Unsung heroes who give their time to help others in their community have been honoured by Blaby District Council.
The prize-giving ceremony for the 2022 Community Awards saw volunteers from across the District descend on the Council Chamber to find out who had taken the title of Volunteer of the Year, Young Volunteer of the Year and Community Group of the Year.
The Council launched the awards last year and received 23 individual volunteer nominations and nominations for 11 groups.
After careful consideration the judging panel chose Darren Callis as Volunteer of the Year 2022 and Kiya Kanani as Young Volunteer of the Year.
The Community Group of the Year was decided by public vote with more than 3,000 people getting involved and the organisation with the most votes turned out to be Epworth Forest Juniors Football Club.
Leader of Blaby District Council, Councillor Terry Richardson, who was compere for the evening, said: “The judging panel had a very difficult task in choosing just one winner in each of the volunteer categories as all the nominees were so deserving.
“However, after much deliberation the winners were chosen and it was fabulous to see their reactions on hearing of their success.
“The public really got behind the voting process for the Community Group of the Year and it was great to learn we had received more than 3,000 votes.
“I was privileged to be compere for the event and to be among such amazing, selfless and dedicated people – people who make such a difference to the lives of other residents in our communities.
“Their kind-heartedness and generosity are an inspiration for us all and long may they continue in their efforts.”
Volunteer of the Year: Darren Callis – Darren is head coach at Blaby and District Spartans Inclusive Football Club and was nominated by a member of the club, due to his commitment to encouraging young adults with a range of disabilities to get involved in football.
His nomination highlighted how he instilled confidence in the youngsters, seeing the footballer first, not the disability.
Young Volunteer of the Year: Kiya Kanani – Kiya raised £35k for childhood cancer awareness and organised fundraising activities for other charitable causes, including for Ukrainian families joining her school.
She was nominated in recognition of these incredible efforts as well as her strength in overcoming personal struggles and her ability to inspire her peers.
Community Group of the Year: Epworth Forest Juniors Football Club – based in Leicester Forest East the club has a particular focus on promoting girls’ participation in football as a force for improving self-esteem as well as promoting health and wellbeing.
For more information about our winners and runners-up: https://www.blaby.gov.uk/leisure-health-and-community/community/community-awards-2022/
Blaby District Council also thanks our generous sponsors for funding this year’s Community Awards: the Love Blaby Lottery, Jessup Partnerships, BHIB Charities Insurance and Central Co-op