Unsung heroes to be recognised at awards

THEY are the crime fighting volunteers in our local neighbourhoods – constantly on the look-out for ways in which Belper can be made a safer place.

But it’s not just reporting minor outbreaks of lawlessness that Neighbourhood and Home Watch volunteers are known for these days.

From running errands to taking people to hospital appointments, volunteers have helped improve the lives of thousands of people across Amber Valley .

To recognise that contribution to society, nominations are being sought for a special awards night in Belper, which will highlight their achievements as part of a national awareness campaign. Until this Friday, June 8, people have the chance to put forward local volunteers to be recognised in front of their friends and family during an event at Belper Town Football Club.

Chairman of Belper Neighbourhood and Homewatch, Lynn Farrar, said: “There are plenty of people out there who look out for their neighbours, taking them to hospital appointments, etcetera and they ask for no payment.

“We’d like to know more about them and to celebrate their contribution. We are looking for nominations for both young people and the older generation.

“We feel this is what Neighbourhood and Homewatch is all about.

“And it wouldn’t work if it wasn’t for people with a community spirit looking after each other.”

The awards night will be held at 7.30pm on June 21, during the same week that a national campaign takes place to recognise 30 years of Neighbourhood and Home Watch (NHW), one of the largest voluntary organisations in action across the UK today.

As well as giving awards for Neighbourhood Watch schemes and coordinators, two new community awards will be up for grabs this year - a Young Person of the Year Award and a Community Champion Award.

Anybody can be put forward for the two categories.

Lynn added: “We hold an awards event every year for NHW, but this time we want to reward those special people in the Belper area who usually go unrecognised, but voluntarily do a lot for their community.There are special events being held all over the country during this National Neighbourhood Watch week and we feel Belper has always been a caring community, so we want to celebrate something special with our neighbours in this anniversary year.

“We hope to increase attendance at this event this year as it is the 30th anniversary for NHW as well as the Jubilee year. “

You can download a nomination form at www.ourwatch.org.uk. Nominations will be accepted up to 5pm on Friday, June 8.