Community Awards 2022

Vote for your Community Group of the Year 2022

This year the public will decide the winner and runner-up in our Community Group of the Year category. This award is for a community group or organisation that has improved the quality of life for residents within the district of Blaby. The award honours the achievement within the group’s community and the difference they make to local residents. The winner will receive £1,000 and the runner-up will receive £500 for their group. 

Eleven organisations have been nominated and voting is open between Monday 28 November and Friday 16 December 2022. Read more about each group before casting your vote either using the button below or by calling 0116 272 7566 for a postal voting form. You may only vote once. The information given about each group below has been provided solely by the individual nominating and not Blaby District Council. 

The Community Group of the Year Nominees are:

38th Enderby and Narborough Scout Group

This scout group is amazing and go above and beyond for all its members. They give the children so many different experiences to take part in as well as learning to support the community and the world around them. They kept going during Covid and supported the children and families by carrying out online groups and activities which helped to give the children some normality during this strange time. They provide weekly activities that support children to learn new things like how to make fires, Tomahawk throwing, fire prevention, raft building, abseiling, bike riding and maintenance lessons, cooking, building shelters, take them camping, show them how to tie knots, play games to support mental health and so much more. They also will run work days where the children go out in the community and litter pick, help with gardening and clearing and tidying the local park. This year the 38th scouts made a promise to the planet and looked at recycling and collected lots of items around the community and their homes which was then taken to the local co-op who recycled their items.

Sarah and James, the main leaders, and all their other helpers have given so many children new and amazing experiences and have helped them to understand how to become better members of the community. They have given the children of Enderby and Narborough long life experiences which have given them a better understanding of how to be a great member of the community and how to become a better person through everyday activities. The two leaders give up their free time not only during the week but at weekends to show the children how to be better members of the community, support local families and give everyone the opportunity to take part in new activities. We love everything they do and they deserve to be recognised in these awards.

Badgerbrook Parents, Teachers and Friends Association (PTFA)

Our Head Teacher initiated the creation of the PTFA in late 2021 after ‘Friends of Badgerbrook’ closed prior to the pandemic. Like all schools, Badgerbrook has been heavily impacted by the pandemic and our school and community needed a boost. Despite the initial meeting only attracting six people, we formed an amazing Committee of 14 spanning most year groups and became a PTFA on 4 November 2021. Our mission is to: bring together parents/carers, school staff, pupils and friends of the school; run events to promote/enhance the sense of school community; raise funds to provide additional resources/educational opportunities; and finally, to have fun!

As a new Committee, we have been on a phenomenal journey. Initially, we could only meet virtually. We now have an active Facebook group, monthly newsletters and regularly attend assemblies to celebrate how much the children have raised. Our brilliant PTFA Link Teacher is always on hand to answer questions, share events and news with staff, encourage participation at events and inform us where our funds are most needed. Our Chair meets termly with the Senior Leadership Team and has set up a local PTFA support group with four schools. We have actively established links with our Governing Body, local community and School Student Council. These are a massive asset to a new charity like us and have provided support, donations, advice and shared resources. Our Asda Community Champion has served refreshments at school events and supported us to win our first grant to create a Jubilee Reflection Garden. We even had a pupil’s aunt in Essex laying out our circus brochure as a ‘Friend of Badgerbrook’!

Events to date have been a careful balance of free/low-cost events and a more expensive summer circus. This, along with our ‘Helping Hands’ initiative (which offers free or discounted tickets for our events), enables us to run accessible events that: create new social experiences for our children (discos, pop-up Someone Special shops, free to enter competitions, Jubilee best in show, Roald Dahl chocolate challenge); enable parents to socialise (Christmas lights trail, summer circus, new starters’ event, Christmas fayre); have environmental impact (textile recycling, second-hand book and uniform sales); and model the benefit of supporting your school.

