Community Awards honour local dedication
South Cambridgeshire District Council’s annual Community Awards have highlighted the superstars of our communities, including a ‘Village Hero’ who was nominated by more than 50 people.
The awards are run every year to shine the spotlight on people and organisations who are at the heart of their neighbourhoods. Last night (Thursday 8 March) saw all nominees invited to an awards ceremony at the Council’s HQ, South Cambridgeshire Hall in Cambourne. Local scientist Dame Mary Archer DBE was the keynote speaker.
Susan Meah from Longstanton received a total of 52 nominations for the Village Hero category, with judges rewarding her with the title that recognises an outstanding contribution to village life. Susan was picked out for her work with the local church, primary school, baby and toddler groups and on music sessions, as well as for her local fundraising efforts, volunteering and constant support of young families. During the nomination process, she was described as ‘an outstanding member of the community’, ‘going above and beyond to help people in the village’, ‘supporting families and children in a variety of ways’ and ‘the heart and soul of Longstanton’.
The Parish Councillor of the Year accolade was presented to Michael Cropley from Eltisley. Having been a Parish Councillor for more than 50 years, Michael was described as having ‘worked tirelessly for the benefit of the village’. On his nomination, his work relating to Eltisley Village Green Trust was described as being ‘invaluable in maintaining this historic open space for the benefit of all’.
The Outstanding Youth Initiative award was presented to Dr Sujit Bhattacharya of the Cambourne Electronics and Robotics Club. Dr Bhattacharya runs the club, which started around his kitchen table, for children from eight to 14 years old. It is now held over two sessions on Sundays and attended by more than 30 students. The activities were described as ‘empowering the youth in the community with the necessary digital skills that are essential in today’s world’ that will ‘develop tomorrow’s innovators’.
Bev Savage of the Fulbourn Community Car Scheme received the award for Outstanding Local Service or Amenity. Bev is the Co-Ordinator of the scheme and was described as being ‘instrumental’ in its establishment and continued running. The scheme is said to have been ‘vital’ in helping residents who don’t drive to attend doctor and hospital appointments along with shopping and leisure trips.
The Environment Award was presented to the Cambridgeshire Repair Café Network. This group was set up in 2016 by a group of volunteers, to match experienced repairers with people who need items fixed. They reduce waste, help share and maintain practical repair and re-use skills and are free, inclusive community-building events. The Cambridgeshire Repair Café Network have events in Fulbourn, Histon, Sawston, Shelford and Cottenham, with many more villages queuing up to become involved.
The winner of the Wellbeing Award was Julia Scarboro of the Papworth Runners. Julia set up the Papworth Runners group four years ago. The first session saw five runners attend. Now, the group has more than 215 members. Every member is now feeling the benefits of exercise. In addition to meeting up for runs, the group also raises money for local good causes, such as the provision of a defibrillator in Papworth, for the Papworth Trust and for a child in the village who needs specialist healthcare.
The evening was rounded-off with a Special Award, an accolade to reflect a fantastic achievement, which was presented to Lucy Davidson and Katie Crawford for their work on Icklestock, a community music festival held in September 2017 in the village of Ickleton. More than £8,000 was raised by this event, which is going towards replacing old playground equipment in Ickleton. The event is described as having brought together ‘individuals from throughout the Community’ to make the event ‘a massive success’. Lucy and Katie devoted almost four months to the project, working full time to arrange musicians, local food businesses, homemade cakes, a petting zoo, dedicated power supplies and security.
Cllr Mark Howell, the South Cambridgeshire District Council Cabinet Member who oversaw the awards, said: “What a fantastic evening and a wonderful way to celebrate the dedication, commitment and hard work of people who contribute so much to their communities. I want to again say a huge well done and thank you to not only the winners, but everyone who was nominated for an award. They all put in hour after hour of their own time for the benefit of their community. We’re lucky in South Cambridgeshire to be blessed with so many civic-minded members of society. I’m really, really proud.”
Cllr David McCraith, Chairman of South Cambridgeshire District Council, added: “We had a full house last night when we had the pleasure of so many incredibly talented and capable people coming together to celebrate. They are both individuals and representatives of organisations, all focussed on the good of their communities and neighbours. We really appreciate the award nominators too, and thank them for taking the time to put forward such a formidable collection of people and good work.”
The evening also saw the 29 local athletes, recently awarded grants under the Council’s Elite Athlete Award Scheme, officially presented with their funds. The programme is designed to assist able-bodied and disabled athletes from South Cambridgeshire, who are aiming to represent Team GB at world-class events like the Olympics and Paralympics.
Full list of winners:
- First place: Susan Meah, Longstanton
- Second place: Richard Newstead, Barton
- Joint third place: Richard Fletcher, Toft
- Joint third place: John Shepperson, Swavesey
Parish Councillor of the Year
- First place: Michael Cropley, Eltisley
- Second place: Nigel Pett, Stapleford
- Third place: Alex Schuilenburg, West Wickham
Outstanding Youth Initiative
- First Place: Dr Sujit Bhattacharya, Cambourne Electronics and Robotics Club
- Second Place: BMX Track Refurbishment Project, Gamlingay
- Third Place: EDGE Community Youth Club, Comberton
Outstanding Local Service / Amenity
- First place: Bev Savage, Fulbourn Community Car Scheme
- Second place: Ravinder Sangha, Abington Store & Post Office
- Third place: Linda & Colin Smith, Over
- First place: Cambridgeshire Repair Café Network
- Second place: Fulbourn Forum for Community Action
- Third place: Great Shelford Playscape
- First place: Julia Scarboro, Papworth Runners
- Second place: June Loosley & Betty Martin, The Craft Club, Grantchester
- Third place: Joe Ballard, Home Meadow Residential Care Home, Toft
Special Award 2018
- Lucy Davidson & Katie Crawford for Icklestock Festival