Community Action Awards 2019 – Complete Results

Apologies for the delay in publicising, but here are the results of the Community Action Awards 2019, together with extracts of the speech made by Mike Bulpitt, CEO of CAIW and a little about each winner.

The judges this year were Mary Case, President of Community Action IW, Lora Peacey Wilcox, who until a couple of weeks ago was the Chairman of the Isle of Wight Council and Mike Bulpitt the Chief Executive of Community Action Isle of Wight.

There were 7 categories of award this year and as the variety of applications was, as ever, incredibly diverse and the impact on local people and communities was clearly huge.

All the groups short listed are clearly winners and doing a huge amount to benefit the Island.

Sport – sponsored by Community Action Isle of Wight

  • Ryde Saints Football Club – 1st
  • Isle of Wight County Table Tennis Association – 2nd
  • Sandy’s Salty Seabirds – 3rd

Arts & Heritage – Sponsored by Morris Crocker Accountants

  • Ventnor Exchange – 1st
  • Friends of Shanklin Theatre – 2nd
  • Wild about Wight – 3rd

Village Halls and Community Buildings – sponsored by Norris and Fisher insurance brokers

  • Aspire Ryde – 1st
  • WOW Women’s Centre – 2nd
  • Ventnor Exchange -3rd

ENVIRONMENT – sponsored by AONB – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

  • The Common Space- 1st
  • Isle of Wight Gardens Trust – 2nd
  • Blue Seas Protection Charitable Trust – 3rd 


  • Cruse Bereavement – 1st
  • Bembridge Lunch Group- 2nd
  • Healthwatch Enter and View Team – 3rd

Children and Young People category  – sponsored by the Isle of Wight Community Fund

  • Shanklin Voluntary Youth and Community Centre – 1st
  • YMCA Young Carers – 2nd
  • Rainbow Trust – 3rd

LOCAL COMMUNITIES – Sponsored by Glanvilles Damant Legal Services

  • Freshwater Independent Lifeboat – 1st
  • IOW Foodbank – 2nd
  • Suicide Prevention and Intervention IOW – 3rd

Award in memory of Shahida Nehorai

Tragically we lost Shahida and in her memory this award is given to a person who has made an outstanding personal contribution to helping children and young people.

The award this year is not going to one individual as it did last year but rather to a team that has been doing an amazing job for young people in Shanklin for as long as anyone can remember …..its the team at Shanklin Voluntary Youth and Community Centre.

Each year the JUDGES also make a single AWARD to an individual from any category WHO HAS MADE A REAL IMPRESSION ON THEM  over the course of the judging:

The person receiving the award this year is someone who really inspired the judges in the way he told the story of how he and his friends went about creating a wonderful new driving force in their community.

The drive and determination….and also the flair and inspiration were all there….

That community is Ventnor and that person is Jack Whitewood from Ventnor Exchange.

Jack wins the Shield and a chq for £50 for his organisation.

Overall Winner of CAA award 2019

  • Aspire Ryde – 1st
  • Cruse Bereavement – 2nd

Find out more about the groups below:

  • Ryde Saints Football Team

The club was formed in 1995 by then Dr Des Murphy with a specific focus on supporting teenagers into adult football….. and a focus on youth and a welcoming approach is part of the DNA of the club.

Over 25 years the club can point to many stories where it has provided structure, stability and boundaries to those that would not otherwise of had them….

by way of example one young lad was intermittently homeless, a user of class A drugs…but even when addicted he always set aside time and committed to training at Ryde Saints and the support provided by the club helped him to overcome some of his challenges and he has now been drug free for ten years.

Ten young players/volunteers have been supported in recent years to a level where they play or are employed by professional or semi professional clubs and Ryde currently has 9 teams, and holds the FA Charter Standard status marking it out as an excellently run club.

  • IW County Table Tennis Association

Based at its excellent facility, the IW Table Tennis Centre at Smallbrook, a small team run the centre, the various leagues on the Island, both winter and summer, numerous open practice sessions, a number of tournaments and also coaching.

The coaching, from its Table Tennis England accredited coach includes outreach work in schools, promoting the game and providing an excellent start for budding players.

