Volunteers Honoured for Outstanding Contribution to the Community

West Lindsey District Council was delighted to host its sixth annual Community Awards on Wednesday, which continues to see great support from the local community.

Over the last few years the awards has been a catalyst for raising the profile of the work of the many volunteers, community groups and local heroes – who ask for nothing in return. But their hard work and dedication has not got unnoticed – as they have been nominated for the community awards by the people whose lives they have enriched and supported.  Chairman of the Council, Councillor Pat Mewis, welcomed everyone to the West Lindsey Community Awards 2019.  She said:

“It was good to see so many people at the awards ceremony and I thank all the nominees and their guests for attending. These awards are a way to honour the outstanding members of our district’s communities and to recognise the numerous people who give up much of their free time to make West Lindsey a better place.  I would also like to express my gratitude to The Glanford and Lindsey Lions, who have once again sponsored the trophies.”

This year’s awards included new categories, providing more opportunities to celebrate West Lindsey’s superstars from all areas of the community.

Executive Director of Resources at West Lindsey District Council, Ian Knowles, congratulated all the nominees. He said: “Every member of the public nominated for the awards has given back so much to their communities and should be hugely congratulated, and I thank you for everything you do.”

Guests enjoyed drinks and canapés whilst being treated to delightful tunes from the Queen Elizabeth High School band.

The Community Awards Panel is made up of the following councillors: Cllr Pat Mewis, Cllr Judy Rainsforth, Cllr Sheila Bibb, Cllr David Cotton and Cllr Giles McNeill.

Winners & Runners-Up

Community Group or Club:

  • Nettleham Festive Market (Winner)
  • Stonecliff Park Social Club Committee (Runner-Up)
  • Gainsborough St John Ambulance (Runner-Up)

Contribution to Sports:

  • Market Rasen and Louth Rugby Club (Winner)
  • Mark Smith and Nigel Stevenson from the Gainsborough Dolphins Swimming Club (Runner-Up)

Contribution to Wellbeing:

  • Stepping Stone Mental Health Theatre (Winner)
  • Debbie Stevens (Runner-Up)

Contribution to Arts and Culture:

  • Market Rasen Station Community Project (Winner)

Good Neighbour:

  • Susan Stainton (Winner)

Young Citizen of the Year:

  • Jessica Gibbard (Winner)

Citizen of the Year:

  • Cliff Rust (Winner)
  • Susan Mumby (Runner-Up)
  • Hugh Gilfedder (Runner-Up)

Chairman’s Special Award:

  • Ellie Hallam (Winner)

Ellie Hallam was awarded the Chairman’s Special Award for her years serving the Scotter community.

Since moving to Scotter many years ago, Ellie’s worked tirelessly to support the local Community.  She chairs the local Community Centre, volunteers weekly at Belton House, as well as starting an over-55s lunch club and editing the Eau Valley Advertiser for more than 15 years. Presenting the award, Cllr Mewis said:

“Throughout the Civic Year, I have met a huge number of brilliant and interesting people and it was difficult to decide on who should receive this award. Since arriving in Scotter many years ago Ellie quickly became embedded in the life of the community. Her generous and selfless personality serves as an example to all. Ellie is a pillar of the local community and someone that is a pleasure to know and live alongside.”

Accepting the award Ellie said:

“This was so unexpected but it’s a privilege. I think that nobody volunteers on their own – this award recognises that.

The Young Citizen of the Year award recognises a young person aged 24 years or under who stands out as someone with very special qualities. The winner is Jessica Gibbard.

Jessica works as a volunteer Front of House Assistant at the Trinity Arts Centre, Gainsborough. She volunteers as much and as often as she can, even though she also has a part time job and is a full time student. Presenting the award, Cllr Judy Rainsforth said:

“Jess is more than willing to come in at very short notice and will stay on and do extra shifts whenever necessary. She is such a lovely young person, a joy to be around, and at just recently turned 18 years of age she is incredibly giving of her time. She is a very valuable part of the small team, and all the staff at the arts centre are extremely lucky to have her."

Contribution to wellbeing award winner is; Stepping Stone Theatre for Mental Health, which regularly perform at the Trinity Arts Centre.

Stepping Stone Theatre is for people of the community who have a connection to mental health services, whether they have been affected by mental health personally or are a friend, relative or carer. Being involved in Stepping Stone has developed many members’ confidence and some have found this newfound confidence has enable them to gain full time employment. Presenting the award, Cllr Sheila Bibb said:

“Stepping Stone regularly go out into the community to spread a positive message of wellbeing by having their mascots offer free hugs. Bill and Kate Rogers work very hard to produce excellent pieces of theatre that offer a unique take on mental health, with emotional, funny, biographical and comedic sketches, monologues and songs.

“The group have inspired other members of the community to speak out about their mental health issues and to join the fight to stamp out the stigma surrounding it. The commitment to the community and the service they provide has prevented people from ending their lives as they have a safe place free from discrimination where they do not have to worry, where they are not judged, but accepted for who they are.”

Accepting the award was Bill Rodgers and Kate Rodgers, artistic directors and founders of Stepping Stone Theatre for Mental Health. Bill said:

“It is fantastic, especially as the nominees came from our members. 40 per cent of our customers are service users and to see their stories on the stage is great. It is helping to break down the barriers of isolation and the stigma. We make it ok not to be ok and we get to tell our story.”

