Check out the winners and runners up from our Community Awards 2022 below.
Organisation: Signpost (Stafford) Limited - Signposts Services
Nominated by: Diane Corson
Since Signposts (Stafford) was started in 2007, their goal has always been to provide a range of services to support any individuals experiencing the effects of disadvantage and isolation. Services and support can operate from various locations, allowing them to provide support to more individuals. The five projects, under the umbrella of Signposts-Services, are Foodbank, Storehouse, Crash, Open House and Information and Guidance. These provide food and furniture to those in need, assistance with DIY or gardening, a lunch club for over 65s, and support for individuals with financial needs eg debt or claiming benefits. Signposts-Services benefits the community in a number of ways and individuals are helped with practical and physical needs. Providing multiple services under one charity results in a more holistic service, addressing not only physical but emotional needs, and increasing connection - which is much needed in these times where communities are often fractured and people very isolated.
Organisation: Hearts and Hands Stafford
Nominated by: Councillor Christine Baron and Councillor Ann Edgeller
Hearts and Hands Stafford was set up in October 2020 providing surplus food for people in Stafford who were going through hard times during the Coronavirus pandemic. Since then, it has grown from strength to strength and now operates throughout the borough. Lorraine and Kate run this operation tirelessly by obtaining surplus food from supermarkets and delivering to various outlets in Stafford Borough and they also have a donation unit located in Stafford. The hard work and dedication by volunteers deserves recognition as many people would be hungry if it was not for the help they provide.
Organisation: Josh Kershaw - Doing my bit to support those in Ukraine
Nominated by: Councillor Jeremy Pert
The events of Thursday 20 February 2022 are etched on all our minds as they are for many across the World, when Russia invaded Ukraine. The aftermath of these events will be felt long into the future and have physically touched the lives of many. Many people have responded to this unfolding catastrophe by pledging their help and support. One Staffordshire youngster - aged 9 years of age - decided to do whatever he could to raise money to support Ukrainian Refugees. After much thought he decided to create a calendar to sell to friends and family. He went around taking photographs and arranging them and came up with his calendar, which he speculatively arranged a print run for. Not satisfied with just passing the profit from each calendar to the humanitarian relief effort, Josh secured sponsorship for firstly the calendar and then every individual month from local businesses, who could show their support for the people of Ukraine as well as Josh's imaginative initiative. His calendar went on to sell out and to date he has enlisted organisations locally to sell the calendar on his behalf and has raised over £2,600 towards the Ukrainian humanitarian appeal.
Organisation: Tony Cooper - English for All
Nominated by: Gill Dunn
The aim of the ‘English for All’ project was originally to establish provision for immigrants and refugees to learn English and acquire basic skills. Central to the group is Tony Cooper who has been involved for over ten years. His experience has been invaluable, and he is a central figure in the group. The remit of the group is to teach English as a second or other language, but it does far more than this, it provides a valuable environment where newcomers familiarise themselves with aspects of British customs and culture, beyond language. The existence of the group, and its accumulated experience in welcoming refugees and immigrants, meant that when the war in Ukraine saw so many people fleeing a war zone, the project had, the people and the means to offer a welcome and assistance from the outset. Many refugees have come to Stafford from Ukraine since February and the group has been central to their seamless assimilation into the Stafford community. Beyond language, the group has shown aspects of our community and facilitated ways and means of making contacts and 'joining in'.
Organisation: The Youth Net
Nominated by: Debra Tickell
The Youth Net project has grown into a thriving support group for schools. They work in all the high schools in Stafford, and many primary schools as well. They offer various support in terms of RE, Princes Trust, Mental Health workshops, Enterprise workshops, Debate clubs, Drugs and Alcohol awareness workshops, Money Matters workshops, exam stress etc. They are heavily subsidised by various grants so they can offer a lot of support to schools free of charge. The work The Youth Net carried out in the school community after Covid was also brilliant, they came to every class in the school and talked about issues to do with getting back on track and also mental health. The sessions with The Youth Net helped pupils realise that they were not alone and there were people they could talk to. They are always happy and ready to listen. They never think of themselves or profit, they are there just for the children.
Organisation: Stone Alzheimer’s Drop in Club
Nominated by: Michael John Ellis
Coping with Alzheimer’s and dementia is never easy, it is a cruel brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. Sufferers and carers often live an insular life so greatly value the opportunity to meet others with similar issues. The Stone Alzheimer’s Drop in Club is vibrant, fun, happy and welcoming - it’s a place for friendships. Since 2006 it has played a vital role within the communities in and around Stone. The amazing and committed volunteers provide sufferers of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, along with their carers, a place to meet in a safe, caring and relaxing environment. The enthusiasm within the club is infectious. It raises spirits and is the highlight of the week for many. Sufferers, even those with advanced symptoms, can benefit from the activities provided by the club. It is recognised that carers often find their situation challenging so being able to meet with others facing similar issues is an important function of the club. No other group in the community provides this support - which resulted in the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2017. From entering the room, the welcome and happy faces put all at ease. As well as providing tea, coffee and biscuits, a range of activities take place such as group singing, visiting singers and entertainers when possible, as well as playing cards, dominos and bingo.
