Mayor’s Pride Awards honour community stars

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News release: 30 March 2017

A cyclist who inspires women to take to two wheels for fun and St Albans Signal Box Preservation Trust are among Mayor’s Pride Award winners in 2017.

Community Champion of the Year, Helen Fish, pictured with Cllr Leonard, the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans
The annual awards celebrate extraordinary people, groups, charities and local businesses that make a positive contribution to the local community in St Albans District. 

The winners were announced on Tuesday 28 March at a dinner at St Michael’s Manor hosted by the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans. 

The community heroes were selected by a Mayor-led panel of judges from among 23 finalists who were all invited to the awards ceremony. The finalists were short-listed from among 80 nominees put forward for awards by members of the public. 

The Mayor, Cllr Frances Leonard, also presented her own special Recognition Award to St Albans Signal Box Preservation Trust.

Cllr Leonard, the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, said: “I want to thank all the volunteers, groups, charities and local businesses nominated for the awards for their positive contributions to community life. The judges and I were particularly impressed with the efforts and commitment of the winners. These community stars deserve to be rewarded for making life better for people living in the District.

“During my year as Mayor I have seen some great projects around the District however the work of St Albans Signal Box Preservation Trust has stood out. Volunteers have come together to preserve an interesting historic building and to organise special community open days for the public. I wanted to reward their hard work by giving them a special Mayor’s Recognition Award. ”

The winners are:

Community Champion of the Year – Helen Fish
The British Cycling Breeze Champion inspires women to get cycling for fun, fitness and health in Harpenden, St Albans and Redbourn. She runs weekly rides for cyclists of all levels and, over the last 18 months, has grown the local Breeze group to 400 members from a standing start. 

Cultural Innovation Award – staff at Fosse House, Quantum Care
Staff at the care home took part in an all-night sponsored walk to raise money for a wildlife garden and a sensory room for residents. They have also created a gym and helped residents with an art project to illustrate their life stories. In addition, the staff help run a weekly Caribbean club and Namaste Dining evenings for residents at the Quantum Care home. 

Young Person of Distinction – Elizabeth Pepper
Elizabeth is an active member of St Albans Youth Council and works to keep abreast of youth issues, including raising mental health awareness. She also helps organise Youth Council events, such as a Christmas tea party for the elderly.

Community Project of the Year – StarScope
Star Scope is a small local charity providing support and grants to adults and children with cerebral palsy in the St Albans area. The group began in 1955 when parents with children affected by the condition decided to get together to help promote access to local services and develop friendships. The group successfully campaigned for a Changing Places changing and toilet facility for disabled people to be opened in the centre of St Albans.

Community Orientated Business of the Year – JPA Furniture
The family company rehomes old and disused furniture from local businesses with charities and people in need. It also supports Sustainable St Albans Week and is working with Marlborough Methodist Church to auction and rehome their wooden pews.

Environmental Champion of the Year – Sustainable St Albans Week 2016 
A small group of volunteers delivered more than 100 informative and entertaining events during this week-long initiative aimed at raising environmental awareness in the community. Topics covered included reducing food waste, recycling, growing food, transport and green energy.

Voluntary Sector Award – St Albans Good Neighbour Scheme 
This network is made up of 175 volunteers who give up their time to assist mainly elderly residents in the local community. In operation for 36 years, the network of volunteers provide transport, undertake odd jobs in people’s homes or gardens and run a telephone helpline. 

Inclusive Communities Award – Hertfordshire Asian Women’s Association (HAWA) Saheli Tiffin Club
This weekly luncheon club for black, asian and ethnic minority women aims to build members’ confidence so they can participate in the local community. Members come together for an hour of exercise, then take part in literacy and numeracy skill building sessions before socialising over light refreshments. Speakers are also invited to give members talks on aspects of community life.

Mayor’s Recognition Award – St Albans Signal Box Preservation Trust
The Trust was established by volunteers to restore and preserve the St Albans South signal box as part of our railway and architectural heritage. The Trust also runs community-focused events so visitors can experience pulling the levers and ringing the bells while trains pass by.

The awards ceremony was recorded by Radio Verulam. Entertainment was provided by the sixth form Singing Ensemble from Beaumont School.

More information about the Mayor’s Pride Awards, including a full list of the finalists for 2017, is available on St Albans City and District Council’s website.

The Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Councillor Frances Leonard.

Contact for the Mayor’s office: 
Alison Orde, the Mayor’s Civic Officer 
Tel: 01727 819544 
Email: mayoralty@stalbans.gov.uk
 
Contact for the media:
Amanda Wilkinson, 
Senior Communications Officer 
St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 819317 
E-mail: amanda.wilkinson@stalbans.gov.uk 
www.stalbans.gov.uk
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StAlbansCouncil 

Photos:

(Above) Community Champion of the Year, Helen Fish, pictured with Cllr Leonard, the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans

Volunteers from St Albans Signal Box Preservation Trust, winner of the Mayor’s Recognition Award, pictured with Cllr Leonard, the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans
(Left) Volunteers from St Albans Signal Box Preservation Trust, winner of the Mayor’s Recognition Award, pictured with Cllr Leonard, the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans