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Community champions celebrated at annual awards

Published: Friday, 13th December 2019

Unsung community heroes, nominated by fellow residents, were celebrated as part of an annual awards event organised by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

The event, which has been running for four years, took place for all of the finalists at the Harold Clowes Hall at Bentilee Neighbourhood Centre.

It celebrates efforts made by people who go above and beyond the call of duty (ABCD) to help their local community. There was also an award for best kept gardens in the city. Council tenants, private tenants and homeowners were eligible to be nominated in all of the categories.

A total of seven awards were presented during the ceremony.

Volunteer Bernard Lovatt won one of four ABCD awards for his voluntary work at the Shirley Bone Flint Mill and Etruria Industrial Museum in Etruria:

“This is the first time I’ve been involved in the Resident’s Celebration event. I was surprised to have been nominated, and even more so to have been named a winner.”

Bernard, the secretary and treasurer for the Shirley’s Bone and Flint Mill Volunteers CIO, was nominated for his dedication to helping make improvements to the museum by applying for funding, leading activities and events, and working to engage with young people.

He is now encouraging others to take an active role in their communities:

“It is hard work but it is also very rewarding. People can learn a lot from working in their communities and can help achieve something for everybody.”

The Best Kept Community Garden was awarded to Penkhull Village Community Garden.

Sarah Hill, one of the volunteers from Penkhull Resident’s Association who maintain the garden, said:

“We took over the patch of land which is now the community garden about a year ago. It’s in a prominent position at the entrance to the village and the Resident’s Association thought it would be good if it provided a brighter welcome.

“We’ve been working on it throughout the year – planting spring bulbs, adding perennials and grasses. We’ve also added a herb bed where anyone can come and help themselves.

“As well as being an asset for our community, we wanted to add as many flowers as possible which would attract insects and wildlife.

“The response to the garden has been great – it’s lovely when people stop to tell us how it makes them smile whenever they go by and it’s brilliant to have won this award recognising our work.”

Councillor Randy Conteh, the city council’s cabinet member for communities and safer city, said: “I’d like to offer my congratulations to all of this year’s winners and nominees. These awards are a really important way of saying thank you to all our residents for going that extra mile.

“These people work tirelessly to bring their communities together and to make the areas they live in welcoming spaces.”

Councillor Joanne Powell-Beckett, the city council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Our residents are the essence of our communities – they make houses homes and our communities great places to live.

“These awards are an important part of showcasing their hard work and showing them how much we appreciate their dedication.

“Well done to all of the winners and nominees.”

For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232395 (journalists only)