Some of Bolton’s most inspiring volunteers and community champions have been recognised in Bolton at Home’s annual Stars of the community awards.

Around 400 people attended the awards ceremony at University of Bolton Stadium on Thursday 28 February.

The awards recognise those who selflessly volunteer their time and energy to help others and improve their neighbourhoods. Nine awards were handed out on the evening to individuals and groups nominated by residents and Bolton at Home staff.

The awards also contribute to Bolton at Home’s support for ‘See the Person’ – a national campaign to challenge the stigma and negative stereotypes that social housing tenants can experience.

Tracy Woods, Chair of Bolton at Home, said: “Every year we get more nominations and hear some truly inspiring stories of people who go out of their way to help others.

“We have people who start groups to provide community activities or encourage others to make a positive change. We have people who overcome adversity and change their life, and those who devote themselves to making their communities brighter.

“It shows what a great community spirit exists in Bolton. I congratulate all the winners and nominees, but also the many other people in the community who volunteer to help others. They can all be proud of themselves.”

The winners are:

Community star: Young ‘Uns for Oldhams

The Young ‘Uns for Oldhams community group organises activities and days out for young people and other residents living in the Oldhams community. From after-school craft clubs and litter picks, to Easter egg hunts and days at the seaside, the group has fostered a great neighbourhood spirit.

Representing the group, Tracey Booth said: “It started off as something positive for the children to do on the estate. It’s become much more in that it encourages children to take pride in their area, and they love it.”

Highly commended: Daisy Dell, Deane.

Bolton citizen star: Gareth Bradbury, Little Lever, Bolton Community Kitchen

Gareth is committed to helping vulnerable and homeless people by making sure they get a warm meal, clothing and toiletries. He ensures people are directed towards the support they need, even taking hot meals out on the streets to help those who don’t make it to the kitchen.

Gareth said: “This is not about one person, it’s about a community working together. Thanks to all the volunteers involved. There are so many people in Bolton standing up to help others.”

Highly commended: Audrey Denton, Astley Bridge.

Health and wellbeing star: Hall i’ th’ Wood Wonder Woman Group

The Wonder Woman group offers a support network for women to access information, develop skills, increase confidence and take part in health and wellbeing activities. The group has also organised community and family events, including a teddy bears’ picnic and tea dances to commemorate the centenaries of women gaining the right to vote and their role during the First World War.

Representing the group, Michelle Wainwright said: “The group was created to provide a place for local women to come together, feel comfortable and safe, and develop skills. It has grown and we’re like a family, there for each other.”

Highly commended: Souper Social, Louise Kirkman and Christine Bradshaw, New Bury

Outstanding achievement star: Bernadette Tither, Farnworth

After more than 20 years managing New Bury Community Learning Centre in Farnworth, Bernadette spends her retirement managing the Hideaway Garden on behalf of the Farnworth Parent Group. She helps children and parents pick fresh produce from a vegetable plot and gives them tips on how to grow their own.

Bernadette said: “It’s wonderful to receive this, and two years to the day since I retired! The area used to be vulnerable to fly-tipping, so we raised money to create a garden where people can enjoy the space above anything else.”

Highly commended: Wendy Handley, Great Lever

Personal achievement star: Demi McDougall, Halliwell

Demi has overcome personal challenges to secure an apprenticeship and employment with Glendale. With support from Starts with you – Bolton at Home’s social enterprise, and others in the community, Demi has improved her self-esteem, confidence and employability skills and now has aspirations to become a landscape gardener.

Demi said: “I have met some wonderful and supportive people. When that happens, it can result in great things.”

Highly commended: Damanta Thapa, Deane

Sparkling environment star: The Kitchen Gardens Group

In 2016, the Kitchen Gardens group transformed an unused piece of land in Tonge and the Haulgh into a community facility for families to enjoy. Since then they’ve gone from strength to strength organising food growing sessions for local youngsters as well as craft days, community clean-up days and other events. This formerly neglected piece of land is now a thriving community hub.

Representing the group, Rebecca Moden said: “We were motivated to make a difference by getting involved in doing something for the community.”

Highly commended: Ken Swarbrick and Roy Baker, Breightmet

Spirit of youth star: Liam Myers

Liam is another young person who has overcome personal challenges to turn his life around. Liam grew up in care and had a spell being homeless before securing a place to live through Backup (previously Bolton Young Persons Housing Scheme).

Liam has shown courage and determination to land job as a Police Community Support Officer and now lives in his own flat.

Liam said: “Thanks to those who’ve supported me. I now have the right stepping stone to the future I want.”

Highly commended: Iqbal Hussain, Tonge and the Haulgh

Taking a stand star: New Bury Youthie

After antisocial behaviour forced it to take a break from delivering activities, New Bury Youthie has bounced back and is again supporting around 160 local young people each week. With assistance from Raise the Youth, Bolton at Home, the council and police, the Youthie is providing a safe place for people aged 4 – 17 to take part in a wide range of activities.

Representing the group, Kelly Ellis said: “We grew up together and came back to rekindle the area. We run activities almost every night and the children are doing brilliantly. They’re engaged in lots of positive activities, some of which they had never tried before.”

Star charity of the year: Endeavour

Carole Marsden, director, said: “We’re a charity helping people and pets escape domestic abuse. We work across Bolton and in partnership with organisations like Bolton at Home to help people move-on with their lives.”

Endeavour is looking for more volunteers. For more information, please go to www.pawsforkids.org.uk.

Sponsors of this year’s Stars of the Community Awards were AGR, Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, City Electrical Factors, Creative Pink Ltd, Glendale, Graham’s Plumbers Merchants, Open View, J.G. Redford Ltd, MCP Environmental, and Seddons.