Organisation: GP First - SOLVE (Stafford Organisation of Local Volunteers Events)
Nominated by: Stephanie Barnes and June Holbrook
SOLVE was formed by volunteers from the Covid 19 vaccination programme originally operating from Stafford County Show Ground. The group wanted to continue to work together for the good of the community on a voluntary basis. The project has been supported both managerially and financially by GP First Ltd which is a Federation of all GP Practices in Stafford and surrounding villages. The group currently offers a social ‘cafe’ event once a month for those who suffer from social isolation or loneliness whether that be through Covid lockdowns, bereavement, illness, re-location, or anxiety. They wanted to address and support these conditions from a social perspective rather than from a clinical angle. All GP Practices in Stafford and its surrounding villages are invited to make referrals to the scheme which can be made by any member of their Primary Care Health Teams. Transport is offered to and from the venue to guests. They receive a light homemade lunch, enjoy speakers on interesting topics, take part in a fun quiz, and given the opportunity to participate in crafts and games. The session ends with a hot drink, homemade cakes and a good old fashioned sing song. In August they welcomed 32 guests with numbers increasing rapidly by month and now have around 65 residents on their attendance list.
Sports and Leisure
Organisation: Academy Club CIC - Sport and Mentoring in the Community
Established in 2019, Academy Club CIC deliver sport and education programmes in a variety of settings. As a new initiative they are identifying students who are deemed as hard to engage and offering them the opportunity to receive mentoring and workshops. These young people would be at risk of entering or involved with the criminal justice system, they not only deliver specialised football coaching sessions but also have access to practitioners with years of experience as tutors and youth workers. Whilst delivering mentoring sessions to the young people they can learn new skills and gain additional accredited and non-accredited awards. With the experiences they have as practitioners they not only deliver high quality football coaching sessions during the week and weekends it is also their aim to offer workshops and mentoring for young people to identified bodies where they feel they can have an impact. They have delivered workshops covering topics such as: the harsh reality of young offender estates, behaviours and consequences, gangs and street violence and county lines.
Organisation: Wedgwood Cricket Club Juniors 2022
Nominated by: Gareth Copeland
The Wedgwood Juniors project was started roughly 5 years ago with the aim of giving local young people an opportunity to improve their mental and physical health through the fantastic sport of Cricket. Since the project started, they have grown to a diverse player database of over 400 local children. The players are from diverse backgrounds both economically, racially, and culturally, including some involved with Social Care. This year they launched their first ever women’s team and entered girls’ teams into tournaments for the first time ever. To help ensure the project is accessible to as many children as possible they have a number of initiatives in place to reduce financial barriers and increase participation: No membership fees, No match fees, Free shirts to represent the club. The project is of huge benefit to the local community in many ways, by providing diversionary activities for school age children, supporting adult learning and retraining, reducing loneliness for all ages and improving the skills of local children.
Organisation: Stafford Walking Netball Club
Stafford Walking Netball Club was established in May 2018 by Laura Colclough. Initial membership was 14 players expanding through word of mouth to currently 46. All members and coaches are proud of the reputation for sport and social interaction. They provide a place for members who may have believed their sporting days were coming to an end. Their project allows members to participate in a sport they may have played in their youth while having fun, building friendships and keeping fit. Laura is a great netball coach and gives her time and skills endlessly to members. They in turn inspire Laura with their enthusiasm not only for walking netball but for creating friendships and support groups. Members love opportunities that lead them to raise funds for various charities whilst having a great time. In May 2022 Stafford Walking Netball Club won the West Midlands Team of the Year at England Netball's ONE Awards. This award was presented to a netball club who has made an outstanding contribution within their community through the delivery of Recognised and Authorised Netball activity. It recognises that the club has made a consistent impact within the local community and what they have changed to benefit its members.
Organisation: Silkmore Primary Academy - Tiny Forest
Silkmore Primary Academy have planted over 600 trees alongside Severn Trent tiny forest plans. They have also planted wildflowers and saplings in their Forest school area to promote biodiversity and encourage insects in the field area of their school. Children visit the forest school area every day and they use the area for activities, as an outdoor classroom and as a reading area to promote health and wellbeing for over 200 children many of whom live in an underprivileged area. They have access to the outdoors and learn to take care of the environment and also learn how the environment can benefit their health and care for the future. It provides an area for children to play, learn and feed the curiosity that children naturally have. It’s so important to get children out in their environment and learning how to be sustainable and care for the wildlife that comes with it.
