Fakenham Town Council award set to put the spotlight on the town’s army of unsung heroes

First Focus in Fakenham, one of the many local groups dependent on the support of volunteers. Pictur

First Focus in Fakenham, one of the many local groups dependent on the support of volunteers. Picture; Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Fakenham Town Council is appealing to local people to nominate kind-hearted residents for its annual Community Volunteer Award.

First handed out more than 15 years ago, the award aims to recognise the work of the town’s army of unsung heroes, who, between them, devote hundreds of hours to helping others.

Fakenham mayor George Acheson urged local folk to nominate people they thought made a contribution to community life.

“The town relies heavily on volunteers and there are lots of people who strive away and get very little recognition, so it is only right that their efforts should be applauded,” he said.

Janet Holdom, who has been a town councillor since 1999, said the award was a way of celebrating and promoting the work of volunteers, from those leading small community-run groups, to people supporting larger organisations.

“There is so much being done by people behind the scenes and the work they do mitigates against loneliness and social isolation,” she added.

“The idea of the award is to bring this to public attention and promote volunteering.”

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Previous winners have included Jim Baldwin, who helped found Fakenham History Society; Fakenham Citizen’s Advice Bureau volunteer Jan Stratton, who successfully campaigned to keep the branch open after it was threatened with closure; Maureen Smith, who set up and ran a group for people with disabilities despite being born without arms, and Irene Doughty, who became a volunteer at community group First Focus after being supported by the charity following the death of her husband.

First Focus, which was set up in 2002, supports nearly 4,000 vulnerable and disabled people and their carers in the Fakenham area by offering advice, running clubs and support groups and organising special events.

Appealing to local people to nominate someone they think would be a worthy winner of the award, Mrs Holdom said: “I would like to encourage people to come forward as it is not just about giving the nominee their moment in the limelight, it is about offering encouragement to other people who might be thinking about volunteering.”

Nomination forms can be collected from Fakenham Town Council offices, phone 01328 853653, or email: info@fakenhamtowncouncil.co.uk The closing date for nominations is May 16.