To date we have funded almost £8,000 worth of resources: a full make-over of the class gardens, a new compost bin and litter picking equipment; new playground equipment and classroom resources for each year; £3,600 of new library books and a huge bundle of second hand books which will be given to children for free; 10 African drums along with teacher training to support children with emotional and social difficulties; software to support SEND pupils; several STEM activities. The school also now has a visiting book fairy 'Bella' - through her handmade wooden box, she donates books every year to each class. We have ongoing commitments of around £4,000 and are currently liaising with the school on how funds can be used to support their School Improvement Plan and have a lasting impact on the pupils and school community. We have many more events planned and aim to sustain the PTFA through good teamwork, saying thank you (a lot), a sense of humour and making the most of everybody’s individual strengths whilst encouraging people to learn new skills. Future plans include an Instagram page, child-free events and co-submitting grants with local community partners.

Our Chair of Governors says: "Badgerbrook PTFA was established in November 2021 and has exceeded all of my expectations. What they have achieved in such a short amount of time is truly phenomenal! Their events are always well planned and executed and they have totally rejuvenated the Badgerbrook community after a two-year gap since our previous PTFA disbanded. This is exactly what the staff, pupils and parents/carers needed following a pandemic that left children and families unable to mix. They have also established an excellent working relationship with the Governing Body and made links to the local community (the Church nearby, local businesses – both small independents and large corporates). The PTFA have been highly successful in raising funds not only through their events, but also by seeking donations from individuals, local companies and community grants. With the funds they have raised, they are making a significant impact on the educational experiences of our children. They have provided additional STEM activities via a visiting pop-up planetarium and they are working with the local company and an after-school club provider with the aim of setting up a science club. Our next Year 6 visit to Warning Zone will now be fully funded rather than being paid for by parents as it has been previously. In response to the school’s improvement plan, the PTFA have raised £3,600 through donations and an Usborne Community Book Pledge to buy new books to help rejuvenate and diversify our ageing library stock. These, along with their second-hand book sales, will support the school to instil a passion for books into our children for many years. The PTFA have also developed a strong relationship with an Usborne representative who now regularly attends school events and has facilitated a visit from the award-winning author, Serena Patel, which the PTFA funded. They won the Asda Green Token award last month and will spend the money raised on even more books. Early this year, they launched their ‘Helping Hands’ initiative. Our Pupil Premium numbers are lower than the national average despite areas of low-income in the area. The PTFA have been keen to acknowledge that we have families who struggle financially, especially after the pandemic, and haven’t wanted financial issues to prevent children from being included in their events. For every event they run, they offer free/discounted tickets to families who can sign up confidentially with no questions asked. To date, this scheme has enabled children to take home presents for their ‘Someone Special’, enjoy free doughnuts, receive free family tickets to the summer circus and receive signed books at the upcoming author event. The support provided impacts both the parents and children and should not be underestimated. The legacy that the PTFA is creating is amazing. Their events provide the children with new social experiences (our year 3 students attended their very first school disco this year), amazing memories and shows everyone in the Badgerbrook community the powerful effect of volunteering. We are lucky to have them!"

Commbus

They give a very worthwhile service in getting people out - whether it’s shopping, social events, or day trips. All people involved are volunteers. After the pandemic Commbus has helped people to get back to normal. Most of the travellers live on their own so it is a great boost to them in meeting people again. The pickup area now includes Sapcote, Sharnford and Stoney Stanton so fuel costs have risen, not just because of increased fuel cost but journeys are longer.

Connect Blaby Together

Connect Blaby Together is a voluntary group providing a network of support throughout Blaby. They offer practical assistance and befriending to local residents who are in need or vulnerable, lending a helping hand where it's needed. Over the past three years, this group has worked tirelessly without recognition. They have completed over 850 errands for residents who rely on this service to do their shopping, get medicine, take people to hospital appointments and be their friend and someone to talk to. Without these wonderful people of nearly 20 volunteers, many people in Blaby would be worse off.

Mission:Foodbank

Since COVID-19 hit the UK, Julianna and her team at Mission:Foodbank in Enderby have made sure that the people of the local area have never gone without groceries or other items in their time of need. Nothing is too much trouble, helping the local community with food parcels and general items. Without their support a lot of people would go hungry.

