Judges have shortlisted ten Heart of the Community Award winners to celebrate community spirit and recognise neighbourhood achievement in Northampton.
The winners are The Lewis Foundation, Graham Croucher, Inderjit Jutla, James Richardson, Jane Langer, John Griff, Nick Stephens, Paul Scully-Sloan, Peter Lindfield and Teresa McCarthy, who were each nominated for striving to help make their communities better places to live, work and visit.
This year, the judges decided to give an additional ‘rising star’ award to Thomas Wareing, who at just ten years old, is the youngest person ever nominated.
The panel of independent judges consisted of the Mayor and Mayoress, the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress, Father Oliver Coss, Rector of All Saints Church, and representatives from NN Live Community Radio and the Chronicle & Echo.
Councillor Gareth Eales (Lab, Spencer) said: “We received some wonderful nominations this year, which made the shortlisting process extremely difficult.
"However, we felt that these groups and individuals really stood out for inspiring and supporting others and helping to make the town a better place for everyone.
“We’re looking forward to saying a big thank you to all the winners during the awards ceremony.”
The winners will be congratulated by the Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Gareth Eales, at an awards evening in the Guildhall on Monday, April 30, where they will be joined by friends, family and nominators to receive their certificates.
The 2018 Heart of the Community Award Winners are:
The Lewis Foundation
The Lewis Foundation is a charity supporting cancer in patients receiving treatment at Northampton General Hospital. The volunteers give up their time to visit patients on the wards, have a chat and hand out free gift packs containing things like books, toiletries and sweets. They work hard to organise fundraising events and bring a smile to cancer patient’s faces.
As chairman of the St James Residents Association, Graham works tirelessly for the residents of St James, tackling local issues and problems. He puts in an extraordinary amount of hours attending meetings with the Borough Council and also supports the Friends of the Library and Friends of Victoria Park groups. He wants to make the community a safer, nicer and brighter place to live.
Inderjit set up the Langar Seva in Northampton four years ago, bringing together members of the Sikh and other faith communities to feed homeless people in Abington Street each week. She also volunteers at the night shelter and the Hope Centre and is a member of the Northampton Interfaith Forum, to promote unity and understanding between faiths.
James manages and delivers weekly multi-sports sessions to young people as part of the Northampton Street Sports Programme, which provides young people at risk of committing anti-social behaviour or entering the criminal justice system with free opportunities to participate in structured activity. James participated in the project, then completed over 350 hours of voluntary work and gained a level 1 FA coaching qualification. He has a passion for coaching and a desire to help young people follow in his footsteps.
Since taking the post of St James Library Manager, Jane has enriched the community so much through her sunny, caring nature and the enthusiasm with which she has organised so many things for the library, including rhyme time for toddlers and mummies, knit and natter groups, reading challenges, health walks, craft activities, a language cafe, after school activities and holiday events. She has also developed a beautiful garden in the library yard.
John has spent his life supporting the Northamptonshire community, tirelessly giving his time to help companies, community groups and charities in many ways. In the last 10 years John has been a presenter on BBC Radio Northampton hosting the Afternoon Show – a program offering a voice to individuals with projects or causes and local community groups, enabling them to promote awareness of their support services, events, education and culture.
Nick formed the Buddies of Beckets group three years ago with just a few members. It now has almost 40 active members, who work very hard to improve the park environment, arranging litter picks, planting bulbs and new trees, cleaning signs and organising events. The group has improved the park for all and has promoted community cohesion by encouraging a variety of groups, charities, faiths and BME communities to attend events and help in the work they do.
Paul has set up a Northampton based charity called Daddy’s with Angels, which provides support for fathers who have suffered the loss of a child, to make sure they are not alone in grieving. His motivation comes from his experience of grieving and the challenges he faced. Paul's ambitions come from a place of suffering and grief, however he is turning this into a positive message.
Peter is the longest-serving volunteer at the Northampton Volunteer Car Scheme, having dedicated 20 years of his life to helping those in need in his local community. He supports elderly and disabled people in Northampton to get to their medical appointments and offers vital support to vulnerable adults who have no other means of transport. He is a friendly face and a listening ear.
Teresa has run the Swan and Helmet for the last 12 years, a friendly Irish pub loved by regular customers and newcomers. Teresa and her team put huge time and effort into raising awareness and funds for local causes, hosting regular gala dinners and quiz nights at the pub. They organise the Speedy Cup on the Racecourse each summer to raise money for Cynthia Spencer, and hosted Northampton’s first ever St Patrick’s Day Street Festival to celebrate Irish culture.
Thomas Wareing- Rising Star Award
Thomas is a fantastic person with a kind and caring nature. He helps to feed the homeless on a Sunday night with the Langar Seva and distributes coats and other items of clothing to them which he has collected from family members. Helping the homeless has really helped Thomas with his social skills and confidence. He’s described as a fine young lad who is a credit to his family.