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St Albans Mayor’s Pride Awards 2024 – the winners are revealed

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A charity that distributes unwanted food to those in need so it does not go to waste enjoyed a double success at the St Albans Mayor’s Pride Awards 2024.

St Albans Community Pantry scooped two of the ten awards which give recognition to the District’s community heroes, individuals and organisations who help others. 

Representatives of the Community Pantry along with the other winners were presented with their awards at a special ceremony hosted by the Mayor, Councillor Anthony Rowlands.

He said:

The Mayor’s Pride Awards is undoubtedly one of the highlights of my year in office as it is a chance for us to pay tribute to many truly marvellous people.

The winners – and all those nominated by the community – deserve this recognition for all the selfless and tireless work they do to look after vulnerable people and make our District such a wonderful, caring place to live.

The awards, which were rested last year, were sponsored by KJ Smith Solicitors and supported by community radio station Mix 92.6.

Around 100 people attended the presentation at St Albans City and District Council’s Civic Centre on Tuesday 5 March while more than 100 others watched a live webcast of the event.

Guests enjoyed treats from the Pudding Stop and music from folk duo Elizabeth and Jameson before sitting down for the awards ceremony compered by Jonny Seabrook of Mix 92.6.

Cllr Rowlands has made All Ages Together the theme of his year in office and he personally selected two award winners: 

The Mayor’s Intergenerational Award – the joint winners were Skyswood Primary and Nursery School and the Orchard Nursing Home for the work they have done to connect different generations.

The Mayor’s Special Award – the joint winners were local faith leaders Rabbi Adam Zagoria-Moffet and Akhtar Zaman DL for their work with young people.

The other awards were nominated by the public in eight categories with a shortlist being drawn up from the 200 contenders that were put forward. A panel of judges then decided on the winners:

Community Champion of the Year – Joint winners Lynn Dutton and Sharon Linney for their campaigning and many charitable endeavours, largely for St Albans Action for Homeless.

Cultural Innovation Award – Doodlebugs, a group that reaches out to young people who are struggling with poor mental health through the medium of arts and crafts at an after-school club.

Young Person of Distinction - Ben Jones, a 16-year-old who uses his experience as a wheelchair user with a visual impairment to make sure District and County Councils as well as businesses are aware of inaccessible services.

Community Project of the Year - St Albans Community Pantry Festive Project, an initiative to stop food excess from going to landfill and redistribute it to the community instead. The pantry was open all day on Christmas Eve, serving around 400 people with festive food and treats as well as providing warm clothing.

Community-Oriented Business of the Year - Mix 92.6, a volunteer-led community radio station which provides 24/7 original local programming and podcasts 365 days a year.

Environmental Champion of the Year - No Floor No More, an initiative which sources and rescues flooring and carpets that would otherwise be thrown away. This is handed on to families to enable them to carpet their homes to make them warmer.

Volunteer Award - Vic and Vera Foster for managing and driving a minibus that takes elderly people to and from a lunch club at St Stephen’s Church. 

Inclusive Communities Award - St Albans Community Pantry, a charity that collects and redistributes food in danger of going to waste.

Mayor Rowlands said: 

These awards celebrate people, young and old alike, who make a priceless contribution to our community.

The range of good work that has been undertaken by these individuals is quite staggering, from projects designed to stop food waste and help those going hungry to initiatives to improve access for the disabled.

“ thank them as Mayor on behalf of the whole community for making these extraordinary efforts to help others and hope that these awards show how grateful we are for the work that they do.

Laura Gusatu, Senior Solicitor, of sponsors KJ Smith Solicitors, said:

We are thrilled to sponsor the Mayor’s Pride Awards, an event that echoes our firm’s commitment to celebrating the unsung heroes within our communities. 

We believe in celebrating those who make a positive impact, and this event honours individuals and organisations dedicated to bettering our local community. Congratulations to all winners, finalists, and those involved in making this year’s awards a success.

Photos by Danny Loo: Top, St Albans Community Pantry receives their award; bottom, Mayor, 7th from the right in the front row, surrounded by award winners at the Civic Centre. He is flanked by the Mayoress Annie Stevenson, 6th from the right, and the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Josie Madoc, to his right.

Contact for the media: John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer: 01727-819533,