Community cash is up for grabs in DT Healthy Places Awards

NDET 09-10-12 MC 3'Heather Wesson and Helen Stockton launch this year's Healthy Places Award Scheme.
NDET 09-10-12 MC 3'Heather Wesson and Helen Stockton launch this year's Healthy Places Award Scheme.

The Derbyshire Times’ Healthy Places Awards are back - and more interactive than ever.

The campaign, which aims to boost the quality of life for people across NE Derbyshire, is calling on community groups to get in touch.

This year, more cash is up for grabs than ever before to recognise and reward worthy causes. With £21,000 on offer, prizes will range from £500 to £2,000 and help groups develop their projects for the benefit of the people they serve.

Now in its third year, the grass roots campaign - run by NHS Derbyshire County in collaboration with the Derbyshire Times - wants community schemes to get interactive.

We want to see photos of your groups - let us know why you deserve a cash boost and send us a picture of your group in action. Steve Pintus, associate director of Public Health, NE Derbyshire District Council and Derbyshire County PCT, said: “Sometimes it’s nice when people recognise what we have done.

These awards just confirm that the groups have done something we and other people value. The main purpose is to draw attention to good practice and encourage other people to follow suit.”

To celebrate the launch of this year’s awards we spoke to some former winners.

Two years ago Temple Normanton Primary School’s green-fingered gardeners benefitted from the cash.

The budding young gardeners carried out improvements to their allotment, near Elm Street, where they spend months growing and tending to vegetables.

Head teacher Janet Baxter said: “The main thing is the children know you can grow veg and then eat it, you don’t have to go to the supermarket to buy it.

The children love the fact they can plant, dig and harvest their produce then take it home to eat.”

She added: “It’s had a very positive impact. The children enjoy it and they get the health benefits of going out and digging and eating fresh vegetables.”

Wessington Green Local Nature Reserve Management Committee, a project made up of volunteers dedicated to maintaining a nature reserve, was awarded £500 in 2011 which is being put towards a bench for the site.

Secretary of the group Lesley Hawke said: “I would certainly encourage others to get involved. I found it one of the more accessible routes to go through and the health authority were extremely helpful and approachable.”

Last year’s Readers’ Choice award was presented to the Village Friends in Brimington.

The bereavement support group has spent some of their cash on expanding the group to reach more people, funding day trips and hosting speakers.

End Morris, of the group, said: “It’s made a huge difference to us. Previously we were always struggling to pay the rent for the hall but the money has made us a bit more comfortable. It’s a cushion for us.”

Groups entering the Healthy Places Award should concentrate on improving health in a small and local area.

Health means different things to different people.

It could be a community clear-up to create shared green space, or a healthy eating group set up by friends and neighbours.

Perhaps you know of a project that helps people with learning difficulties integrate in to the community or a volunteer-run sports scheme.

We want to hear about any schemes that improve the mental or physical health of others.

Don’t forget to send us your group photos too - which may be published in the paper and on our website.

To get an application form email Heather.Wesson@derbyshirecountypct.nhs.uk or call 01629 53766 or 07887633620.