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TEN LOCAL HEROES AND HEROINES RECEIVE NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR COMMUNITY ACHIEVEMENTS

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The ten national winners of the first ever Active Community awards ...
The ten national winners of the first ever Active Community awards

tonight received their awards from a host of celebrities at a

glittering gala evening at the Millennium Dome.

Sir David Frost, the awards ceremony host, was joined by stars who

presented the awards including Liz Dawn, Vera Duckworth of Coronation

Street, Lindsey Coulson of Eastenders fame, Boxer Nigel Benn and Sir

Cliff Richard.

Government Ministers joined the star studded cast in congratulating

the winners from across England on their community achievements.

Work honoured includes one woman's efforts to establish a support

group locally for parents and partners of those addicted to drugs, a

programme to combat loneliness and depression for older people and a

young man who has set up a project providing outdoor activities for

young people in inner city London.

The Ministers jointly responsible for promoting Active Communities,

Home Office Minister Paul Boateng and Cabinet Office Minister, Lord

Falconer praised the ten national award winners and the work of

others in communities across the UK:

Mr Boateng said:

'I am delighted at the sheer variety and creativity of the projects

honoured today in the first ever Active Community awards. The ten

winners are an example to us all. Their dedication and drive to help

others and to help their communities is inspiring. It is always

extraordinary to hear of the work being done both by individuals and

local groups throughout the UK to help others.

'These awards focus on the achievements of a handful of people from

across the country. They stand out amongst the many others doing

good work. They have been recognised for their outstanding

contribution to their local areas; for their perseverance and

willingness to get things done. This is only the beginning.'

'Government wants to unlock the wealth of talent and potential that

is to be found in communities up and down the country, using people

who often know best how to tackle problems and make the most of

opportunities available for community development.'

Lord Falconer said:

'I am amazed at the quality of nominations we received for the Active

Communities awards. Not only should the ten national winners be

congratulated on their success but also the other eighty regional

winners and the hundreds of other people nominated. This just goes

to show the phenomenal amount of good work that is being done in

communities. Government will continue to encourage these efforts

through the work of the Active Community Unit.'

Liz Dawn, actress and charity fundraiser said:

'This is the first award ceremony of its kind and unique in its

celebration of the work being done by ordinary people to help each

other. I think it is important that this is recognised and

celebrated and these awards do exactly that. I am glad to have been

invited to the gala and congratulate everyone on their success.'

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. The ten winners are:

National Award for Building a Learning Community

Angela Harrison

Stratford Upon Avon

National Award for Building a Fair and Just Community

Maxie Hayles

Birmingham

National Award for Building a 'Can Do' Community

Mary Thomas

Wirral, North West

National Award for Building a Powerful Community

Danny Thorpe

Eltham, London

National Award for Building an Economically Strong

and Successful Community

Georgina Holdsworth

Bransholme, Yorks

National Award for Building a Caring Community

Ann Ruddick

Corbridge, Northumberland

National Award for Building a Green Community

Mohibur Rahman

Fitzrovia, London

National Award for Building a Safe Community

Shirley Samples

Halifax

National Award for Building a Welcoming Community

Ingrid Chamberlain

Hertford

National Award For a Lifetime's Contribution to

Building a Lasting Community

Louise Martin

Croydon

The ten winners have been selected from 90 regional winners (Home

Office/Cabinet Office press release 030/2000). Regional judging

panels who selected the ninety winners were made up of

representatives from local community and voluntary organisations.

Please refer to attached list for more comprehensive details on

winners and runners up BUT PLEASE NOTE THEY DO NOT KNOW YET THEY ARE

NATIONAL WINNERS/RUNNERS UP. APPROACH ONLY ON THE BASIS THEY ARE

REGIONAL WINNERS.

2. National Winners received a special award as well as the

regional award winners certificate signed by the Prime Minister.

Winners were also invited to the Convention and Gala Dinner and

received two free tickets. each for the Millennium Dome.

3. National winners were selected from a judging panel made up of

representatives from the National Lottery Charities Board, Shell's

Better Britain Campaign, Community Development Foundation, National

Centre for Volunteering, the BBC and The Voice newspaper.

4. The Active Community National Awards and Gala Dinner were held at

the Dome from 7.30pm where ten national winners received their Active

Community Awards. A host of celebrities attended the Gala including:

- Liz Dawn

- Lindsey Coulson

- Sir Cliff Richard

- Nigel Benn

- Trevor Nelson

- Sir David Frost

- Paul Bradley

- John Conteh

- Lesley Joseph

- Katy Hill

5. His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent was at the Convention along

with Ministers from across Government including Paul Boateng (Home

Office) and Lord Falconer (Cabinet Office).

