Awards to recognise the unsung heroes of the local community

The North Northumberland Voluntary Forum's Voluntary and Community Awards launches this week in recognition of the achievements and hard work carried out by volunteers and community groups in Berwick and north Northumberland.

Saturday, 16th April 2016, 11:00 am
All the winners from Berwick Voluntary Forum awards 2015.

Local charities, voluntary and community groups will take centre stage this year for the awards evening which will be held on Thursday, July 7, at The Black and Gold, Tweedmouth.

The invitation-only event will acknowledge the amazing contribution made by volunteers and community groups and celebrate the tremendous work that is carried out by individuals, groups and organisations in north Northumberland.

Jane Pannell, chairman of North Northumberland Voluntary Forum, said: “We’re proud to be presenting these, our fifth annual Voluntary Forum awards.

“This is a real opportunity to raise the profile of community and voluntary groups and to celebrate the achievements of volunteers throughout north Northumberland.

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“Please think about the people and organisations that have made such a contribution to our communities. There’s a range of categories – hopefully one to fit every nomination.

“We look forward to receiving your nominations – individual, voluntary and community groups.”

Jane added “Last year’s awards were a huge success and the standards of entries were extremely high, making judging very difficult.

“The North Northumberland Voluntary Forum VCO Awards have proved that there is a need to acknowledge the valuable work carried out behind the scenes by voluntary and community groups.

“Acknowledgement of this work will only strengthen communities and encourage more people to work together.

“This year we are delighted to have received support from General Mills Berwick Ltd acknowledging the value they place on the voluntary sector within the community.

“I would therefore strongly encourage individuals or groups to enter or nominate a group for this year’s awards. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the contribution made by voluntary and community groups by thanking them for the tremendous work that is carried out within the community.”

The awards, for which nominations are now open, are for the following categories:

Grassroots Award

The Grassroots Award is a new award for those groups who have volunteers only with no paid staff. They must operate within north Northumberland (former Berwick borough) and have been established for at least 12 months. Examples include scouts, junior football clubs, luncheon clubs etc.

It is aimed at celebrating the smaller groups who turn up week in week out to coach, support and enable others, and operate within a limited budget.

Organisation of the year

The organisation will need to have been established for at least 12 months, it must operate within north Northumberland and can have both paid and unpaid staff and volunteers.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Awarded to an unpaid individual who has made a major contribution to the local voluntary sector in north Northumberland within the last 12 months, this is demonstrated by the level of commitment and the impact their volunteering has made within the sector. Previous winners of this award will not be considered.

Youth Volunteer of the Year Award

To celebrate intergenerational work, this new award will be presented to an unpaid individual who has made the greatest contribution to the local voluntary sector in north Northumberland within the last 12 months.

The youth volunteer needs to be 18 years of age or under and be able to demonstrate commitment and the impact their volunteering has made within the sector.

Examples could include regularly helping out with sports coaching/training, helping with various after-school clubs (cubs, scouts, brownies and guides), community/environmental campaigning or various fundraising activities within the local community.

Outstanding Project of the Year

This award is given for a project which has had an impact within the last 12 months within north Northumberland . The project can involve both paid and unpaid staff.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award is given to an unpaid individual who, for the last 10 years or more, has made a major contribution to the voluntary sector in Berwick-upon-Tweed and north Northumberland. Previous winners of this award will not be considered.

Local Business Support Award

The Local Business Support Award is awarded to the commercial business which has demonstrated outstanding support to the voluntary sector, both financially and/or practically. The business must operate in North Northumberland.

Nominations for all of the above are welcome from charities and voluntary and community groups of any size.

These awards will be decided by a panel of judges from the North Northumberland Network and trustees of the Voluntary Forum.

The North Northumberland Voluntary Forum is the new name for what was Berwick Voluntary Forum.

The new name aims to reflect the group’s evolving geographical focus.

The old name reflected the former borough council as its area of operation and it wanted to move forward and relate to the current geography – so chose North Northumberland Voluntary Forum. It’s also the name of the North Northumberland Network it hosts on a quarterly basis.

If you would like to nominate any group or individual for these awards, you can do so online at www.berwickvoluntaryforum.org.uk or contact North Northumberland Voluntary Forum by email bvforum@hotmail.co.uk or write/call into North Northumberland Voluntary Forum Awards, Berwick Voluntary Centre, 5 Tweed Street, Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 1N

Nominations close at noon on Friday, May 27.