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Monday, May 23, 2022

Shropshire’s Outstanding Community Awards 2022 launched

An awards scheme to showcase the very best Shropshire communities has been launched and applications are now open!

Karen Roper, Wellington Town Council; Andy Neal, West Mercia Search and Rescue; Jo Cooper, The Community Foundation and Sally Themans, Shropshire's Outstanding Community Steering Group officially launch this year's Shropshire's Outstanding Community Awards
Karen Roper, Wellington Town Council; Andy Neal, West Mercia Search and Rescue; Jo Cooper, The Community Foundation and Sally Themans, Shropshire’s Outstanding Community Steering Group officially launch this year’s Shropshire’s Outstanding Community Awards

Shropshire’s Outstanding Community Awards were first held last year with five winners named across four categories – all receiving a plaque, certificate and cash prize to be spent within their community.

The awards are organised by The Community Foundation and recognise the community spirit which is thriving across the county along with all the hard work which goes in locally to make such a difference to people’s lives.

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This year’s Shropshire’s Outstanding Community Awards will focus on three categories: Small Community/Village; Large Community/Village/Town; Community Group/Organisation.

Jo Cooper, The Foundation’s business development officer, said: “The awards are designed to showcase Shropshire’s communities, thriving and vibrant areas which deserve to be recognised and celebrated.

“Last year was the first time we staged the awards but with it taking place against the backdrop of Covid, celebrations were limited so this feels a bit like our first year all over again and we are hoping as many communities as possible in Shropshire will take part.

“Communities came together and showed off the best of the best during Covid and should be applauded for that. This level of unity and desire to help others has continued as communities are doing their bit to prepare for the arrival of families from Ukraine as that crisis deepens.

“Local communities are also blessed with volunteers who are so important in running groups for young and elderly people, parents and babies who need support, youth clubs and a host of other local groups and organisations which come together to provide the events, contact, meetings and interaction so vital for so many in our communities.

“They are running services which help combat things like isolation and domestic violence, offer support to the homeless and unemployed and make such a difference in so many ways. Whatever your community is doing we would like you to apply for an Outstanding Community Award.”

To apply for an award, visit  https://shropshire.foundation/

The Community Foundation manages philanthropic giving, from people and businesses who want to give something back and make a difference in their local community and has been working in the county since 2016.

Last year’s award winners were: Shropshire Large Village category: Belle Vue & Coleham Community Action Group; Shropshire Small Village category: Edgmond; Shropshire Community Organisation category: West Mercia Search and Rescue; Shropshire Town category joint winners: Wellington Town Council, Church Stretton Town Council.

Andy Neal, of West Mercia Search and Rescue, said: “We have been training some new Swift Water Rescue Technicians and for them to become operational they need some pretty expensive equipment. We have decided to put the grant towards the cost of this water safety PPE, contributing the balance from our reserves.

“This enables us to put another two qualified local rescuers on the water in times of crisis. We were on 24-hour standby when the recent flooding hit our area, and have been heavily involved in the recent searches in Shrewsbury for the missing young men. These are the sorts of situations we can continue to respond to with this kind of help and support.”

Councillor Allan Wilson, Chairman of Edgmond Parish Council, said: “The award money was earmarked in equal amounts towards two projects in the village, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations in June and the improvement of the Edgmond Children’s Play Area and its refurbishment fund.

“To promote interest in the refurbishment campaign, a supplementary amount of the award money was used to contribute towards the purchasing of two picnic tables and two benches in the play area. The one picnic table is wheelchair accessible and all four items were placed in a position to enable families to attend the play area and watch their children play.”

John Ingham, Chair of Belle Vue & Coleham Community Action Group, said: “We are using part of the prize money to start a defibrillator fund with the remaining money being used to purchase bunting etc to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

“Permission has been received to site the defibrillator outside the Prince of Wales pub in Bynner Street and fundraising events are being held in the near future to allow the group to purchase the defibrillator. The bunting will be placed in the heart of our community.”

Councillor Andy Munro, of Church Stretton Town Council, said: “We are going to use the money to help launch an awards programme for the town. We have such wonderful volunteers here in Church Stretton and we think they should also be recognised for what we do.

“We were very pleased to have won the award. We recognise this was a new initiative and wish it all the very best in the future. The advantages of having a community fund in Shropshire are self-evident and we are happy to do everything we can to support it.”

Sally Themans, of Love Wellington, said: “Over the weekend of July 2nd and 3rd we are running a Wellington Open Gardens Weekend which will be a real celebration of our town. On the Sunday afternoon, we are inviting representatives from all the community groups in Wellington to come to a celebratory tea party to thank them for their commitment to our community and to celebrate Wellington winning the award.

“We think that this recognition is really important and it will also help gel our community and all the volunteers who do so much to improve Wellington. The tea party, which is by invitation, will be held at Sunnycroft and will be attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire and the High Sheriff.”

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