6. The Active Communities Awards are part of the wider Active

Community initiative which aims to achieve a step change in voluntary

and community participation in the next 5 -10 years.

7. The Active Community Convention took place at the Wembley

Conference centre on Thursday 2nd March from 10.00am (see Home

Office/Cabinet office press release 038/2000). The Convention's

objectives are:

- To provide an opportunity for individuals and representatives of

organisations with an interest in building strong communities, to

debate and discuss issues relating to Active Communities.

- To recognise and celebrate the commitment and achievements of the

private, public and voluntary sector in their communities.

- To encourage understanding between and facilitate the creation of

partnerships across public, private and voluntary sectors.

- To encourage understanding between, and facilitate the creation of

partnerships across, established voluntary sector organisations and

community groups.

- To provide an arena for national, regional and local community

organisations to showcase their initiatives and achievements.

- To demonstrate the benefits of getting involved in the community

and provide opportunities for people to do so.

8. A pooled facility will be operating to cover the event, please

refer to the joint media invite from Home office/Cabinet Office

no.93/00 or contact 0171 273 4650 or 0171 270 1272.

DETAILS OF NATIONAL AWARD WINNERS FOLLOW UNDER STRICT EMBARGO UNTIL

1930, THURSDAY 2 MARCH. WINNERS MAY BE APPROACHED FOR INTERVIEWS TO

DISCUSS THEIR REGIONAL AWARD WIN ONLY. THEY WILL NOT KNOW THAT THEY

HAVE BEEN SELECTED AS ONE OF THE TEN NATIONAL AWARD WINNERS UNTIL THE

NIGHT OF THE DINNER.

NATIONAL ACTIVE COMMUNITY AWARD WINNERS 2000

National Award for Building a Learning Community

Winner

Angela Harrison Stratford Upon Avon West Midlands Tel:

01789 298657

Having lost her daughter to drugs and prostitution, Angela decided to

do something about it. She started a support group locally for

parents/partners of those addicted to drugs, which grew to other

areas and gave talks in schools. Information packs are handed out at

police stations, and talks educate parents about drugs and how to

recognise symptoms.

She then started groups with and for grandparents who have been left

as sole carers of their grandchildren (like she was) because of drug

addiction. Her work has helped many parents and grandparents who

felt there was no one to turn to and were alone.

Runners Up

Darren Moore March East of England

Darren volunteers for 'Speaking Up' - an advocacy project of people

with learning difficulties. The organisation helps people with

learning disabilities by delivering training to 300 care

professionals each year, and helping them to do a better job.

Darren lives and breathes his voluntary work, and is a source of

inspiration to the whole project. He regularly gets up at 5.30 a.m.

in order to do his voluntary work, and offers a huge personal

commitment. He acts as treasurer to the organisation, as a volunteer

consultant on a project to improve services for disabled people, and

takes part in disability awareness sessions.

Kerry Thorburn Plymouth South West

Kerry has spent the last eight years as a voluntary play assistant in

Crownhill pre-school at HMS Drake in Devonport. Naval children,

because of constant relocation and turbulence can sometimes require

extra help and support, and Kerry has helped hundreds of children

over this time.

In her late twenties, Kerry herself having some learning

disabilities, has regularly travelled eight miles, catching two buses

in order to be on time for her voluntary work. The work Kerry has

been involved in - reading and curriculum support - has given the

best possible start to the children, leading up to their statutory

education and life ahead of them.

National Award for Building a Fair and Just Community

Winner

Maxie Hayles Birmingham West Midlands

0121 454 9500 0956 141 554

Maxie contributes his time voluntarily, as well as his skills and

expertise to community work which supports black and ethnic minority

communities to help themselves.

As Chair of Birmingham Racial Attacks Monitoring Unit, Sandwell

Racial Harassment Unit and Sandwell African Caribbean Consultative

Body, his work supports victims of racial attacks and harassment. He

has also been involved in developing a housing project for the

African Caribbean community, and actively supporting the community to

access resources and contribute to local regeneration schemes. Maxie

also mentors young African Caribbean students.

Runners up

Sally Carr Manchester North West

Through her voluntary work Sally enables lesbian, gay and bisexual

young people to be valued as citizens by providing opportunities for

them to have a say about their lives and needs. She began

volunteering eleven years ago, and in 1995 set up a steering group of

young people and youth workers, who then established a peer support

project. As a volunteer she provides vision and creative ideas, runs

projects, events and conferences, provides training and support, and

most of all, motivation, enthusiasm and fun.