Enderby Lawn Tennis Club

Enderby Lawn Tennis Club was founded in 1937 and in 2019 became a charity with the aim of providing tennis for everyone. The club is run entirely by volunteers and provides tennis for people of all ages on its three floodlit all weather courts. The club has almost 180 members, including almost 70 juniors. Membership is not required to book courts and with the help of the Lawn Tennis Association, Sport England and Blaby District Council the club installed a new smart access gate that means anyone can use the online system to book courts seven days a week from 8am to 10pm. In 2022 the club started to provide free rackets and balls for anyone who booked a court with the aim of encouraging more people to try tennis and get the great physical and mental health benefits of playing the sport.

The club has signed a new lease that secures the use of the courts for 35 years. The club developed and implemented a campaign to encourage people to play tennis called "Tennis For Everyone" and the courts have been used by approximately 700 unique individual non-members in the 12 months to August 2022, many of them using the free rackets and balls and going on to play multiple times. Overall, there were almost 17,000 visits to the courts in the year, and the number of Pay and Play users has increased by 450% since the three years before the introduction of the smart access gate and online booking.

The club provided 20 free coaching sessions for Danemill Primary School and term time free sessions for adults with learning difficulties from the Enderby Adult Education Centre. The club ran a free women and girls only session which attracted almost 30 participants and a separate free session was held for the Girl Guides. Club members ran an event that raised over £600 for Ukraine and the club provided free membership to two refugee families. Over 60 children receive coaching every week and there are well-attended sessions held every Monday and Friday mornings for older players in a more relaxed environment. More competitive sessions are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays and the club fields 13 teams in the Leicestershire tennis leagues over the sporting year and several of the teams have won promotion in the past year.

The Club will be working with other charities to expand the delivery of free disability tennis and to introduce Tennis For Free sessions, both of which will be run by a coach. The Club is aiming to install LED floodlights in 2023, which will reduce power consumption by 50% and reduce CO2 emissions. The Club is also seeking to install a defibrillator that will be available to all members of the public.

Epworth Forest Juniors Football Club

As a club we are committed to help girls and boys within the local communities become more physically active with improved well-being, increased physical literacy by way of early introduction into football. The club is currently set up to welcome children from five year-olds right through to development participation (11 to 14 years old) with a hope that they will continue the pathway through to football for all and beyond. We are extremely focused to help all girls develop confidence and competence to play football at school and in a community setting. The club is also proud to have achieved the requirements to receive the accredited club status from the English Football Association.

The club's original concept was to provide girls within the local communities a platform to come and play football with no costs involved on a free for all basis. At the end of 2020 the club was one of the largest “free to play” girls setups in the UK. As the club has increased in size so have the running costs meaning the club couldn’t continue to operate on a “free to all play” and in September 2021 the difficult decision was taken to introduce minimum subs to certain age groups. The Club is also a registered Weetabix Girls Wildcats Centre where twice a week we invite all girls within any of the local communities to enjoy our free sessions with the aim that they will make new friends, improve communications and life skills, learn the value of team work, and have lots of fun whilst leaning to play football.

The club on a weekly basis supplies the platform for inspiring positive change with equal opportunities for all regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or religion. This has allowed Epworth Forest to provide and celebrate helping to deliver over four hundred hours per week of active playing time across its members/coaches and opposition teams. We also pride ourselves on providing a safe place for all. As a result of the efforts/funding secured by the club, Stafford Leys Primary School now has a defibrillator installed on site for emergency use. A defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to someone who is in cardiac arrest. This high energy shock is called defibrillation and is an essential part of trying to save the life of someone who’s in cardiac arrest. We also support various schools/other community clubs around the district by the way of community bookings for paid use of their facilities.

The club was originally formed in 1989 to give local boys an opportunity to play football and has been a successful part of the community ever since. Under the guidance of the reformed committee and support of the dedicated volunteers the club continues to flourish and continues to grow attempting to meet the demands of the locals communities it serves. Currently two members of the reformed committee represented the club at junior level from under 10s upwards and 25 plus years later continue to represent the club for the next generation. This dedication by all has seen Epworth Forest have an increased requirement for additional football teams from seven teams in 2015 to the current 17 teams which is a 143% increase. We are also currently preparing for a further increase next season to 20 teams which is a 185% increase from 2015. The above has been made possible by the 25 plus volunteers who every week commit their free time to provide the platform for the club’s members to come and enjoy high-quality experiences that are full of fun and laughter. We hope this commitment will ensure our players thrive, fulfil their potential and stay active playing the game for as long as possible.