Organisation: Rising Brook Groundforce
Nominated by: Councillor Anne Hobbs
The Rising Brook Groundforce is a collective of individuals involved in a wide range of environmental and ecological issues who really care about the environment, not only in Rising Brook, but also across Stafford Borough. The group campaigns for improvements to be made to the environment and the ecology, provides a local forum for a wide range of opinion and expertise to be expressed about environmental and ecological matters in Rising Brook and Stafford Borough. They regularly litter pick all around Rising Brook and have removed bikes and pushchairs from the brook, some of the bikes have been passed on to 'Back to Bikes' to be repaired and used again. They have also marked out areas to be allowed to grow naturally with no mowing, to encourage Bees and Wildlife around Burton Manor Square.
Name of individual: Lorraine Conkey
Name of Project: Stafford Walking Street, Hearts and Hands and Tuesday Club
Nominated by: Councillor Christine Baron
Lorraine began Stafford Walking Street a few years ago. This is a monthly event and this year she has also held a Jubilee Street Party in the town centre. For many years she has also held the Tuesday Mixer club which brings people together as well as being entertained by fascinating speakers and music. As well as that she has organised Hearts and Hands Stafford which provides food and clothing for those in need, this project has been going since 2020. Lorraine has put in a lot of hard work and dedication for the community as well as caring for her neighbours and many other projects. Nothing stands in her way and she will work extremely hard for those less fortunate than herself, always remaining cheerful.
Name of individual: Paul Milgate-Scarott
Name of Project: Volunteer Photographer
Nominated by: Councillor Christine Baron and Councillor Aidan Godfrey
Paul is a keen and exceptionally talented photographer and over the last 25 years has taken hundreds of photographs for events. He attends many functions within the community as well as having a full time job. He started fund raising in 1973 at 10 years old. His first project was Sunshine Coaches and has since raised funds for Save the Children, Breast Cancer and other children’s charities. He currently supports 33 charities annually. He has helped people in the community to go on holiday and fun days out, by booking and helping people to save for the events. Paul loves the town in which he has grown up and the people who live in it. He tries to enhance the area and is very proud of where he lives and works. He has arranged fundraising events for many years ranging from sponsored walks to jumping out of an aircraft! He works with local radio station, Windmill Radio, supports older people in his local community with everyday problems like litter picking and waste collection day issues and is also a church warden at St Mary's. Paul does all this work for the community he feels passionate about and has made very valuable and unique contribution to the life of others in Stafford Borough.
Name of individual: Honor Sutton
Name of Project: Operation Comfort - The Comfort Project
Nominated by: Guy Sutton
Honor is an inspiration to everyone who meets her, as well as being a wonderful role model to others. Her campaigns, completely thought up by herself, went above and beyond what a 14-year-old would usually achieve. Honor launched Operation Comfort during lockdown. She raised over £1000 in total for three local charities. For her first campaign Honor also wrapped and filled around 60 giftbags and boxes filled with toiletries, essential items and treats to donate to three charities and help those in need. Honor was named a Staffordshire’s youngest Superheroine by the Soroptimists for going above and beyond as she asked for donations instead of her own Christmas presents to buy Christmas dinner for the most vulnerable and also got support from National companies for her projects. Altogether she has helped around 200 people in the Stafford area through her tireless work.
Organisation: Staffordshire Women’s Aid - ForWard House Refuge
Staffordshire Women’s Aid is a local charity, currently celebrating their 45th year of supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence in Stafford. They were delighted to open their refuge ForWard House in 2016 which provides 12 self-contained flats, as well as extensive communal facilities, such as a children’s playroom. In 2020, due to increased demand because of the pandemic, a further 4 units of dispersed refuge accommodation were opened in Stafford. The self-contained flats mean that larger families, those with complex needs, mental health issues or disabilities, and those with older boys, can access safe refuge. The refuge not only provides a safe space for families who have lost their homes due to domestic violence, but also provides an environment in which women and children are able to access the choices and facilities which enable them to make the complex journey from victim to survivor. The Support Practitioners provide practical and emotional support, and work to re-build the confidence and self-esteem which so many women and children lose, because of domestic violence. Specialist children’s support enables young people to access schools and other resources and works to help them voice their fears and experiences, as well as rebuild their hopes and aspirations.
