For more than a decade the Northamptonshire Community Foundation has been supporting local community and voluntary groups with vital financial support.
Since 2001, more than £5 million has been handed out to enable important community projects to get off the ground.
On Monday the annual Northamptonshire Community Foundation awards ceremony will be held at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton, when certain groups who received grants in the last year will be rewarded for their work.
Northamptonshire Community Foundation fund development manager Jessica Pilkington explained: “The winners will not be announced until the night itself, but there is already huge excitement in the community for this celebration of unsung heroes of our county.”
Here we catch up with just a few of the contenders in this year’s awards.
Shortlisted groups in the Transforming Lives category include She Matters and the Beanfield Artists in Corby, the Daylight Centre in Wellingborough and the Oundle Transition Town Group.
She Matters used their Foundation grant to set up a women-only safe environment, offering confidential counselling and emotional support to women in need.
Meanwhile, the Beanfield Artists used their money for developing wellbeing walks for young people who had experienced mental distress.
At The Daylight Centre, the grant was used to help move unemployed and homeless clients back into employment, through funding a position for a client support worker who helped in CV writing, interview preparation and job applications.
At the Oundle Transition Town Group, a thermal imaging camera was bought to provide energy surveys for elderly people, to help them identify where they were losing valuable heat in their homes.
In category two (Sports, Culture and Heritage), Back to Books in Corby was nominated as part of the national Big Draw initiative. The group were given permission to explore and draw hidden parts of the Corby Cube, council chambers, library and theatre. The artwork created was shared online and through exhibitions.
Another nominee in the same category was Kettering Volleyball Club, which used its grant to pay for hall hire; which in turn helped many more people to take part in the game.
Head coach Alex Hajigeorgieva said: “This nomination was totally unexpected and we are very pleased and grateful that they have thought about us. We only used the money for the hall hire but that gave us the freedom to do much more.”
Oundle Carnival, The Castle in Wellingborough and Stuart Road Community Centre in Corby are among the nominees in the Strengthening Community section.
At Stuart Road, a grant was used to hire a project worker and organise a programme of social activities to bring the community together, for example through a new gardening club and cookery sessions.
Programme co-ordinator Betty Green said: “We had a grant of £2,000 which enabled us to reach many members of the community to promote community cohesion.”
Finally, Brighter Beginnings in Rushden were nominated in the Supporting Families category after they used a grant to distribute one-off packs, with items such as toiletries, nappies and clothes, to families in need throughout Rushden.
Category 1: Transforming Lives
CAN Young People’s Team, Northampton
She Matters, Corby
Beanfield Artists, Corby
Daylight Centre, Wellingborough
Rape and Incest Crisis Centre, Northampton
Oundle Transition Town Group
Category 2: Sports, culture
Back to Books, Corby
Disability Inclusive Sports Club, Towcester
Northampton Town Football in the Community
Kettering Volleyball Club
Category 3: Strengthening Community
Friends of Castle Primary, Northampton
The Castle, Wellingborough
Stuart Road Community Centre, Corby
Category 4: Supporting
Brighter Beginnings, Rushden
Rural Enterprise Community Interest Company, Daventry
Camrose Toy Library,
Thomas’ Fund, Northampton