Over the last 12 months the club can celebrate delivering over twenty thousand hours of active play time which is more than 930 full days. In this period, we are very proud to currently have the largest girls section within Blaby District with an amazing 15 girls' teams across the age groups of 5 to 13 years old training and playing each week with over 180 registered players. This season the club has also formed a ladies team where on a weekly basis over 25 ladies train together with the team playing in the Leicestershire Women's & Girls Football league. The ladies team has been formed to enable the final pathway of football for all to be achieved. As a club we have also recognised that there is a shortage of boys' teams within the local communities and have put the foundations in place to improve the platform to develop a boys section to run alongside the girls setup with the aim of introducing at least one new under 7 team each season. Like the girls set up the interest has been really positive and there are already enough players to form a second under 7 team this season.

Like all community groups the club faces many challenges around funding and facilities. These vital elements create the biggest risks to the sustainability of club. To keep the girls playing through the development participation pathway age group (11 to 14 years) we must harness football’s power to build and maintain self-esteem, alongside keeping fit, making friends and having fun. These are ends in themselves, but we will also need a defined pathway in place to mitigate girls dropping out of football in their teenage years through lack of opportunity/facilities to keep playing.

As confirmed within the FA's “Inspiring Positive Change - Women's Football Strategy 2020-24”, this is a critical age when many girls experience declining body confidence and negative attitudes towards sport. So, removing barriers and making football more relevant to young girls’ lives is essential. Football can play a really important role in developing vital life skills such as resilience and self-confidence, as well as improving emotional and physical fitness during this key life phase. Providing adequate changing facilities is an absolute requirement to meet the above and is essential to prevent girls dropping out of football/sport in their teenage years. Currently our changing facilities do not meet the minimum requirements set out by the FA which is something the club are in real need of help to overcome.

Forever Savvy

Forever Savvy is a non-profit organisation that provides vocational training to disabled adults in and around Blaby. Forever Savvy has been running for 11 years helping over 30 disabled adults across its four centres. The four centres are Horse Savvy, teaching how to work with animals as well as playing games with the horses every day. Creative Savvy, using their creative sides to build amazing sculptures out of old pallets and learning how to look after the land in their allotments. Cafe Savvy, learning how to interact with customers and make tasty foods and drinks. Work Savvy, helping them transition into a job with ongoing support from Forever Savvy.

Over the 11 years of Forever Savvy, they have successfully helped several disabled adults into full paid work, as well as giving them continued support. Forever Savvy has over 20 current clients over their centres working towards independence and potential work. They also support disabled adults to find funding and support from social services for all their needs.

Gather Create Grow (Cosby Yarn Bomb)

Started by Mel and Natalie, two people with great artistic imagination, they recruited a few crafters and “yarn bombed” Cosby. It was such a huge success they developed this and it gets better each year. Mel and Natalie are still the driving force behind the group, both creatively and socially. The Village is visited now each year by hundreds of visitors. More and more villagers become involved.

For several years this group, with their two leaders Mel and Natalie, have organised a Yarn Bomb in Cosby. Initially just one in late summer, but then adding displays on Halloween, Christmas, Royal Events etc. From this base they developed this year to run a huge Village Event concentrating of the wellbeing of Villagers, bringing them together after the Covid restrictions. This included the presence of many different Wellbeing Groups for those still suffering. To assist with the preparation of the Yarn Bomb they have recruited a large number of volunteers, helped them learn/improve their Craft Skills, and provided a thriving social group which meet regularly for crafting and a chat.

