East Yorkshire Awards 2014

Goole Social and Shooting Club is a small sports and social club providing competitive indoor sports which everyone, old and young can take part in together. The Club’s elderly and retired members travel long distances to the weekly sessions. But this not just another ‘get together and natter’ club for the elderly, far from it. “Why do you come?” we asked. “To compete” was the answer! And to our astonishment we discovered we were talking to the current British Singles Kurling Champion. The members are busy training for this month’s British Singles and Club Competition.

Independent Domestic Abuse Service works with the victims of domestic abuse, both women and men and their children and with the victims of rape in York and Harrogate. It also provides education for younger people who have little idea about building relationships in their own lives. There were 120 reported cases of rape and 3,500 cases of high risk of abuse reported in York and Harrogate last year – 300 to 400 still ongoing. The charity’s outreach service dealt with 1,887 calls and 1,100 requests for refuge accommodation. Despite this real need, the Service faces considerable challenges with its work and its fundraising, largely because society either ignores these issues or sweeps them under the carpet.

Stamford Bridge in Bloom has worked hard to involve everyone in the village, from local pre-school, infant school, junior school, youth club and adult residents. And once people realised it wasn’t just about planting a few flowers, this has turned into a whole village enterprise. The result is better relationships between the age groups, a reduction in vandalism and the almost complete disappearance of graffiti. The group’s next activity is to develop a community orchard.

Jack Raine Community Foundation, based in York, is a very important safe place for children and young people who have been abused or have behavioural difficulties. Each week around 1,000 young people use the facilities. Not all have problems, but those that do can get help with education, advice about work and counselling. This safety net works because the children trust the staff and volunteers, some of whom have been through the mill themselves. And it works, because so many volunteers donate so much free time – around 10,000 hours last year.

York Children’s University aims to raise aspirations of children aged 7 to 14 from seven schools, all in deprived areas, by promoting their enthusiasm for learning and by helping them to understand the world of work. The children attend lectures and visit many different business organisations – the local universities and 40 businesses all provide volunteers for the scheme. Children who stick with the scheme and pass the final assessment, ‘graduate’ at York University. Wearing cap and gown in a real ceremony helps to break down barriers for the children and their parents who may think “university is not for people like us”.

Wolds Wonders is a drama group, based in Pocklington, for adults and young people with learning and other disabilities. This group is special because it does not spoon-feed its members, rather, it encourages them to achieve results. This is a long process, the pantomime production rehearsal starts in June for the Christmas performance. But it gets amazing results from people normally forgotten or ignored by society. One member told us it was the highlight of his week most of which is spent doing nothing! As importantly, Wold Wonders helps to reduce the stigma and invisibility of people with learning and other disabilities.

Yorkshire (North and West) Army Cadet Force, in York, operates an outreach project which uses the positive aspects of cadet military training to provide early intervention to children engaged in truancy and other behavioural problems, including minor crime. The programme uses army cadets as positive role models. This effective youth programme helps young people get their lives back on track. The results speak for themselves with 92% of those engaged in minor crime not re-offending and 89% of children reported for truancy not returning to their old ways.

Unity in Community, a community development trust based in North Hull, works with people on one of the most socially-deprived housing estates in Hull. It purchases property to rent to local people and to earn income. The property is renovated by local people who are employed either as mentors or apprentices. This in turn provides much needed income and, more importantly, a work ethos to families who have seen generational unemployment. It provides IT training, job-seeking counselling, debt advice, healthy eating classes and a holistic service to help get people back into the mainstream.