Broadland: Honouring the heartbeat of the community

Community at Heart awards winners 2023

The annual Broadland Community at Heart Awards were presented on Friday night at The Space in Sprowston.

The awards, organised by Broadland District Council, and sponsored by Clarion Housing, celebrate the extremely valuable work of volunteers, individuals, businesses and community groups in the district.

A judging panel chose the winners from nominations made by members of the public and for the first time, this year everyone who was nominated was invited to the awards ceremony.

Each winner was presented with a trophy and £250 to donate to their chosen community group or voluntary organisation. Finalists were also presented with a certificate congratulating and thanking them for their work in the community.

This year's winners are:

Young Hero of the Year - Abigayle Nicholls

Sponsored by HSBC.

Abigayle, aged 17, has been volunteering at the Norwich Penguins Swimming School for two years, teaching 12 classes a week. She enjoys seeing the children she teaches progress and improve, using her lessons to further educate them on water safety. Abigayle has also worked hard to expand her skills into training competitive swimmers.

Community Hero - Dave Savory

Sponsored by Clarion Housing.

Dave is the Chairman of the Bure Valley Conservation Group using his previous experience to aid conservation efforts across the district. He also volunteers for several other local charities and groups, including being a Trustee for Acle Land’s Trust and Chairman of Acle Pre-school. When the pre-school was facing a difficult period, he went above and beyond to recruit and support the new manager and guide the team through the tough times.

Business in the Community Award - Aylsham & District Care Trust

Sponsored by Big Sky Living.

Aylsham & District Care Trust offer a wide range of services to help people continue to live independently as well as combatting loneliness in the community. This includes offering day trips to local areas of interest and tourist attractions, as well as a vibrant community café, where people feel safe, warm and welcome.

Green at Heart Award - Sprowston Community Garden

Set in a quiet corner of Sprowston, this small community garden provides a restful place for residents to sit and relax. The volunteers transformed a barren patch of grass into a lush and vibrant garden full of herbs and vegetables which acts as a foodbank for local residents. They also host events including bug discovery days, Easter egg hunts and Christmas light trails.

Community Group of the Year - Aylsham Community Church

Sponsored by ASTCO.

This local community group aim to bring the community in and around Aylsham much closer together. The team of volunteers run a community café, provide a local space for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and host a community fridge. They also offer support and supplies to Ukrainian refugees that have settled in the area.

Volunteer of the Year - Avril Thomas

Sponsored by The Space.

Avril volunteers for St. Williams Way Knit and Natter Group, in Thorpe St. Andrew. She works with a team who knit for charity, producing booties, warm bags, hats and scarfs for the Norfolk and Norwich Baby Unit and St. Martin’s. They also knit trauma teddies, as well as blankets and other items of clothing for the Ukrainian refugees being hosted in the area. Avril also volunteers for the Norfolk Knitters and Stitchers, distributing wool to knitting groups across the district.

Helping Hand Award - Sally Aldridge

Sally is part of several volunteer groups around Acle. This includes Acle Good Neighbours, the local foodbank and Acle Voluntary Aid. Through her various roles she supports elderly and vulnerable residents by providing them with food and transport to hospital appointments; as well as a safe space to sit, have a delicious meal with good company.

Inspiration of the Year - Sandra Hughes

Sandra supports those in her community affected by dementia. She volunteers in several Dementia Cafes and as a Dementia Friends Ambassador with the Alzheimer’s Society. She goes out in the community to support those with dementia and educate others about the effects of the disease and how they can provide better support.

Special Recognition Award -  Peter and Theresa Barton and Vladyslava Davydiuk

Peter and Theresa hosted a family – Olena, Vladyslava and Dmitriy – fleeing the war in Ukraine, welcoming into their home as one of their own. When Olena was able to return home to Ukraine to be with her husband and son Dmitriy, Vladyslava was keen to remain in the UK to stay with her friends and continue her education. Peter and Theresa did not hesitate to offer to foster Vladyslava so she could stay living with them.

Find out more about the Community at Heart Awards.

Published: 24 October 2023