Hopefully many people will have visited Cosby while the Summer Yarn Bomb was in progress and will have been amazed by the imagination of the two leaders on display as well as the workmanship of the very many villagers making and displaying their work. I have no idea what the financial boost to the village has been, but cafes and shops (and the famous Fish and Chip shop) do a roaring trade during the Summer Yarn Bomb. The village is proud of its display.

Narborough and Littlethorpe Community Library

In 2017 Narborough Library would have closed to the public but for a group of community-spirited residents who decided to keep the library open by it becoming a Community Managed Library. Therefore the library is now called Narborough and Littlethorpe Community Library and is entirely managed, funded and run by volunteers in our community.

Narborough and Littlethorpe Community Library not only provide a book borrowing service they provide many Community groups that contribute to the wellbeing of the residents of both villages.
Throughout the Covid pandemic they continued to provide book borrowing either through the Select and Collect scheme or by home delivery. Volunteers were keen to keep the book borrowing service going even though it meant hours of time being spent quarantining books and cleaning them ready for them to be used again. As soon as library volunteers were able to they returned to their previous shifts working as librarians where they were pleased to welcome residents back. The library is self-managed therefore volunteers are responsible for the building's internal maintenance. One volunteer takes on the responsibility of cleaning and managing the health and safety, one volunteer manages all of the routine servicing of alarms, lighting, heating etc. There is a small committee consisting of Trustees and other volunteers that manage the day-to-day running of the library and coordinate the lovely volunteers.

The library volunteers run the following community groups:

  • Wriggly Readers - a weekly preschool group for the children, their parents and carers. This is well attended and has seen parents forge new friendships and the children develop a love of stories in readiness for school
  • Digital Drop In - a weekly session for those who want to develop their digital skills. Whether it is getting to grips with a new phone or filling in online forms, the volunteers help in a friendly relaxed environment. Some members of the group return every week building confidence and making friends
  • Busy Hands and Minds is a fortnightly group where members can take part in craft activities, play games or just socialise. The group has been responsible for the wonderful knitted displays outside the library making the library a real focal point of the village
  • Book Club - our newest group meets monthly to read and discuss the new read or share good reads with the rest of the group

All of the groups run with only a £1 charge for the refreshments. As a self-funded library has to raise funds to continue to offer the activities it does and keep its doors open, volunteers organise and run fundraising events such as the Summer and Winter raffles, fayres, book sales, Craft Evenings and Quizzes to raise much-needed funds. Without all of the volunteers who help run the library both villages would lose this wonderful asset which is there for the benefit of the whole community.

Wombles in Litter Education

Two men, both retired who are also ‘Womble’ litter pickers, three years ago started to do presentations in school assemblies on litter, teaching school children how long litter lasts, and the damage done to our wildlife and planet.  It is a service provided to schools in addition to their school curriculum activities and it has been taken on by the education community in our county. They visit mainly schools having been to 95 schools and been seen by nearly 20,000 children. In addition they will visit any community groups who ask, all carried out for free to anyone who asks.

The group were winners of the Environmental award in BBC Radio Leicester's Make A Difference Awards.

Vote now

Please use the button below to vote or call 0116 272 7566 to request a postal voting form.

Prizes

Category A - Volunteer of the Year

First Prize – £100

Second Prize - £50

Category B - Young Volunteer of the Year

First Prize - £100

Second Prize - £50

Category C - Community Group of the Year

First Prize - £1000

Second Prize - £500

Winners and runners-up in categories A and B will also be given the opportunity to nominate a local community group/organisation to receive £750 (winner) and £500 (runner-up) respectively.  The nominated group/organisation must be a voluntary or community sector group or organisation based within Blaby District or one that directly benefits residents of the district, with a formal constitution or governing document.

We would like to acknowledge and thank our generous sponsors for funding this year's Community Awards:

  • BHIB Charities Insurance is sponsoring the individual Volunteer of the Year prizes
  • Central England Co-operative is sponsoring the individual Young Volunteer of the Year prizes
  • All group prizes are being funded by proceeds from the Love Blaby Lottery's Blaby District Community Fund so a big thank you also to our lottery supporters
  • Jessup Partnerships is sponsoring the awards ceremony that will take place in January 2023
Last updated 29 November 2022
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