Youngsters' contributions recognised

VOLUNTARY work and projects devised by young people throughout the county to help reduce crime have been recognised at a ceremony.

VOLUNTARY work and projects devised by young people throughout the county to help reduce crime have been recognised at a ceremony.

The event, hosted by The High Sheriff of Suffolk, Diana Hunt, was organised by The Suffolk Foundation to recognise the work done to improve local communities.

The Red Rose Chain, an Ipswich drama group, won the Youth Organisation Award, as well as a cheque for �1,000 and a trophy.

Over the past ten years, the group have delivered more than 30 theatre and 12 short film projects designed to help people reflect on the impact of their behaviour within the community.

The two other finalists of the award, sponsored by Suffolk New College, were the Waterfront Community Centre Senior Anchor Club and Halesworth-based Suffolk Artlink.

The Lowestoft-based Mow and Grow project was presented with the Suffolk Crimebeat Award by the High Sheriff for providing a free gardening service for vulnerable people in the community, and providing work experience and employment for those at a disadvantage in the labour market.

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During 2008, 100 volunteers at Mow and Grow made more than 1,500 garden visits, bringing the gardens up to the standard of their neighbour's homes, so they are not targeted for petty burglary. The project has now been put forward to the National Crimebeat Award finals in June.

The runners-up were Waterfront Community Centre Senior Anchor Club of Ipswich, which helps fight prejudice through the annual Respect festival, and Jump, a Lowestoft-based mentoring service for the young people.

The Volunteer of The Year Award was presented to 77-year-old Geoffrey Brogden from Needham Market for his decades of work with many charities and individuals, including fighting for those who have difficulty accessing services.

Stephen Singleton, chief executive of The Suffolk Foundation, which manages the High Sheriffs Fund, said: “These awards really bring the many unsung heroes who are doing such great work throughout the county to the fore. These are the people who are really making a real difference at the grassroots of our communities, building social cohesion and creating safer environments. As the leading independent, grant making organisation in the county we support each one of them, these people are the glue in our communities.”

The Suffolk Foundation's chairman David Sheepshanks also handed out the Black, Minority, Ethnic Community Awards on behalf of the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality, to Shayra Begun, Sylvia Parker, Andy Yacoub, Glen Walters and Gulshan Kayembe.

The event was held on Tuesday evening at the St Nicholas Centre, Ipswich.

Would you like to pay tribute to these youngsters? Write to our Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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