'Sally is a unique, innovative, enthusiastic and dedicated person,

using all her spare time she achieves more than the average person

could ever imagine'.

Darren Gunn Eastbourne South East

Darren is an active and outstanding volunteer for the 'Speak Out'

advocacy scheme for people with learning difficulties in the Lewes

area in East Sussex.

For at least 3 days a week, Darren volunteers his time doing

training, facilitating groups, liaising with social services

managers, staff and people using their services. He is currently

training to set up a portable internet cafe to train local people

with learning disabilities to use the internet and e-mail.

As a person with a range of disabilities himself, Darren has a unique

understanding of the barriers preventing people with learning

difficulties becoming a part oftheir society. Darren's skills,

abilities and insights have encouraged many people to become

volunteers themselves, as well as encouraging many local people to

think about people with disabilities with far more respect and value.

National Award for Building a 'Can Do' Community

Winner

Mary Thomas Wirral North West 0151

678 7406

In 1968 Mary founded the 'Dark Horse Venture' (DHV) in Merseyside.

Believing that loneliness and depression are amongst the most

debilitating aspects of later life, she set up the project with the

aim of encouraging older people to develop their hidden talents,

share their skills and experience intergenerationally, and show their

families, friends and the community that they have interests and

ambition never before recognised.

Since its inception, Mary has devoted her entire energy to the

programme. The programme is a practical demonstration of the need

for people to remain actively involved no matter how old, and is

being replicated all over the UK and as far afield as Australia and

the Ukraine.

Runners Up

Sultana Syed Nottingham East Midlands

0115 910 7091

As a voluntary director of the Muslim Women's Centre she has direct

responsibility for organising events for women of all ages, be they

educational cultural, social, religious, artistic or economic. She

has been volunteering for nearly 30 years.

The centre provides child care development, training, employment, and

day care for Muslim women, as well as providing welfare rights advice

and training.

'Mrs Syed is a role model for many, bringing to her work an

immeasurable amount of experience and a profound understanding of the

needs of ethnic women'.

Seema Yasmin Hackney London

0171 254 8997

Studying for 'A' levels in physics, chemistry and biology, Seema is

also actively involved in a community organisation called 'Body and

Soul', spending all her spare time raising awareness and funds for

young people who are affected or infected by HIV. Seema has been

involved in writing articles, working with young people and even

speaking on the television as a spokesperson.

Her work is of huge benefit to young people with HIV, or who live

with people with HIV. Seema assists with youth groups and

activities, and recently won a Millennium Award which she donated to

a fundraising project. 'She is an amazing role model and is a peer

educator'.

National Award for Building a Powerful Community

Winner

Danny Thorpe Eltham London

Tel: 0181 850 6646

Danny is a 17 year old who actively represents children and young

people in his borough - the London Borough of Greenwich - on the

youth council. Mediating with council officers has led to

improvements in school for example on school dinner tokens. He has

supported young people through an advice line, and communicates the

concerns of young people tothose in positions of influence. He

plans trips, contributes to articles and is involved in a whole range

of 'Active Citizenship' activities.

Young people in Danny's community, the 11th poorest in England, are

being better involved in planning and influencing changes in their

communities, thanks to Danny's involvement. 'Danny does not come

from a secure and advantaged background, and his achievements are

therefore all the more remarkable'.

Runners Up

Jane Sheppard Ferryhill North East

Five years ago the local community centre was 'down and out' and held

no activities. Jane Sheppard galvanised public support and today it

is home to 16 voluntary organisations, many of which would not have

survived. Thriving groups include a women's club and line dancing.

By her invitation, for the first time, local colleges brought

after-school learning into Ferryhill, providing a much needed

resource for the local community.

Following her retirement Jane continued her community activism,

giving freely of her time and expertise to local groups - in fact, no

local organisation or individual is turned away. Jane is dedicated

to helping people and encouraging them to get involved in their local

communities. She has raised awareness amongst statutory authorities

to the needs of her village, and it is without doubt that without her

the local community centre would be just an old building, without

life or a heart.

Resham Sandhu Leicester East Midlands

0116 271 3343

07801 616761

For over 25 years, Resham Sandhu has been involved in supporting the

development of multi-culturalism and multi-faith understanding in

Leicester. His exceptional service to the community has included

education on combating racism and ensuring equality of service

provision, to ensure a better society for all. He makes a

significant impact on the work of the organisations for which he

volunteers - Leicestershire Ethnic Advocacy Project, Age Concern

Leicester, Leicester Council of Faiths, de Montfort Housing Society

and Leicester Care and Repair,

Mr Sandhu develops understanding of local issues across the board,

and speaks up for the rights of individuals and communities without

reservation. He is always willing to give his own time to support

local issues.

