Providence Street Community Centre rolled out the red carpet as Freebridge Housing’s Community Awards were held on Monday.
The awards ceremony was attended by the borough mayor, David Whitby and Freebridge chief executive Tony Hall present at the event which included over 50 nominees across six categories.
The evening’s entertainment was provided by Sing Your Heart Out.
A group who through singing workshops bring people together, to enjoy themselves, and gain the very real benefits to mental health that arise from singing
The judging panel for the awards was made up of Tony Hall, chief executive at Freebridge, Ray Johnson, chair of the Freebridge Board, KL.FM presenter Simon Rowe and editor of the Lynn News, Mark Leslie. After extensive deliberation, Freebridge were delighted to announce the winners as:
Community Champion – Ann Wilson and Jenny Herring
Community Group – The Engaging Theatre Company
Good Neighbour – Michael Harrison
Inspiration to Others – David Foulkes
Role Model – Andris Vasilevskis
Employee Achievement Award – Issy Bishop
The award to Mr Foulkes, from Hunstanton, was the second piece of recognition in the past month.
In the Queen’s Birthday Honours’ List he was awarded a British Empire Medal for his tireless charity fundraising.
He has raised more than £27,000 for the Royal British Legion alone.
Andris Vasileviskis, winner of the role model award, was the youngest nominee this year.
A student studying plumbing, he is a football coach at Providence Street and was described as “brilliant with the kids and always jovial”.
Community champions, Ann Wilson and Jenny Herring, have started coffee mornings, lunches and craft afternoons in the communal room at Henry Bell Close in Gaywood. “Those girls have put in a lot of effort and I love coming up to the room now,” said one of the residents nominating them. “I have even started knitting; they work very hard and I really appreicate it.”
Michael Harrison won the Good Neighbour award for being “very friendly and caring ... “I feel safe with him next door as he watches out for me and keeps and eye on things if I’m away”.
The winner of the Employee Achievement Award, Issy Bishop, took over the running of the Waterside Scheme in January. She is working hard to organise a Sumemr Ball next month. She is also planning a Christmas fayre. She has also run a “PJ and Curry Night”. A nominator said: “A great example of making a positive difference to people and going above and beyond what we should expect.”
The Engaging Theatre Company was given the community group award for its workshops for children and adults with puppets. The nomination said: “It does not matter to them if you have a disability or learning difficulty, they can overcome this and they do not worry about if something goes wrong or you do or say the wrong thing; they carry on as they do not do ‘perfect’! As long as everyone has fun and has a good time that is what matters. Some workshops are just full of laughter.”
Mr Hall said: “Once again it has been a wonderful evening to be a part of.
“Every year we get to hear about the fantastic work that individuals and groups do to help our communities, with little thought for any personal gain.
“We have an exceptional group of tenants and their dedication to improving the lives of friends, neighbours and fellow residents is an inspiration to us all. We like to use this night to show our appreciation for all they have done to help the community.
“I would like to thank all those who sent in a nominations and the judging panel, who had some difficult decisions to make.”