Now in their second year, our awards recognise the valuable contributions individuals have made to our communities.
We celebrate those who have gone the extra mile volunteering and helping to make their neighbourhoods a better place.
We asked you to nominate people in your community who make it special. We were looking for inspiring people that go out of their way to improve communities, helping neighbours or setting up community groups.
The judging panel were overwhelmed by the quality of nominations this year and faced some difficult decisions in choosing the winners and runners up in four areas:
- Community Champion Award
- Good Neighbour Award
- Outstanding Young Person Award
- Specialist Housing Champion Award
The additional Community Hero Award was selected by judges from all the nominations received.
And the winners are…
Community Champion Award
An award for someone who provides support to their whole community
First place: Madeline Rita, from Staines, who offers up two days each week to run a coffee morning, providing hot meals and a warm and friendly safe space for people to meet and make new friends.
Second place: Rob Fellows, from Bicester, for being an active member of the Elmsbrook community in so many ways. Rob received five nominations for this award and is described as “the heart of the Elmsbrook community.
Joint third place: Esther-May Greenberg and Natalie Harveld, both from Bicester, who set up a mum and baby group. They both give up their free time on a Friday to support local new mums to make friends and build their confidence at a time in their lives when they may feel lonely and nervous.
Good Neighbour Award
An award for someone who has offered extra special help to a neighbour.
First place: Joan Birchall, from Staines, for her kickstart project afternoon tea and dinner once a month.
Second place: Emily Ayres, from Oxford, for being a positive and inspiring influence on other young mums in her community, supporting them to overcome their own challenges.
Third place: Charlie Whitehouse, from Newbury, for always being ready to support, talk to and make the young people in his supported housing scheme feel safe. He has turned his life around since his own challenges and encourages others at the scheme to engage with support and do the same.
Outstanding Young Person Award
An award for our younger heroes, between the ages of 5 and 18 who lifts the spirits of their community or offers support to their neighbours.
Winner: Mila Rubin aged 8, from Bicester, Mila is a Ukranian refugee and has integrated well into the community, always smiling, positive, enthusiastic and friendly she has made many friends young and old. She has learnt to speak English fluently and teaches other residents Ukranian words and phrases.
Specialist Housing Champion Award
A new award this year for those who go the extra mile in our specialist housing schemes.
First place: John Murphy, from Ashford, who has volunteered for many years at A2Dominion events and in the communal gardens. He is always out in the community making people feel welcome, telling jokes and being a friendly face for those who might be lonely.
Second place: Michael Doyl, from Reading, for all his work in the communal garden and always offering a helping hand to his neighbours.
Third place: Samantha Hemmings, from Newbury, for always going above and beyond to support the residents of the specialist housing scheme she works at.
Chosen by our judging panel as someone who has really gone the extra mile to provide support to their community.
Gerry Lavelle, from Chichester, for his support at the Swanfield Park Community Centre. Through the fitness clubs and activities he volunteers at and runs he has helped bring down ASB in the community. He also volunteers at the community garden, working with a local school for children with additional needs, helping build the confidence of students and improving the garden.
Winners will be presented with their prizes and certificates in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out on our Facebook page to find out more about our winners in a series of posts.
Dawn Wightman, Director of Homes & Communities said: “The Neighbourhood Awards showcase the inspiring individuals making a difference in their communities.
“I have enjoyed hearing about this year’s finalists, who have gone the extra mile with their volunteering. All the nominations this year impressed the judges with their spirit and commitment to their neighbourhoods.
“They have invested their own time to really help create the communities and make their neighbourhoods better places to live. We’re very proud to recognise their wonderful contributions and would like to say a big thank you to all those nominated.”