National Award for Building an Economically

Strong and Successful Community

Winner

Georgina Holdsworth Bransholme Yorkshire & Humberside

01482 822585

By taking over a run-down shop on one of Europe's largest and most

disadvantaged and deprived housing estates, Georgina Holdsworth has

set up Bransholme Motivation. This project runs a charity shop,

which also offers advice and support, and all with an element of fun

thrown in! Georgina brings agencies together to look at solutions to

local problems.

By instilling confidence in others, Georgina creates ways for those

who are excluded to become included and feel useful and fulfilled as

members of society. She has the marvellous gift of being able to

communicate easily with everyone - from travellers to residents, from

the police to the Lord Mayor. 'People trust and love her, she is

kind, understanding, hard working, but most of all fun!'

Runners Up

Nancy Flanagan Liverpool North West

0151 476 1506

An ordinary mother and grandmother, with no formal qualifications,

Nancy has always given her time voluntarily for the benefit of

others, she has made an extraordinary contribution to her local

community. A true community leader, with a commitment which is

second to none, she has campaigned for a local health centre and

achieved her goal.

She is active in improving health awareness and is involved in the

social inclusion agenda locally. She is the chair of Lifeline which

provides 3500 elderly people with a telephone lifeline, and chairs an

affordable 76 place day nursery which has created 100+ jobs for

local people in one of Liverpool's most disadvantaged areas.

Nancy Peters North Shields North East

0191 296 4347

At the age of 75, with 8 children, over 30 grandchildren, growing

numbers of great grandchildren, and recovering form a stroke most

people would see this as a time to take things a little easier. Not

Nancy!

She is currently patron of the Waterville Projects for children and

young people, a member of the Meadow Well Community Resource Centre

Management Committee and actively involved in both the Cedarwood

Trust and Meadow Well Credit Union. The fact that these

organisations continue to operate and in some cases even exist at

all, is testament to Nancy's campaigning and voluntary work over the

last 20 years. Her work with the above organisations impacts on

people from 5 - 95 - an impact on almost every member of the

community.

National Award for building a caring community

Winner

Ann Ruddick Corbridge Northumberland

01434 633800

As chair of the Northumberland County Blind Association (NCBA) a

local voluntary association for blind and partially sighted people,

Ann's drive has spear-headed it's development into a major local

charity providing clubs, information and volunteer visitors. NCBA

has grown from a small local trust into a large and professional

organisation, helping over 1000 visually impaired people. She

manages the staff, chairs committees, co-produces the newsletter and

gives regular talks to various groups about her own experience of

visual impairment.

Ann's voluntary work with NCBA takes up 2 - 3 days a week, and she

still finds time to be a reader for the local talking newspaper, and

a parent governor at her daughter's school. She is an animated

spokesperson for the cause of visual impairment, and a very positive

role- model and advocate for visually impaired people. Ann is

chairing an appeal to provide a Resource Centre and Mobile Unit.

Runners Up

Mike Tuohy Brookmans Park East of England

01707 660 436

01707 635 201

0411 788 479

20 years ago Mike started volunteering for Crisis, and is now the

night shift leader at the Crisis London Open Christmas. His

voluntary work encompasses much more than the seven days when the

shelter is open - in fact it keeps him busy all year!

He co-ordinates training and briefing sessions, allocates shifts, and

makes sure the whole operation runs smoothly at night - ensuring that

up to 500 guests at the shelter are fed and get a quiet night's

sleep. Mike provides other volunteers with training, guidance and

support, and Mike and others' efforts make it possible to tackle

homelessness in a tangible way.

Mike's dedication and enthusiasm are infectious, and he always

carries a small bear, a present from a guest, in his top pocket.

Pat Watson Rotherham Yorkshire & Humberside

01709 531 171/0402 482289

Twelve years ago, after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and

finishing her treatment, Pat was phoned at home by the nurses and

asked to go along and talk to other patients who were upset and

frightened about their diagnosis.

Six years later she helped set up a support group which has over 300

members. Pat set up a social side to the group, to help members

forget about their problems, and get back into a normal way of life.

She organised private use of a swimming pool and outings to various

places including a 17 day holiday to St Tropez for 46 people. The

group opened a 'drop in' centre in the town centre providing

information and advice. She also provides bereavement counselling

and support as well as a raft of fund-raising activities.

