Community heroes are celebrated

Taken from press release by South Ribble Borough Council

South Ribble's community heroes were celebrated at a special ceremony.

The inaugural SouthRibble Awards turned the spotlight on some of the inspirational people and organisations doing fantastic work across the borough.

Organised by South Ribble Partnership, the award winners were announced at South Ribble's Big Do, a community-wide networking event attended by businesses, public sector organisations and voluntary, community and faith groups from across the borough, held at the Civic Centre, Leyland.

Our award winners are:

Business for Community Award: APC Overnight

APC Overnight has played an integral part in re-establishing the much-loved Leyland Festival and has committed time and resources to help the festival go from strength to strength. Using personal and business contacts, the team have worked tirelessly to promote the festival, attract new activities and entertainment, and secure additional sponsorship and support. Their enthusiasm, passion and loyalty to Leyland shine through in everything they do.

Community Impact Award: Longton Community Church - Inside Out project

Inside Out project has helped to transform the lives of hundreds of people since it was first piloted in 2009. It's run by a dedicated team of volunteers and supports people at the most difficult time of their lives, often when they are at crisis point. They give a practical helping hand to get people back on their feet and give them support to rebuild their lives and move on. Some of the support given includes garden renovations, home refurbishments and providing essential furniture and white goods. They regularly help people to overcome challenges that are too big for them to face on their own.

Special Achievement Award: Nigel Stewart

Nigel's enthusiasm, vision and community spirit enabled an idea to bring live music and creative entertainment to the people of South Ribble to grow into the most successful event of its kind that South Ribble has ever seen. The first Leyland Live event took place as part of the 2012 Leyland Festival and attracted thousands of people into participating shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs to listen to the best talent from across the area. More recently Penwortham Live took the concept to new levels of success with a hugely popular event across the town in April. The second Leyland Live event is well into the planning phase and will take place in venues across Leyland on 5 and 6 July.

Volunteer of the Year (under 18s): Joseph Holding

Joseph impressed the judging panel with his enthusiastic commitment to volunteering. He is a student Ambassador and Volunteering Champion at Runshaw College, promoting volunteering to other students and getting involved in volunteering events. He has also volunteered at Citizens Advice Bureau as a receptionist and gives a huge amount of time to be a volunteer. He has recently been awarded a special certificate by Runshaw College for completing 100 hours of volunteering. Unfortunately Joseph wasn't able to attend the Big Do event as he is busy studying for his exams.

Volunteer of the Year (over 18s): Helen Connolly

Helen has shown amazing strength and determination in support of a cause she is passionate about. Following a devastating personal tragedy, she dedicated herself to supporting the charity that had given support to her and her family - Chorley & South Ribble HomeStart. She first became a volunteer for HomeStart in 2009 and became a trustee of the charity shortly after. She started the 'Penguin Group' from scratch as an informal get together of a few parents whose children have additional needs. Now a thriving support group with a weekly programme of activities and resources for families, the group also provides easy access to child development specialists and much-needed peer support for parents.

The awards were presented by Councillor Margaret Smith, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council and Vice Chair of South Ribble Partnership. Each award category winner was chosen by a panel of judges from South Ribble Partnership, representing the public, private and voluntary sectors in the borough.

Claire Foreman, Chair of the South Ribble Partnership, said: "The South Ribble Awards were launched to recognise the brilliant work happening right across the borough. We have some incredibly dedicated individuals and groups who are making a real difference in their local communities and the awards provide the perfect opportunity to celebrate their inspirational work."

The awards sponsors were: Business for Community Award - Runshaw Business Centre; Community Impact Award - Progress Housing Group; Special Achievement Award - South Ribble Borough Council My Neighbourhood Forums; Volunteer of the Year (under 18s) - BAE Systems; and Volunteer of the Year (over 18s) - APC Overnight.

Councillor Margaret Smith, Conservative Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, is pictured centre with award winners, from left, Brian Whaite from Inside Out, Longton Community Church; Jo Wood of APC Overnight; Helen Connolly; and Nigel Stewart.