High Sheriff Community Awards: Discover the individuals making Lancashire an even better place to be

Congratulations to Lancashire’s no longer unsung community heroes.

By Fiona Finch
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 12:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 6:35 pm

The High Sheriff of Lancashire Edwin Booth has shone a light on the previously unrecognised good works of individuals and community groups across the county who help make the county a better and safer place to be.

Their kindness and self giving was recognised at the annual High Sheriff’s community awards ceremony which was held last week at The Exchange at County Hall, Preston.

High Sheriff Edwin said all the winners had gone “above and beyond” to help their local communitites. He said: “There have been so many people doing remarkable and vitally important work to support those in need. It’s been a privilege meet and recognise these inspiring individuals and I’m amazed at the selflessness and dedication of the people working to make Lancashire a better place.”

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Winners all - High Sheriff Edwin Booth pictured with winners of the High Sheriff Community Awards 2021/22

Teenager Dilip Gosal won the Person of the Year award for the under 16 age group for his work as a volunteer at Accrington’s Maundy Relief Centre.

After a Christmas visit to the centre with his mother he was inspired to help the people he met in whatever way he could. At just 16, he was asked to join the board of trustees. His citation noted: “Dilip has taken his duties extremely seriously, adding intelligently to discussions and setting up a climate change working group. Dilip’s generous and thoughtful response to those living in poverty has made a great difference to Lancashire.”

Keen dancer, footballer and school student Dylan Dennis from Blackpool who is a leader at his local dance school, who also works part time to help clean and run the school and inspire others to share his love of dance, was Highly Commended.

Outstanding community work - Dilip Gosal receives his award from the High Sheriff of Lancashire

Harry Sibley, 14, who is a young carer who helps look after his father who has had a succession of strokes was also Highly Commended. Each day Harry gets up early and helps care for his Dad before he goes to school, and takes up caring duties again when he returns home. Harry became involved in the Blackpool Carers Centre to have a break and support away from home. He now offers peer support to other carers like himself and fundraises for the centre.

The winner of the Person of the Year 17-25 years old is Marianne Walmsley, an inspirational young adult whose voluntary work with Trust House, Lancashire, of which she is a trustee has helped hundreds of victims of abuse.

Her nomination noted: “Her willingness and drive to support others is incredible.”

Alfie Goodwin who excels as a volunteer at his local Inspire Youth Zone and now works part-time for the charity which helps young people, including local children with disabilities, lead fuller lives was Highly Commended in the 17-25 year old age group.

Stephanie Leese-Pinson & Elizabeth Leeke receive a Highly Commended award on behalf of The Intact Centre, Preston

It was noted he had recently helped a young woman with life threatening injuries to safety and his quick thinking helped save her life.

Also Highly Commended was John Allen, aged 22, who has been a member of the Burnley Boys and Girls Club (BBGC) since the age of eight. His citation noted he had been made homeless at the start of the pandemic, but has turned his life around and has a stable job and his own flat. John’s outstanding work included a series of vlogs to help people better understand the challenges of living with autism during the uncertainty of Covid.

The Person of the Year award for those aged 26 and over went to Hanna Broughton who is the founder of three social enterprises, The Therapeutic Forest, Twinkleboost and Climbing Calm. Twinkleboost provides early preventative speech and language support to children under five, with a focus on north west deprived communities where 50 per cent of children start school with insufficient language skills.

The Therapeutic Forest provides outdoor experiences to children with special educational needs and adults with mental health issues. Climbing Calm provides therapeutic rock-climbing sessions with autistic children and young people. The citation noted: “Hannah’s social enterprises have helped thousands of young people lead fuller and more meaningful lives across Lancashire.”

Barbara Brook receives her award

Barbara Brook was dubbed “a Lancashire treasure” and was Highly Commended for serving her community as a volunteer for nearly 80 years. She started attending her local Girls Friendly Society (GFS) when she was seven . As Leader of the Layton branch, near Blackpool, she has supported more than 5,000 girls “to lead full and confident lives and serve their local communities”.

Robert Mee was Highly Commended for his work setting set up the LGBQT Lancaster based charity Out in the Bay. Robert works alongside many agencies to support the LGBT+ community and “help people find value in themselves”.

Self taught artist Bob Sutcliffe was given a Special Recognition Award after being recognised as an outstanding individual. Described as a selfless person determined to make a difference to people’s lives the Blackburn born fundraiser taught himself how to paint after a heart attack and a relapse of epilepsy in 2017. After discovering a special talent for painting he set up a successful card business, with all the profits going to charitable causes. By the end of this year he will have raised a quarter of a million pounds for local charities, including Cancer Care Lancashire, Derian House Hospice, Lancashire Mind, Cure Leukaemia and dozens of smaller charities, schools and organisations.

Recognition was also given to an East Lancashire community group based in Accrington in Hyndburn.Local charity Aawaz won the Community Group of the Year award. More than 13% of residents in Hyndburn come from Pakistan, Mirpur Kashmir, India, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and Eastern Europe.

Aawaz’s multilingual outreach has helped hundreds of families cope both practically and emotionally. It has provided advice, food parcels, clothing, toiletries and baby items for families throughout the pandemic.The citation noted: “The charity assists women and families to improve the lives of their families and help create equal and cohesive communities, where women feel a sense of belonging and play their part in wider society.”

Thriving community hub The Intact Centre, Preston, which includes an IT suite, café, kitchen, sensory garden and nature reserve was Highly Commended in the Community Group of The Year section. The centre offers nutritious food, skills workshops, counselling, digital and employment support and guidance on benefits to those attending.

Alfie Goodwin receives his award

Meanwhile Skool of Street, the Blackpool based dance workshop which engages young people in dance to help explore new ways of thinking, grow in confidence and be well was also Highly Commended in the Community Group of the Year section.

Robert Mee receives his award from the High Sheriff Edwin Booth