National Award for Building a Green Community

Winner

Mohibur Rahman Fitzrovia London

Tel: 07957 984501 (mobile) or

Via Fitzrovia Youth in Action on 0171 636 5886

As a founder of Fitzrovia Youth in Action, Mohibur is one of the main

motivators behind turning the Warren playground and football pitch

(near London's Tottenham Court Road) from a scene of vandalism and

anti-social behaviour into an attractive and safe play area. Before

Mohibur set up the FYA project, there were no organised outdoor

activities for young people in the area. With the help of Mohibur

and others, young people now take pride in their recreation facility.

Mohibur grew up in the area, and spent much of this time playing

football and meeting friends in the area. Fed up with the tension

and vandalism, he inspired other young adults and teenagers to tackle

the problem themselves by clearing litter and vandalised equipment

and keeping the noise down. He was successful in convincing other

young people to take back pride and ownership in their park, and he

now spends much time helping organise community football tournaments

and other activities for local young people.

Runners Up

Averil Dalby Wareham Dorset

01929 459 252

Averil has devoted a large part of her life to her local community,

the village of Wareham in Dorset. She is the backbone of the local

community, and without her, many of the village's achievements would

not have been attained. Understanding the issues of rural life, she

attends many meetings with local government, as well as reading

through and preparing relevant paperwork. As a result of her

community involvement, she has effected the building of new

affordable homes, improvements to local amenities, including a

children's play area, battled for footpaths, and bridleways, recorded

the village map and has worked hard to retain the old village life.

Averil is a walking archive of Wareham village history. She sees

what needs to be done and with her indomitable spirit, gets on and

does it. 'Because of her efforts over the years, our rapidly changin

community still retains that sense of place and values where we are

and who we are!' says the person who nominated her for the awards.

John Ralph Sandown Isle of Wight

John is a greatly respected member of his local village and of the

conservation movement on the Isle of Wight, for his part in managing

a local nature reserve. Thanks to John's dedication the site has been

designated as a Local Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific

Interest.

Inspiring the local community to take part in volunteering, his

commitment is such that he arranges his holidays to fit in with the

management of the nature reserve. He has improved general access

along with tree and wetland management, and he and his team are

creating improved access for people with disabilities.

His garden, near the reserve, hosts a converted bus shelter so that

volunteers can enjoy a cup of tea under cover!

National Award for Building a Safe Community

Winner

Shirley Samples Halifax Yorkshire & Humberside

Tel: 01422 256375

Shirley volunteers for a local young missing person's scheme,

befriending and supporting vulnerable young women, who for a variety

of reasons, have been missing.

The scheme offers a preventative service to young women up to the age

of 16 years who go missing in the Bradford Metropolitan District. By

developing a friendly and supportive relationship her support can

help reduce the risk factors for the young women who access the

service - women who are dealing with a number of wide ranging issues

such as drug-taking, abuse and sexual exploitation.

Shirley demonstrates a great deal of commitment both to the scheme

and the young people she has worked with. She is enthusiastic and

dedicated with a wonderful sense of humour.

Runners Up

Dawn Beesley Markfield East Midlands

Dawn plays a huge role in her local community through an extensive

range of voluntary support and community involvement. With three

young children she originally became involved locally as a result of

continual problems with young people causing acts of vandalism and

anti-social behaviour in the village.

She became the founder member of the Markfield Community Action

Group, formed to tackle problems which had an effect on the quality

of life of people living, working or socialising in the village.

She is involved in youth work, Neighbourhood Watch, village

appraisal, a CCTV project, as well as being instrumental in securing

this year's Leicestershire 'Better Villages Award' for Community

Safety linked to young people's issues.

Akay Isola Westminster London

0181 968 5790

Akay Isola founded and still runs, despite no outside funding, the

All Stars Youth Club in one of Westminster's most deprived and

disadvantaged neighbourhoods. As a dedicated volunteer he arrives

every morning at dawn, and doesn't leave until 1000 at night. He

visits young people in trouble at the local police station, visits

young men in prison, and when short of a trainer, takes classes in

physical exercise and boxing.

He is dedicated to his community work, even turning down the

opportunity to work in America where his skills as a coach were

appreciated. He has the wonderful ability of holding young people's

attention without raising his voice, and never condemns or censors

their action, thus gaining respect, that results in young people

being able to inter-mingle and become responsible adults.

National Award for Building a Welcoming Community

Winner

Ingrid Chamberlain Hertford Eastern

01992 582 868

01920 426855

For over 20 years, Ingrid, together with her family, has fostered

difficult children from very disturbed backgrounds. She has inspired

her family home where she manages a unique fostering project which

enables a large sibling group of children to be cared for in a

loving, therapeutic family setting

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