Community Life Awards: Let’s recognise our local heroes

ACROSS the county tens of thousands of people are working towards making their communities a fabulous place to live. From organising fun days, cleaning away litter and planting flowers, to protecting the area from overdevelopment and fundraising to provid

ACROSS the county tens of thousands of people are working towards making their communities a fabulous place to live.

From organising fun days, cleaning away litter and planting flowers, to protecting the area from overdevelopment and fundraising to provide local amenities and services. The work can be seen everywhere.

Every community has a story to tell, and every community has a chance to enter the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Community Life Awards which aim to find the best examples of community in action in a wide variety of categories.

The awards, sponsored by Calor in association with Archant - publisher of The Hunts Post - and others, were launched in February.


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Publicity leaflets have been sent out to the county's villages, market towns, community groups, community buildings and pubs inviting them to enter.

Already the awards are attracting groups, which can win a share of more than £3,000 prize money, but there is still plenty of time for more communities to get involved.

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Alison Brown, Community Life Awards co-ordinator, said: "It's fantastic to read about the community ventures going on in the towns and villages around Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

"If the entries received so far are anything to go by then there are some real unsung heroes out there, working on their own, or as part of bigger community groups. We really want to give them the recognition they deserve and make sure their efforts are properly celebrated."

If you are involved in a community-led venture in your town or village and have not yet heard about the awards, then here is a re-cap of all the categories:

n Cambridgeshire Volunteer Awards: Sponsored by Cambridgeshire County Council.

These awards are a chance to nominate the local heroes and unsung volunteers for their outstanding contribution to community life. The awards are a symbol of the county's appreciation of individual voluntary effort.

n Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Village of the Year Award: Sponsored by Calor, the UK's leading supplier of liquefied petroleum gas.

This award recognises community spirit and achievement at a village level - scenic beauty is not important. The prize is £1,000 for the winning community to spend however it wishes.

n Aspects of Community Life: Sponsored by Archant (owners of the Cambs Times & Wisbech Standard) and a host of other local businesses.

The categories give community groups and locally-run facilities recognition for the huge, positive impact they have on different aspects of community life. Winners will benefit from cash awards of between £200 and £500. The categories available for entries are: Children and Young People in the Community, Older People in the Community, Environment and the Community, Heritage in the Community, Enterprise in the Community, Learning in the Community, Community Pub of the Year, and Community Building of the Year.

INFORMATION: To find out more about the awards and details on how to enter, visit the awards website: www.communitylifeawards.org. uk. All the guidelines and entry/nomination forms can be downloaded from here. To request an entry pack by phone, call the Community Life Awards co-ordinators, Alison Brown on 01353 865029 or Julie Weekes on 01353 865032.

The closing date for entries is June 30, 2007, and winners will be announced at a presentation dinner event on September 4 at the Burgess Civic Hall in St Ives.

TAKING PART

One group committed to entering the awards is the Bluntisham PARC Project.

Managed by charity Young Lives, the project involves youngsters in decision-making and development processes that take place in rural parts of the county.

For the past 18 months, 10 young people have been regularly attending fortnightly meetings to discuss village issues with councillors and other adults.

The meeting also allows youngsters to suggest events and activities they would like to see in Bluntisham, not just for young people, but also for the wider community.

They set the agenda for the meetings, and take on the tasks before reporting on their activities to the parish council.

All the young people involved give up their time voluntarily and are extremely committed to making village life in Bluntisham better for everyone, not just their peers, through the events and activities they have organised.

To date they have given the village of Bluntisham a sponsored walk, a quiz night, a community fun day, a Hallowe'en disco, a pamper evening and have been awarded funding from the Local Network Fund for art, drama and sports projects.

In addition, following requests from members of the community for another fun day, the group has just been granted £2,000 from Huntingdonshire Youth Bank to organise a similar event which will build on the successes of last year.

And because of the positive contribution they have been making to their community, the group has decided to enter this year's Community Life Awards.

Alice Bullock, youth champion for Bluntisham, said: "We're really pleased to be entering this award. Even if we don't win our category, it's good to have a go."

INFORMATION: For more details about the Bluntisham PARC Project please contact alicebullock2002@hotmail.com or katie@young-lives.org.uk

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