For their extensive voluntary endeavour and community consideration, 33 exceptional individuals, groups and businesses have been celebrated as community champions within North Kesteven.
Each one was a finalist within the NK Community Champion Awards 2022 which look to award and applaud those who make a significant contribution to life locally through their generosity of spirit, voluntary contributions and community-minded action.
They were brought together for a celebration evening at the Hub in Sleaford where their stories were shared and an ultimate champion within each category named.
From championing women’s safety and arranging dementia support, to being an actively-engaged good neighbour and peer mentor of other bereaved young people’ fishing out tonnes of rubbish from the River Slea, ensuring the smooth running of junior football over decades and being a general ‘go-to-guy’ for the entire village, the 11 award winners all enrich daily life through their selfless, tireless and voluntary action.
In total there were around 110 nominations made across 11 categories that seek to reflect the ways through which residents and businesses make positive contributions within our communities. A panel of judges made up of representatives from the sponsor businesses and organisations that fund the awards programme, selected the 33 finalists, three in each category, and determined each category winner.
District Council Leader Cllr Richard Wright said: “It’s important for us to acknowledge and champion the immense amount of voluntary community endeavour and many acts of thoughtful kindness that make life within North Kesteven so special; championing those individuals and organisations at the heart of our District of Flourishing Communities.
“Those who we’ve awarded and applauded are only fraction of a much broader response of community-minded thoughtfulness. They really are the champions of, from and for our communities and I thank them all for all that they do. The love, care and consideration they show and the time, energy and personal investment they contribute is inestimable but so vital in building strong, safe, supportive and resilient communities.
“Of course there are hundreds more who also carry out their work quietly and tirelessly but who weren’t brought to our attention on this occasion; and we thank them all.”
BBC Radio Lincolnshire presenter Melvyn Prior who compered the awards evening said: “It is truly remarkable the difference these people make, either individually or in groups. These awards celebrate the very best in what makes us human, and what keeps us connected and it is heartening to sense the sheer volume of volunteering that goes on in North Kesteven and the weight of thoughtful responses.”
Across the 11 categories, the 33 finalists in the NK Community Champion Awards for 2022 were:
Contribution to Arts & Culture – sponsored by Lincs Inspire, operator of the Hub, Sleaford
Winner: Chelsey Bamford, Take Note Choir – bringing together, motivating and leading the Take Note Choir and other community-based musical endeavours including RiverLight.
Contribution to a Better Environment – sponsored by Hill Holt Wood
- Chris Clark, Holdingham – connecting and inspiring people and promoting Sleaford through charitable musical endeavours.
- Pauline Dobson, Sleaford – leading and participating in extensive and impactful artistic expressions throughout Sleaford, notably with community mosaics.
Winner: River Slea Clean Up team, Sleaford – collective efforts in enhancing the local environment focused on the River Slea.
Contribution to Climate Action – sponsored by Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant and Schroders Greencoat
- Dawn Bell, Heckington – inspiring personal and collective endeavours in brightening up Heckington and improving the village environment.
- Peter Dryburgh, Heighington – litter picking, improving the village environment and enhancing habitats for wildlife.
Winner: Moy Park, Anwick – adopting various measures at a business-scale locally to progress extensive carbon saving climate action.
Contribution to Community Safety – sponsored by the Office of Police & Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire
- Tim Grigg, Heckington – active engagement across many approaches in promoting a brighter climate-conscious future.
- William Alvey School Conservation Club, Sleaford – pupil-led, whole-school engagement in promoting a brighter climate-conscious future.
Winner: Sleaford Women’s Safety Group, Sleaford – pioneering a collective approach to the creation of safer circumstances for the women and girls of Sleaford.
Contribution to Health & Wellbeing – sponsored by Branston Ltd
- Friday Night Social Club, North Hykeham – providing facilities and sessions to engage young people locally, ensuring a safe, warm space to socialise off the streets.
- Moving Forward, Lincoln – supporting women who have experienced domestic abuse relationships in finding confidence to move forward with their lives.
Winner: Sleaford Dementia Support, Sleaford – supporting those affected by dementia, through social contact, recreational outreach, and respite.
Contribution to Sport – sponsored by Better, operator of NKDC’s leisure service
- Karen Elliott, Sleaford – setting up a school uniform service out of consideration for, and in response to, families in greatest need.
- Kevin Stow, Walcott – building on his own weight-loss experience to motivate and support others through their health & wellbeing journey.
Winner: Jenny O’Rourke, Sleaford – extensive work in support of Sleaford Town FC, in particular its junior teams, over 25 years.
Longstanding Contribution to a Group or Organisation – sponsored by the Lincolnshire Community Foundation
- Metheringham Community Pool – for the committee’s tireless commitment to maintaining access to swimming locally.
- Vance Tunnicliffe, North Hykeham – for longstanding commitment to community football with Rustons FC.
Winner: Susan Manders, Bracebridge Heath – extensive commitment to Bracebridge Heath, in particular as a parish councillor and champion of local history.
Community Business – sponsored by BusinessNK
- Brian Davies, Washingborough – extensive commitment to veterans through SSAFA and its client group.
- Mike Raw, Metheringham – extensive commitment to veterans through SSAFA and its client group.
Winner: Sleaford Community Grocers, Sleaford – operating in the express interests of community wellbeing and sustainability.
Good Neighbour – sponsored by Ringrose Law
- Duke of Wellington, Leasingham – building community cohesion through the pub and its extensive programme of events.
- Shug Studios, Sleaford – supporting and developing a vibrant music scene within Sleaford, with particular emphasis in promoting the RiverLight event.
Winner: Pat Hayward, North Hykeham – for initiating a range of events and activities with neighbourliness in mind.
- Beryl Foster & Jean Firmager, Great Hale – for the support, provision, and protection they afford their neighbours.
- Robert & Gillian How, Heighington – for thoughtful acts in cheering up the community.
Young Achiever – sponsored by Duncan & Toplis
Winner: Amelia Matson, North Hykeham – active, compassionate and empathetic support of other young people impacted by adversity.
- Joe Trofer-Cook, Billinghay – establishing a farm, excelling in stockmanship and keeping the community supplied with eggs and veg.
- Isobel Johnson, Greylees – for determination to excel and inspire others to embrace their difference too.
Community Spirit – sponsored by Lindum Group
Winner: Ian Taylor, Brant Broughton – for extensive, active and wide-ranging contributions to village life.
- Craig Garner-Smith, Martin – for endeavours in motivating enhanced community cohesion, facilities and collaborative activity.
- Fiona Lightfoot, Helpringham – initiating and operating a range of initiatives in support of those in greatest need locally.
To champion and thank others who improve life locally through their generous actions, volunteering and community spirit, nominations for 2023’s awards can be made now and at anytime at www.nkawards.org
The awards are only made possible through the generous sponsorship of the award sponsors – this year: Duncan & Toplis, Ringrose Law, Lindum Group, Branston Ltd, GLL/Better, Lincs Inspire, Hill Holt Wood, Sleaford REP / Schroder Greencoat, the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire, the Lincolnshire Community Foundation and BusinessNK – and with the support of BBC Radio Lincolnshire, The Lincolnite, the Sleaford Standard, Peachy Events and Bright Spark Studios.