A climbing club for young people with disabilities, a social club for elderly people and a refuge centre for women and children fleeing domestic violence were among the winners at last night’s Northamptonshire Community Foundation Awards.
The awards ceremony, which was sponsored by The University of Northampton, was held at Northampton’s Royal Theatre and saw 27 groups from across the county put up for recognition.
Seven winners were announced at the awards ceremony, with trophies presented in front of a crowd of more than 170 guests.
The winner in the “supporting families” category was revealed as The Friend-leys, which provides speakers for elderly residents, many of whom have some kind of disability or medical problem.
Judges praised the group for helping around 50 people who regularly attend, building up social networks for vulnerable pensioners.
Springs Family Centre, based in Northampton, was recognised in the “transforming lives” category.
Set up in 2006, the centre refurbished a community centre kitchen to enable the organisation to mentor young people and adults and teach them to cook on a budget.
Each young person learns to cook a dish on a budget, share lunch and take a meal away with them.
Around 100 young people have taken part in activities, run by 25 volunteers and seven young volunteers.
The Friends of Abington Park group was victorious in the “strengthening communities” section, for its work promoting the Northampton beauty-spot and attracting people to the area.
The group has put on child safari days to enable children to study bugs, spiders, insects and pond life and attracted 303 young people to take part in community activities.
The winner of the High Sheriff Award was iDID, the Northampton-based social enterprise, which sets out to improve physical and mental health through access and participation in adventure sports.
Last year, iDID Northampton conducted a pilot project to assess the needs of deaf people in rock climbing.
The Nene Valley Christian Family Refuge, which provides a safe haven for women and children escaping domestic violence, including a 24-hour helpline, refuge accommodation and aftercare support, also picked up an award.
The refuge was founded in 1984, and has grown considerably since then.
Other winners on the night were the Corby Sports Forum and the Corby Deep Roots Tall Trees.