The open practice sessions, both day time and evening …. When we visited there must have been around 40 people on a Monday morning…..also provide a great way for our older players to keep fit and have a great social network and the centre itself is also used for other sports such as archery.

  • Sandy’s Salty Seabirds

Starting only this year this sea swimming group now has 200 members and is doing for sea swimming on the Island what Park Run has been doing for running.

The group provides an inclusive, encouraging and safe environment for people to gain the benefits… for both body and mind…. of taking a refreshing dip in the sea.

Female members currently make up about 80% of members and the mixed age group and variety of backgrounds creates a strong and interesting social group too.

Using social media as its communication tool, group members can take a flexible approach to meeting up with friends to make the most of our wonderful Island’s great environment.

  • Wild About Wight

Wild About Wight is a community project hosted by Vectis Housing Association and funded by the national lottery project Down to the Coast.

It aims to explore, educate and celebrate the natural environment of the Island through an arts based approach.

Two staff supported by a small team of volunteers and local artists have run a year of monthly free art workshops culminating in a community art exhibition at Quay Arts.

Using locations as diverse as Borthwood Copse, the beach under Sandown Pier, an Oakfield Playground, a birdhide and busy shopping streets, many thousands of Islanders have benefitted through this unique programme of events combining art with local natural heritage.

  •    Friends of Shanklin Theatre

The Friends were established in 2008 in response to the potential closure of the theatre and continues to go from strength to strength.

During the last year a variety of celebration events have taken place to thank the volunteers, patrons and friends who have supported the Theatre over the last ten years.

The theatre is home to many other local dance/drama/music groups such as Island Savoyards, Pepperpot Players and Spotlight to name but three and all partners played their role in the celebrations.

…. 72 volunteers were awarded a silver 5 year long service badge.

The Friends continue to improve the Theatre with a new ticketing system installed and an increased focus on recycling initiated.

All of this alongside the usual provision of an extensive theatre offer means the theatre is now firmly on the national circuit for major artists and shows and none of this would be possible without the Friends.

  • Ventnor Exchange

Ventnor Exchange is a not for profit social enterprise set up to develop a creative community and economy in Ventnor……. to provide access to cultural experience and help people learn new creative skills….with a particular focus on young people.

Initiated by a group of local teenagers with no financial backing or support it is an initiative that was perhaps expected to fail but has instead endured and grown to become firmly embedded in the local community and a catalyst for many creative projects and initiatives.

Two full time staff and an apprentice are supported by a team of around 50 volunteers helping with events such as the Children’s Festival and of course the now nationally recognised Ventnor Fringe which now hosts over 400 artists and 6000 people each year.

The Children’s Festival started in 2018 welcomed over 500 people to a dedicated festival for young people….

…. and the Ventnor Giant street art has had over 500,000 interactions on Instagram and was chosen as one of the best murals in the world for 2018 by Street Art Today.

–      Ventnor Exchange

What I didn’t mention in the previous summary of their efforts is that in 2014 Ventnor Exchange create a pop up space in the town’s old post office.

It has become the town’s first arts centre, open year round and hosting everything from community choirs to youth groups, international touring shows to language classes.

It serves fine coffee which my fellow judges took full advantage of, craft beer, which unfortunately I couldn’t take advantage of……and is a record shop but the whole place is flexible with the bar on wheels and movable and a stage for performers can quickly be created.

A really interesting and well used space for the community.

  • Wow Women’s Centre

Run by Wight Dash which has a small paid team supported by 80 plus volunteers ….. it exists to support and empower women who experience multiple disadvantage which includes adversity such as domestic abuse, hate crime, poor mental health and addictive behaviour.

Open Monday to Friday 10-4 and other times for specific events, the centre provides a safe place and a variety of support services and opportunities, which help to address lonliness, emotional concerns, practical skills such as cooking, baking and sewing and help women to move forward in a positive way with their lives.

Women using the centre come from an amazingly large number of different countries and many of the women benefitting from support then in turn volunteer and help others.

  • Aspire Ryde

The team at Aspire Ryde are nearing completion of their vision to create a fit for purpose community hub that provides a great space for a huge variety of community initiatives.