Kate added:

“I am bipolar and Bill is my carer. The power of telling my own story not sat in a therapy session but in public and on a stage, it is helping to destigmatise and this award is validation of the work we are doing.”

The Good Neighbour award was presented to Susan Stainton from Nettleham.

Susan’s help and dedication to her neighbours is priceless. She cooks, cleans, shops and offers general chit chat to lift their spirits so they don’t feel lonely. She has inspired others by giving little things which can have a big impact in others’ lives, and nothing is ever too much trouble for her. She often goes without things herself if it means other people are happy. Presenting the award Cllr Giles McNeill said:

“One resident even classes her as her adopted ‘stepmother’ after helping her through having cancer twice last year. She cooked and cleaned, collected prescriptions and looked after her pets. But more importantly helped her through some really dark times.

“Other ways that she helps her fellow neighbours can be from putting washing in a tumble drier and getting fish and chips at lunch times to simply chatting. She gets so much enjoyment by helping others, and nothing seems to stop her!”

Accepting the award Susan said:

“I am proud of the award but a little shocked as I didn’t know I had been nominated for the award.”

The Community Group or Club winner is Nettleham Festive Market.

Nettleham Festive Market was set up to bring the community together. It was designed to bring some festive cheer to those that can't make it to the bigger Christmas events. It also helps support and promote local businesses whilst raising money for local charities. Presenting the award, Cllr Sheila Bibb said:

“The committee work hard, giving up a lot of their free time, to ensure everything is planned well but also to share their knowledge with other groups, helping and aspiring them. They make sure the community get involved as much as possible. They do a fantastic job and, although at times it can be very stressful, all the blood, sweat and tears are worth it.”

Speaking on behalf of the group Debbie Stevens said:

“We do have a carnival in the summer but there was nothing in the winter. We thought it would be a great way to bring people together in the community and help support the local businesses.”

The Contribution to Sports award went to the Market Rasen and Louth Rugby Club and in particular Edward Timmins.

Market Rasen and Louth Rugby Club runs on the good will of a lot of volunteers and has a positive impact on many young people and adults. People come from all over the district and benefit from the huge amount of time and passion that is put into the club. Cllr Giles McNeill, who presented the award said:

“It provides a community hub for people to meet and encourages excellent behaviours in everyone. The club is a focus for so much more than just playing rugby. It gives people a focus, keeps young people off the streets and by fills their time with sport and friendship.

“The dedication shown from the volunteers really encourages everyone to take part and it really is an inspiring and vibrant place which has a positive impact on mental wellbeing.”

Edward Timmins said it was great to receive the award and that he wasn’t expecting to win. He said:

“It is very rewarding because you can really see a difference in children. Rugby is more than just a sport, it teaches discipline and respect and it suits people of all abilities and there is a place for them at the club. It is like one big family.”

Contribution to Arts and Culture Award, winner is the Market Rasen Station Community Project.

The completed refurbishment of Market Rasen Station has allowed local people to visit this much loved building and see it brought back into everyday use. It holds a strong memory for many and by bringing it back from the brink, has raised the collective spirit of everybody in town. Presenting the award, Cllr David Cotton said:

“To see it in a derelict stage was depressing and upsetting, especially for people waiting for trains. Now people are proud of their station. The restoration of the building involved many people from the local community and without hardworking volunteers driving the project forward, it would never have happened. It was officially opened by The Princess Royal in December 2018 after four years of planning and hard work.”

Ian Hind and Daniel Clark who are both on the board of the Market Rasen Station Community Project collected the award. Ian was the designer on the project and saw it through from planning to completion. He said:

“The first time I saw the building it was a wreck. It was on a cold spring morning and it was in a state of disrepair – it was so bad we could not get to some of the areas and could not open some of the doors. The main thing was getting the Heritage Lottery Fund on board which was vital, as well as West Lindsey District Council’s contributions.”

Daniel said his main role was getting the community involved and Lindum, which is who both Daniel and Ian work for. He said:

“We got the schools involved and they are now looking at doing lessons in there and learning about the heritage of the town. A shipping company relocated to work there as the owners live in Market Rasen. A pre-school is also looking to use the space for children with learning difficulties as a quite space to learn. The project was a long time coming but it is great to see it complete.

This award is for everyone who was involved in the project and it wouldn’t be what it is today without everyone’s support.”

Winner of the Citizen of the Year 2019 award is Cliff Rust.

Cliff was nominated for his tireless and enthusiastic voluntary work on behalf of the Caistor community. He works on a whole range of community projects which directly help the town, such as litter picking and assisting older people with DIY jobs, Caistor in Bloom. Presenting the award Cllr Cotton said:  

“Cliff uses his wide experience of 30 years in the fire service to good effect in getting people motivated and organised - there is no job too big or small for him. His dedication has lifted civic pride enormously within the town and makes Caistor a better place for residents and tourists alike to work, live and play.”

Accepting the award, Cliff said:

“I am over the moon. It is so nice to be recognised, although you don’t do it for that. You need volunteers that want to get involved and in return you do get something out of it and the town also benefits.”