Volunteers 'championing Yorkshire' recognised at Sheffield awards

Hundreds of people celebrated Sheffield’s vibrant voluntary and community sector at an awards ceremony.
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The Sheffield Community Awards took place at a packed Cutlers Hall for the first time in four years, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Organised by charity Voluntary Action Sheffield, the ceremony was a moving affair. The evening recognised the passionate people, groups and organisations making a difference to the city every day.

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Awards host and BBC Radio Sheffield presenter Paulette Edwards said to the room: “You are championing Yorkshire.”

The awards took place in Cutlers' Hall The awards took place in Cutlers' Hall
The awards took place in Cutlers' Hall

She added: “The voluntary and community sector is such an important part of our city.

“It has an incredible reach across Sheffield and does so much with and for so many people and communities.

“One way or another we all benefit.”

Almost 400 nominations were made for the awards, which usually take place every two years.

Hundreds of people attended the eventHundreds of people attended the event
Hundreds of people attended the event
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Winners on the night included Safiya Saeed, who founded Reach Up Youth in Burngreave in 2013, in the Inspirational Volunteer Award.

The mum-of-five’s charity uses sport as a catalyst to reduce crime and raise young people’s aspirations through various projects, including Big Brother Burngreave.

Safiya, who is also a Burngreave councillor, said: “I am so chuffed to get the award.

“Being recognised is one thing, but being recognised by your city is a completely different feeling, especially when everyone nominated was so fantastic.

The Migration Matters Festival team accepting their awardThe Migration Matters Festival team accepting their award
The Migration Matters Festival team accepting their award
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“It’s so important to recognise volunteers and the sacrifices they make.

“Winning this award has made my purpose even stronger.”

The awards ceremony included electric performances from Doncaster-raised soul singer Rumbi Tauro and Sheffield hip hop artist Franz Von.

In the Bringing People Together Award category, the winner was the Migration Matters Festival.

Safiya Saeed wins the Inspirational Volunteer awardSafiya Saeed wins the Inspirational Volunteer award
Safiya Saeed wins the Inspirational Volunteer award

This arts celebration brings international acts across all disciplines to Sheffield for a nine day event, the largest Refugee Week festival in the country.

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Volunteers play a crucial role in bringing the festival to life each summer.

Festival director Sam Holland said: “When the festival started, the aim was to celebrate and bring together the cultures and communities that make Sheffield what it is and to counter the divisive and dangerous rhetoric of the hostile environment.

“I’m thrilled we have now done that for eight years, and in the process brought some incredible arts events to Sheffield.

“Our volunteers play a huge part in making the festival happen and it is an honour to win this award on behalf of everyone involved.”

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Other award winners included Heeley City Farm, which claimed the Great & Green Award for its work championing nature and helping people to develop new skills.

United for Ukraine took home the Employment & Skills AwardUnited for Ukraine took home the Employment & Skills Award
United for Ukraine took home the Employment & Skills Award

Mentalmate, a support group which uses the power of boxing to help people talk about their mental health, won the Health & Wellbeing Award.

In the Employment & Skills Award category, the United for Ukraine project triumphed for its work helping Ukrainian nationals access employment and support services.

Charity SAYiT, which transforms the lives of LGBTQ+ young people, took home The Partnership Award.

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And there were also two VAS Trustees Special Recognition Awards made.

They celebrated the lives of Mark Hutchinson, a teacher, researcher, historian and campaigner dedicated to Sheffield’s Black history, and Steve Clark who volunteered at and led the Sunday Centre in Sheffield for 25 years.

A moment of silent reflection for the two men was also held.

The Sheffield Community Awards were sponsored by: Sheffield Council, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust, the Sheffield Health & Care Partnership, Arches Housing and with a donation from Lord David Blunkett.