Aspire is a place for people to belong….it is like joining a huge family….and an army of volunteers have been mobilised to develop the Aspire concept, share ideas, and lead groups both within the building and across the community.

Working with over 50 other groups and organisations to deliver a vast array of services, Aspire also continues to be as environmentally and financially sustainable as possible and 125 volunteers give an estimated 45,000 hours of their time each year.

  • The Common Space

Common Space is a not for profit company that works to revitalise every day, lost or forgotten public land and buildings putting them to use in the service of community wellbeing and social enterprise to help create healthy places for people and wildlife.

Based in Sandown Bay it has a strong focus on the Bay which it sees as a 5 mile showcase for 100 million years of wildlife.

Recent work has seen the creation of a new 1km circular trail around the Browns golf site, linking 2 public woodlands and  a reed bed, supplemented by new planting and habitat pods……

This has become the venue for its Discovery Bay wildlife events, the IWNHS Bioblitz, Hullaballo’s forest school and Vectis Housing’s Big Day out.

These and other efforts such as the Lost Duver project have seen Sandown Bay winning the BBC Countryfile Britain’s Best Beach on the basis of its ‘rich cast of wildlife’.

  • IW Garden’s Trust

The Isle of Wight Gardens Trust was formed in 1989 when a small group of people who were concerned about the gardens, parks, and designed landscapes on the Island came together to consider how best to preserve their future.

Today it has a membership of nearly 200 people run by a small volunteer team but able to call on a range of extra volunteers for particular pieces of work.

An informative website, twice yearly newsletters, study days, talks and garden open days all help provide information and access to Island gardens….

…. and the group led the development of the Parks, Gardens and Designed Landscapes Historic Environment Action Plan for the Island.

All their efforts make a significant contribution to awareness and knowledge and preservation of these beautiful Island assets.

  • Blue Seas Protection Charitable Trust

Working under a mantra of campaigning globally but acting locally Blue Seas is a marine conservation charity helping to spread awareness of marine issues, the plastic pollution crisis, overfishing and much more.

With 3,500 Facebook followers worldwide, affiliated to the United Nations Ocean Action Group and a famous Patron in Joanna Lumley….

……., locally Blue Seas have 30 signed up members and a further 50 to 70 volunteers who help with local activity such as beach cleans and the Isle of Wight Day Coastal Clean Up.

The group also cleans the actual seas around the Isand, not just the beaches, with a ‘seasweep’ apparatus operated from its boat and works with an increasing number of other community groups such as the Seascouts and Green Town groups both on educational and practical initiatives.

  • Healthwatch Enter and View Team

Healthwatch exists to help the Island understand the needs, experiences and concerns of people who use local health and social care services and to try and ensure that these are addressed.

One specific part of this role is delivered by a team of around 20 volunteers who give up their time to go and visit hospital wards, care homes, GP surgeries and other locations where health and care might be delivered and report on their findings.

They focus on a number of key issues each year as identified as priorities by the public talk and then go and talk to patients, staff, family members, visitors, partner agencies related to that area.

This on the ground activity by the volunteers enables Healthwatch to report from the frontline on a range of topics from mental health to residential care, to experiences on hospital wards.

  • Cruse Bereavement

The IOW branch of the national charity Cruse has 24 committed volunteers providing over 3000 hours of support around this difficult and challenging subject.

Funded solely by donations and fundraising events last year Cruse celebrated 25 years of providing bereavement support to the Island community and supported almost 200 people with an average of 7 support sessions each,…. to come to terms with their grief.

It is a great commitment to be a Cruse volunteer….not only do they have to pay hundreds of pounds for their own training but once qualified have to attend monthly mandatory supervision and bi monthly on-going training.

It can of course be harrowing listening to client’s stories but the volunteers find it a hugely rewarding role.

Cruse also support other local organisations in handling  bereavement such as schools and works closely with St Marys, funeral directors, Citizens Advice and a range of other organisations to make sure that bereaved Islanders are given the best support available.

  •  Bembridge Lunch Group

Run out of the Cloisters church community building a team of around 30 volunteers provide a regular opportunity for people in Bembridge and St Helens who are elderly or feel isolated to get out of the house and come together to have a good 2 course meal ……and of course enjoy the company and friendship of others.

