Although the Community Action awards have been running for some years this was the first year for the renamed Rural Community Council, now Community Action IW to host the awards under its new name.
Held at The Riverside Centre, Newport the awards were hosted by the President of Community Action IW Patricia Partridge with Mike Bulpitt, Chief Executive Community Action IW, acting as compère. Patricia said that life on the Island would be infinitely harder and culturally poorer, but for the sterling service undertaken by an army of unpaid volunteers.
68 entries over seven categories
There were 68 entries for the awards, sponsored by the IW County Press, from across the Island. These awards, with a remit of ‘encouraging and rewarding the dedication within the voluntary sector’, were divided into seven categories with the winning entrant of every section receiving a £250 prize. 21 entries made the short list for judging.
Judging was undertaken by Robin Freeman, representing the main sponsors, Mike Bulpitt, and David Langford a past High Sheriff, who stood in for Patricia Partridge who was called to the mainland to attend the birth of her first grandchild.
Sponsored by Wightlink the Sport category was won by the IW Athletic Club, who has some 250 members, who regularly compete on the mainland.
Arts and Heritage
For Arts and Heritage, also sponsored by Wightlink, Historic Ryde Society got the nod. Formed in 2009 to mark the 175th anniversary of the Royal Victoria Arcade where their museum and headquarters are based in the lower basement the society has Lucinda Lambton as its patron.
Recently an Ice House was discovered under the Arcade when excavations were taking place.
Village Hall & Community Buildings
Another division was Village Hall & Community Buildings with sponsorship from Norris and Fisher, the Chandlers Ford based insurers who specialize in covering Village Halls.
Victory went to the Church on the Roundabout (Coppins Bridge, Newport). It hosts a number of community projects, sometimes in its open air gardens.
Environmental Projects was sponsored by the AONB. Formed in 2010, the Green Town, Shanklin scheme was adjudged the best entry.
A band of dedicated volunteers undertake a range of projects aimed at making Shanklin a greener, more inviting town.
Somerset Care sponsored the Older People category with Age UK (IW) being successful, Over 300 volunteers undertake duties Islandwide involving senior citizens.
Comfort Care and a good neighbour scheme are amongst their initiatives.
Children and Young People Award
Children and Young People Award was sponsored by the IW Community Fund.
HomeStart providers of support and friendship to families who have at least one child under five years of age won this section.
Representing Local Communities West Wight Sports Centre came out on top.
It has 3000 visitors each week and has gradually widened its remit far beyond sport only sessions. It has been operating since 1978.
This year the judges Special Award for individuals recognised one man’s commitment to a single charity over a 30+ year span. Terry Mitchell is a volunteer with the IW Society for the Blind and was given the award by Andrew Turner MP.
When considering the contenders in the seven different categories the Overall Runner up prize of £500 was awarded to Age UK (IW).
West Wight Sports Centre was the well deserved winner of the £1,500 for the best Overall nomination.
Martin White, the Lord Lieutenant, who presented the overall awards, particularly thanked all the volunteers on the Island, commenting,
“I see what goes on throughout the Island day by day.”
He encouraged all Island charities to apply for the Queen’s Award for the Voluntary Sector.