Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Time to nominate your local heroes

EVERY year the Love Barrow Awards celebrate the best of the borough. Today it starts all over again - with nominations now open for you to put forward your local heroes.

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WORTHY WINNERS: Last year’s Love Barrow Award winners with their trophies at Abbey House, Barrow, following the awards ceremony in March this year JOE RILEY REF: 50017497B021

NOMINATION FORM BELOW

TODAY marks the start of the process to recognise those unsung individuals and groups who make the Barrow borough special.

The Love Barrow Awards 2012 were launched today, which means nominations are now being taken.

The awards were established to celebrate the borough’s rich sense of community spirit – and people are again encouraged to put forward those people whose everyday efforts make a difference to the lives of others.

Once the nomination period has closed on November 25, a panel of judges will draw up a shortlist of finalists.

The accolades will be presented at a glitzy awards ceremony at The Forum in Barrow on March 9.

Past nominees have told of their pride in being put forward.

But as the 2012 awards gets under way, the winners of the 2011 Community Group/Project of the Year have revealed just what the accolade means to them.

Gail Knopfel, fundraiser for the Birchall Trust, which supports victims of rape and sexual abuse in South Cumbria and North Lancashire, said of winning the group award: “We were thrilled.

“Anyone who was there would know that by our shrieks, because we just didn’t know. That was one of the nicest things. It was wonderful.

“I would encourage people to nominate you, because a very kind person nominated us and we didn’t know who that was until we won.

“It’s the local recognition that’s so precious. It’s really valuable to the organisation.

“Everybody within the organisation enjoyed it, not just the few people who got to go to the awards (evening).

“We’ve got our certificate on the wall (of their Barrow headquarters) as we come in, and the trophy on display, so everybody sees that – all the clients, counsellors and our supporters.

“And we’ve also put it on the end of all our emails.

“People enjoy it with us, and email back ‘congratulations, it couldn’t have happened to a better group’.

“So the recognition is invaluable. You can say as much as like about your work and know you’re doing a good job in the community, but somehow it puts a seal on it.

“It’s like a stamp of approval.”

Dave Coverdale, Barrow locality manager for Barrow Fire and Rescue Service and chairman of the Barrow Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP), received the 2011 Ambassador of the Year title.
Nominations are not taken for that award – it is simply presented on the night – and Mr Coverdale said he took it as a complement to himself and his colleagues.

He said: “It was a nice surprise. A bit of a shock, but really nice to be recognised on a local basis for the work that, I think, both I and the (fire) service got involved with.

“I think it’s a recognition of both – how the fire and rescue service bought into all the community activities within the town – and I was proud of that.”

The Love Barrow awards are organised by representatives from Barrow Borough Council, Cumbria Police, Barrow CDRP, Cumbria Fire and Rescue, the Evening Mail and the Bay.

Mr Coverdale said the event had flourished over the years.

He said: “I’ve been involved in the past in the early incarnations of the award – involved in the judging and formation of the events.

“And it’s in the trusted hands of the group running it now and I think they’ve gone from strength to strength each year, and it’s really heartening.

“They’re willing to come forward and make the event what it is, and particularly the awards evening, because it’s a true celebration of what Barrow offers from its community.

“And it gives the opportunity for members of the public to recognise people in their midst who contribute to what makes, I believe, Barrow a fantastic place.

“To see that recognition on the evening, for people who put in and give so much back to their community, is fantastic.

“And it’s fantastic the town can organise and put on such a good show for them.

“The people nominated don’t carry out these activities just to achieve that.

“They do it out of the goodness of their hearts and a real focus on the things that matter to them locally.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for local people to recognise other local people who are doing some of the simple things, but which they deliver consistently.

“The sum of all those small activities that people across the town are fulfilling every day, makes a difference to the place the town is."

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