The group meets twice a week Tuesday and Thursday and normally around 35 attend with volunteers doing all the preparation, cooking, serving and clearing up.

In addition members unable to get to the Cloisters on their own can benefit from transport to and from the hall provided by the Bembridge Community Bus driven by its volunteers.

The longevity of this committed group is impressive with it having been set up in the current format back in the 70s.

  • Shanklin Voluntary Youth and Community Centre

This Shanklin group was setup in the 1960s with many of the current senior volunteers being involved from the early days as members.

Shanklin run a weekly youth club (TCs) with around 500 members and a weekly attendance of over 100, offering a disco, indoor games and other activities….nerf wars, scalextric, Fifa football  and much more.

All delivered just with volunteers and lots of fundraising and occasional grants the centre ensures that the youngsters attending take real pride in the club and make them fully aware of its long history……..

…. and this is clearly working given that so many who attend come back and support the club as they get older.

There’s also lots of overlap and joint working with Shanklin Youth Football, Green Town volunteers, the table tennis group, dance and dram groups, martial arts groups and more….all meaning that the youngsters in Shanklin and the Bay benefit from a great range of opportunities.

  •  Rainbow Trust

Rainbow Trust is a charity which supports families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness.

Whether the child themselves or their parents or siblings or wider family the shock of receiving the news and the challenges associated with then living with and dealing with the challenges can be traumatic.

Providing a listening ear, counselling, advice, signposting, and respite means that the Rainbow Trust provides the families with that bit of help that can make all the difference in coping with the issues.

The Trust also works in partnership with other local groups with a similar focus, such as Layla’s trust and Daisy Chains.

  • YMCA Young Carers

This YMCA service currently supports 255 young people who have a caring responsibility for parents or siblings in their home ……….using just fundraising and some small amounts of grant funding….. and with a team with only 1 full time, 1 part time staff member and a number of dedicated volunteers.

The caring role may be created by poor physical/mental health or drug/alcohol misuse and impacts the young person’s education, health and mental well being in different ways.

The service is there to make the young carers feel that they are valued and being listened to and support is tailored to their specific needs.

This could be counselling sessions, transporting them to the doctors or helping them participate in specific events/support programmes such as the Young Carers Festival, the Christmas Party or maybe the Gorgeousness Programme which helps young carers with low self esteem and body image worries.

  • Freshwater Independent Lifeboat

Freshwater Lifeboat is a dedicated and passionate group of volunteers who serve the community from St Catherine’s Lighthouse to Hurst Castle and 30 nautical miles into the open sea.

Its mission is to not only save lives but teach visitors and the local community good sea sense and lifesaving techniques.

A large team of 60 volunteers both man and manage the boats, take part in training activities and undertake fundraising which includes managing the local shop which provides a really useful tourist facility for Freshwater Bay at the same time.

Lifeboat members train twice a week to prepare themselves for the wide variety of instances that occur, especially in the summer months and 1 person rescued last year when he got into difficulties in his kayak is now currently in training to become one of the group’s latest volunteers.

  • IOW Foodbank

The object of the Foodbank is the relief of financial hardship of people in need through the provision of food and other essential items, which they could not otherwise afford through lack of means.

The team is predominantly volunteer based with 198 people giving up their time and a total of around 25,000 hours donated.

Over 5000  people were supported last year referred by around 150 frontline health/care professionals who issue vouchers as required.

Clients can benefit from 3 vouchers within a 6 month period which can be used in one of 6 Foodbank distribution sites across the Island and in addition the Foodbank also runs a clothing/textile recycling initiative and delivers an Eat Well Spend Less cooking project to provide further support services.

  • Suicide Prevention and Intervention IOW

Formed following the identification of a desperate need for such an initiative on the Island…….. a 24/7 response service now exists manned by a team of 14 regular volunteers with two people always available day or night and a live online chat service available.

To put the demand for this service in perspective, 21 interventions have been made between Jan 23rd and March 15th and the team believe that over recent months 12 interventions have saved lives when a suicide looked certain.

Training around suicide awareness is another key element delivered with 45 people trained in the last year and many more waiting to undertake the training.


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