Nominations invited for voluntary awards

Last year's North Northumberland Voluntary Awards winners and runners-up
Last year's North Northumberland Voluntary Awards winners and runners-up

The North Northumberland Voluntary Forum’s Voluntary and Community Awards, supported by Simpson McCreath Trust, has been launched.

The awards aim to recognise the achievements and hard work carried out by volunteers and community groups in Berwick and north Northumberland.

Local charities, voluntary and community groups will take centre stage this year for this unique award evening which will be held on Thursday, July 6, at The Black and Gold, Tweedmouth.

This invitation-only awards evening 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, explained: “We’re proud to be presenting these 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.

“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 standard of entries were extremely high, making judging very difficult. We try to introduce a new category every few years and last year’s new category was Youth Volunteer of the Year and we were delighted at the number of nominees received. It proved that age has no barriers when it comes to volunteering and being part of a community.

“This year, the new category is Community Champion which could be any one of us – a public official, a community leader, a health worker, a volunteer or employee who works for an organisation paid or unpaid. They need to have demonstrated that they support local or national charities or causes and are a true inspiration to others. They could be someone you work with whose secondary role is community engagement and shows exceptional effort to raise the profile of a particular charity or cause.”

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, as this will only strengthen communities and encourage more people to work together.

Jane said: “This year, we are delighted to have received support from Simpson McCreath Trust, 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.”

These awards will be decided by a panel of judges from the North Northumberland Network and trustees of the Voluntary Forum. If you would like to nominate any group or individual, you can do so online at www.nnvforum.org.uk before Monday, June 12.

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. We want to celebrate the smaller groups who turn up week in week out to coach, support and enable others, and operate within a limited budget.

Project/Organisation of the year

The organisation will need to have been established for at least 12 months; it must operate within North Northumberland (former Berwick Borough) 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 (former Berwick Borough) 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 can demonstrate commitment and the impact their volunteering has made within the sector. Examples include regularly helping with sports coaching/training, various after school clubs (cubs, scouts, brownies and guides), community/environmental campaigning or various fundraising activities within the local community.

NEW - Community Champion

A community champion is anyone - a public official, a community leader, a health worker, a volunteer or employee - who works for an organisation paid or unpaid and supports various local/national charities and is a true inspiration to others. Nominees must have displayed an outstanding contribution to charitable causes, going significantly beyond the normal expected involvement. This award recognises someone who has dedicated their time and made an exceptional effort to advance the profile and raise funds for a particular cause. They might be a true community hero who is always there, willing to do whatever must be done to keep things going.

Life Time Achievement Award

The Life Time Achievement Award is given to an unpaid individual who for the last ten 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

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