Community awards celebrate local heroes

Photo caption: L–R: Fiona Bull, Fortis Living, Perry Wood Project; Mike Cresswell and Nikki-Ann Davies, DAFFY; Chloe Saxon, winner; Sophie Kenny, winner; Shirley Milton, winner; Sam Sinderberry, winner; Tom Piotrowski, Fortis Living, Perry Wood Project; Suzanne Beston, Headteacher of Perry Wood School and Tom Rose and Paul Oakley, Fortis Living, The Grove Project.

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Finalists at a special awards ceremony are celebrating after contributions within their local communities were recently recognised.

The awards – which are organised on an annual basis by social landlord Fortis Living – recognise the support and involvement of Fortis Living customers and local groups whose actions have had a positive impact on their community.

The ceremony took place on Wednesday 5 December at the University of Worcester Arena, with the awards presented by BBC Hereford and Worcester’s Andrew Easton.

The following category winners were unveiled :

Young Volunteer of the Year – this award, for a young dedicated volunteer aged 13 to 18 years who has made a positive impact with their volunteering, was awarded to Sophie Kenny. Sophie, aged 14 who lives in Droitwich, was announced as the winner for her incredible volunteering efforts for The Royal British Legion in the town. She helps at festivals and remembrance events, attends meetings and creates designs for her local branch, always with a smile on her face.

Volunteer of the Year – Chloe Saxon was honoured with the title for her dedication in supporting a wide range of activities that benefit Fortis communities. She is a valued member of the team at Himbleton House, volunteering every day. She fits her volunteering in with her college work, helping in any way she can. She never fails to make newcomers feel welcome and she is always willing to lend a hand. She says that the residents are like family to her.

Community Involvement Award – this award was won by Shirley Milton; Shirley has supported people with drug and alcohol issues, overcoming literacy issues herself to support others to learn English. In total, she has raised £12,000 for community projects and local charities.

Inspirational Award – this award recognises ordinary people doing extraordinary things. David Wright, aged 75 years old, suffers from cancer but despite his own health problems helped a neighbour who had issues with the condition of his property by cleaning and decorating his flat, working so hard that his neighbour is no longer in breach of his tenancy.

Positive Changes Award – awarded to Sam Sinderberry, Sam is a member with SpeakEasy Now and co-chair of The People’s Parliament Project, which helps people with learning disabilities speak up for themselves on issues that are important to them. Sam also helped Fortis Living to develop an Easy Read summary of the tenancy agreement, held awareness-raising learning disability workshops and reviewed the way Fortis Living manages queries from customers with learning difficulties.

Group Community Project – this award was presented to DAFFY or Droitwich Action for Future Youth; DAFFY helps young people in Westlands, Droitwich by putting in endless time and effort with people who need it the most. It also runs a children’s club for the younger ones on the estate, organising activities and food.

During the evening those attending were asked to vote for the winning Communities Week Project of the Year; both Perry Wood School and The Grove School garden makeovers received the same number of votes and both were crowned as winners.

Chris Reed, Community Engagement Team Leader said : “As ever, the standard of entries for this year’s Fortis Awards was extremely high, which always makes the decision process a difficult one. Each and every one of them has made such a positive difference within their communities. We are thrilled to announce the winners, the event truly celebrated their fantastic achievements as well as providing concrete evidence that community spirit is well and truly alive! We would like to congratulate them all!”

The event also raised a fantastic £421.40 for Acorns Children’s Hospice, bringing the total raised by Fortis for the charity to £1,724.06 this year.

The event was kindly sponsored by Travis Perkins Managed Services, Estilo Interiors Limited, DJD Architects, Anthony Collins Solicitors, CEF, Speller Metcalfe and Saxonby.