Community Action IW had a record of 70 entries for their 2014 Awards which were divided into eight categories. A shortlist of 25 was drawn up before a judging panel decided the winners.
Some past winners have gone on to receive the Queen’s Award, which was launched in 2002, at the time of the Golden Jubilee. Last year, both the Footprint Trust and the Street Pastors received royal endorsement.
IW County Press was the main sponsor with a number of sub sponsors for each category. There was a £50 cash prize for third place, £100 for the runners up and winners received £250, in each class.
In the sport section, sponsored by Wightlink, Brading Town Colts Youth FC was victorious. Currently they have some 130 members and the club is running an ambitious 5 year plan.
Community Action IW itself supported Arts and Heritage. Here, St Mildred’s Church and Hall, Whippingham got the nod for honours. Dating from Norman Times the church was rebuilt in the 1900s to a design by John Nash. Over 30 thousand visitors visit the church and hall each year .There are 35 volunteers.
With insurers Norris and Fisher as sponsors the Village Halls and Community Buildings division saw Niton Village Hall, with its 200+regular users per week who take part in activities ranging from Ballet to Indoor Bowls, take the Award. In addition the hall is the base for the Horticultural Society.
In the Environment category IW AONB was the sponsor. Set up in 1990 the Wight Nature Fund was adjudged worthy winners. Over the years this body has purchased five areas of land and set up 5 environmental sites. When the judges were at one site a red squirrel made an opportune visit.
Island Healthcare, which has four homes on the Island supported the Older People section. 50 Plus Age Concern, Shanklin, which is keen to extend its brief took top marks. Formed in 1975 it has more than 110 members. Having its own mini-bus means it can undertake trips, some to the mainland and there are regular lunches.
IW Community Fund, which has in excess of £1million for Island charities took responsibility for the Children and Young People Award. Across The Board Surf School secured the title. Although a new group there has been much success in helping young people, especially those with Autism, gain confidence by undertaking surfing.
For Local Communities, sponsored by IW Council, Ryde based Waterside Community Trust was the winner. Having taken over the Waterside Swimming Pool in late 2011 the training of beach lifeguards is among their activities. There is a café and sauna as well as various water based activities.
Healthy Lives was the theme for the entrants sponsored by the IW NHS Clinical Commissioning Group. Based in Ventnor, Wight Futures was the successful entry. With a brief to help young people with challenging mental conditions they helped ten clients last year. In addition to this award Ingrid Voysey from Wight Futures was awarded the judge’s special award.
Taking all entrants into account for an overall prize, Across The Board Surf School was the runner up and received a £500 boost. Top honours went to the Waterside Community Trust, which proved a popular choice. Their reward was a shield and a £1,500 cash prize. This was presented to Ian Jenkins, Chairman of the Trustees.
Everyone was welcomed to the presentations by Patricia Partridge who said that Island life would be harder for some and heritage would be poorer if it was not for the volunteers. Mike Bulpitt, CEO Community Action IW was the host for the ceremony. Guests included representatives from the sponsors and the Lord Lieutenant Martin White who said the Island has one of the best records for community volunteers in the UK.
Alan Marriot (IWCP Editor) thanked all the entrants and said that he had had the job of selecting the 25 on the short list which was not an easy task with so much good community work being undertaken across the Island.