Special Recognition for Services to Stafford Borough
Organisation: Martin Young - Supporting Stafford
Nominated by: Councillor Jeremy Pert
Martin describes himself as a reader, writer, speaker and film watcher. But he is so much more. For the past 23 years Martin has been the senior minister at Rising Brook Community Church. Martin has made Stafford his home and the focus of his ministry. During this time, he has taken the Church to being an outwardly focused organisation supporting many types of people in the local area - from the young families needing creche facilities through to those lonely and isolated needing a warm place to go with a bright welcome and friendly ear to listen. Building on this is the Rising Brook cafe, which houses a multi agency hub, supported by the Mental Health Trust practitioners and the Borough Council's Housing Options officers and Tenancy Sustainment Officers. Turning an organisation to support their community wholeheartedly takes bravery, courage, conviction and leadership to get people engaged, motivated and going in similar directions. It was during the first few days of the pandemic that Martin and his organisation volunteered to provide food through emergency food parcels to anyone in the community that needed them across Stafford Borough, delivering and offering support, through an enlarged volunteer base and through the church network, as required. Martin retired as senior minister at Rising Brook Community Church in July 2022. Anyone who was touched by him knew they had known someone who cared deeply and helped others before himself. Every time you had a conversation with Martin you always came away uplifted and enriched.
Awarded to: Commonwealth Games Batonbearer’s
Nominated by: Councillor Carolyn Trowbridge
Sue has worked tirelessly for the Countryside Charity CPRE Staffordshire for several years, with the aim of protecting and enhancing the countryside and encouraging the community to appreciate it more through walking and running in it, organising photo competitions, litter-picking, rural poetry and dealing with threats regarding loss of the environment. During lockdowns she has put together packs for children stuck at home, including colouring materials and information about the countryside. She is a keen runner in her free time, especially on Cannock Chase. One of her main projects is promoting the long distance footpath, The Staffordshire Way, for which she ran a 7 mile relay leg on Staffordshire Day.
Jan has also had a role as a volunteer at the Commonwealth Games in the swimming competition. She is a volunteering superstar. Over the years she has given up a great deal of her spare time volunteering for many worthy causes. She is particularly enthusiastic about volunteering at sporting events and has travelled the country volunteering at swimming, cycling, cricket, netball, canoeing, athletics, football, and rugby competitions. She always goes out of her way to assist everyone she meets and helps to ensure that each event runs smoothly.
She is always very friendly and approachable. She is also a very proud West Midlander.
Sally has played coached and managed Netball all her life. She is dedicated to netball and was part of the team who set up Stafford Netball Club with a few volunteers. Recruiting players, coaches and helpers has been a way of life for her. Sally has held various roles in the club. She helped get the club accredited with Sport England, and is instrumental in West Midlands Netball. Sally was diagnosed with MS in Feb 2019 and has reacted so positively, keeping active and showing she is not going to be beaten by such a horrible disease.
Chris is a legend in the Stone running community. He has been active in Scouting for 69 years from Cub to District Commissioner and continues to support young people to reach their goals. He gave up a successful telecommunications career to become a fundraiser for Acorns Children’s Hospice. Chris has also used his passion for running to benefit charities for over 40 years. Chris is the founder of the Stone St Michaels’s 10K and has raised money for Stone Guide’s project with children in Kenya since 2005. Chris is also a member of Stone Master Marathoners since 1991 and completed almost 100 marathons.
Callum founded ‘Sporting Minds UK’, a charity that’s supported over 450 young sports people with mental health care and created a community to discuss mental health. Callum, a former Worcestershire Academy cricketer, set up the charity after suffering from his own mental health challenges. His work is supported by high-profile sports stars like Dame Kelly Holmes. He also partnered with ‘Bupa Healthcare’ to provide one-to-one mental health support for young sports people, which was particularly vital during the pandemic. Callum was recognised by the Prime Minister for his outstanding voluntary service with a Points of Light award in February 2021.
Anne Glover is 81 years old and still very active as a volunteer in her community. She has spent over 25 years in leading a guide group and more recently went back to help with brownies over the last five years. For 30 years she taught exercise for the retired at her local church and now leads a group in the retirement complex she lives in to encourage them to keep mobile. Within the retirement complex she leads a walking group every Monday as well as many outings for the residents. She was the hockey club president for many years and played for Stafford Ladies Hockey Club from a teenager. She has been a foster parent and was a Street Pastor for 10 years - still supporting the group in a variety of ways.
Councillor Margaret Ainsworth-Hickman is a very well-respected member of her community. Her activities in the community include Chairman of Chebsey Parish Council. She is an active volunteer for Eccleshall carers and during the covid pandemic, completed over 1500 shopping trips for vulnerable people. Margaret is an active member and fund raiser for Friends of Norton Bridge (Community Group) raising funding of £50k for refurbishment of Recreation area in Norton Bridge, Co-Founder of Chebsey Historical Society securing over £10k from Heritage Lottery Fund for ‘WW1 and beyond project.’