, one set for boys. They presented it in a way that explained periods really honestly, and broke down the stigma and any awkwardness very quickly.  They also became aware that some students from poorer families didn’t have adequate sanitary items, so they contacted the local community and produced boxes of free sanitary items and were placed in school toilets for the students to use.

The project was an instant success at Felixstowe Academy, with every box being used every day. This is when the project was presented to Councillors at East Suffolk House, and attracted funding for a roll out across East Suffolk.  It is now in the process of being adopted across the district.

Christine Abraham, Chief Executive of Community Action Suffolk,  said “These students have made significant impact to help end period poverty at their school and in recognition of their achievement in having such open conversations and taking action, they are now looking to roll the project out across East Suffolk.”