Some of Bolton’s most outstanding local volunteers and community champions have had their achievements recognised at a prestigious ceremony held at the Macron Stadium on Thursday (December 3).
More than 400 people, including the Mayor of Bolton, attended Bolton at Home’s ‘Stars of the Community’ awards. It was the 10th year of the event, which rewards volunteers who have worked selflessly to improve their neighbourhoods and communities.
Winners on the night included groups and individuals across 10 categories who were nominated by other members of the community and Bolton at Home staff.
A further competition, ‘Bloomin’ Marvellous Garden’, saw three more awards for those who have gone to great efforts to improve or transform their gardens into outstanding areas.
Stars of the Community winners:
Sparkling Environment Star – Ian Glickman, Breightmet
Ian has become an environmental champion, jumping at opportunities to get involved and making green spaces across Bolton great places for the local community to enjoy. Ian said: “I love helping people and being able to look outside at nice environments. And I’m the kind of person who’d rather give something than get something.”
Highly commended – Brazley Community Gardens
Healthy Community Star – Men in Sheds
This project was established as an early intervention to address social isolation and loneliness in older men. Weekly DIY sessions have already helped 70 men to learn and share skills and acting as a springboard into volunteering roles and employment.
Men in Sheds member Stephen Lilly, from Breightmet, said: “We come together to make things like hedgehog houses and bird feeders, so it’s fun and social. Our members have become good friends.”
Highly Commended – Willow Hey
Rising Star – Carla Pickering
Carla has set up a community café and offered support to learners from the community English class as well as taking on the role of treasurer for the Willows Action group. Her support for numerous, international charities, has taken her to Africa, where she’s helped deliver vital facilities for a mountain village community.
Highly commended – Helena Abracos, Tonge with the Haulgh
Spirit of Youth Star – Xavier Schuller and Martyn Ellis Parker, Farnworth
Both Xavier, 16, and Martyn, 19, share a passion for helping others and give their time freely, whether to tend and maintain the upkeep of the communal allotment or act as caretaker for their local community centre or supporting younger people in their communities encouraging them to learn new skills. Xavier said: “I love meeting new people and volunteering is fun and something that I’ll carry on.” Martyn added: “Volunteering also keeps me fit.”
Fundraising Star – Margaret Willcock, Morris Green
Over the last four years Margaret has spent hours of her time filling in funding applications or planning fundraisers for the benefit of local residents. Her amazing efforts have helped tackle social isolation, improved community cohesion, as well as the local environment. So far this year she has raised over £7,000 which will all be spent on meeting the needs of the community. Margaret said: “I don’t like thinking of people sat on their home at home and so I think it’s important to arrange activities and trips.”
Highly commended – Team Eagley Bank
Personal Achievement Star – Sandra Durkin, Hall i’ th’ Wood
An invaluable member of a number of local community groups and projects, Sandra has shown true commitment to making a change in her life and above all; the whole community has benefitted. Sandra said: “I get pleasure from helping others and that keeps me well.”
Highly commended – “Landrover” Dave Marsden, Westhoughton
Taking a Stand Star – Lever Garden Ladies
Determined to not tolerate hate crime, the Lever Garden Ladies attended court to support Bolton at Home’s application for an injunction against a person who was intimidating local residents. The order was granted and no further issues have been reported and residents no longer feel frightened. Shirley Ferguson, said; “Please don’t suffer in silence if you’re experiencing antisocial behaviour. Don’t feel bullied or helpless and speak to Bolton at Home, who will do something about it.”
Highly commended – Pat Dunlevy and Sheila Russell, Brownlow Way
Stronger Community Star – Terri Mayoh, Moses Gate
Following significant issues on her estate with crime and antisocial behaviour, Terri devoted her time to help and has been instrumental in bringing back a sense of safety and community cohesion. Her endless positivity has made her a much-needed community champion. Terri said: “I just give people the chance to do normal things and I’m happy that makes a difference.”
Highly commended: Daisy Dell
Outstanding Achievement – Doug Cunliffe, Washacre
For the last 10 years Doug has been an outstanding volunteer in the community. He’s been instrumental in improving the lives of so many people and delivering a wide range of vital projects for all age ranges in the community. Doug said: “This is lovely recognition, not just for me but for our team of volunteers down at the John Holt Centre.”
Highly commended – Brian Trainer, Tonge Moor
Judges’ Award – Denise McElroy
A special accolade in remembrance of a lady who gave her all to her local community in Johnson Fold. Denise sadly passed away in August 2015 at the age of 51 after a short battle with cancer. Denise grew up on the Johnson Fold estate and the area is home to her family, partner Steve and daughters Paula and Natasha. She was a true community champion for the estate and nothing was too much trouble. No matter how busy she was she made the time for family, friends and neighbours alike. With fellow neighbour Carol Warburton, she was the driving force in providing after school clubs for over 5s on the estate as part of the Johnson Fold Youth, Community and Support group. Partner Steve said: “We’ve been very touched by this and thank both Carol, Denise’s good friend, and Bolton at Home.”
Bloomin’ Marvellous Garden Awards:
Most Improved Garden – John Bennett, Johnson Fold
John has worked wonders on his outdoor space to create a garden that looks fabulous and brings joy to its owner and neighbours alike, who now stop to look over the fence to admire the transformation. Described as a neglected patch of waste ground, it has taken 18 months to turn this plot into a pleasant and safe haven for the owners.
Highly commended – Eldon Street Extra Care Unit
Best Community Garden – Hulton Lane Sheltered Residents group
The group of residents devote their time to ensuring their communal garden is awash with colour and is a pleasing retreat throughout the year, for all who live there. Marie Roberts said: “We’re over the moon with this award. We all pull together and put a lot into the garden and it’s paid off!”
Highly commended – Hall i’ th’ Wood Community and Environment Group
Best Customer Garden – Ray Arthington, Hall i’ th’ Wood
Ray is an expert gardener who dedicates his time to maintaining this stunning, green oasis that year on year continues to be a truly ‘Bloomin Marvellous’ Garden.
Tracy Woods, Chair of Bolton at Home, said: “We received over 100 nominations for our awards, which shows wonderful support and recognition for what people are doing in their neighbourhoods. The ways people are contributing to their communities in Bolton are phenomenal and we congratulate our volunteers on what they’re achieving.”
The event was sponsored by AGR Building and Fencing Ltd, AKW Medicare, Benchmark Building Supplies, Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, Casey, City Electrical Factors, Effective training and development, Forrest, Glendale, Graham plumbers’ merchant, Graham Hargreaves building contractors, Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner, Henighans Ltd, JG Redford Ltd, Maxmedia, Trowers and Hamlin, Trustmarque.