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2019 awards winners

Picture of the love where we live finalists from 2019

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s annual community awards – Love Where We Live Awards – were presented at a ceremony at the Assembly Hall Theatre on Wednesday 9 October. Ben West was announced as the overall 2019 Love Where We Live Award winner. Ben also won this year’s Young Volunteer of the Year award.

Ben, along with his family, set up the Sam West Foundation after his younger brother tragically took his own life in 2018. Ben has gone on to become a campaigner for mental health issues in young people, establishing initiatives such as Project Walk to Talk  and launching a petition, Save our Students, which aims to press the government to make mental health awareness training a compulsory part of teacher training. Ben’s response to his loss has been to do all he can to ensure other young lives might be saved, that other families should not have to go through what he and his family suffered. In his words, “No brother should have to stand up at a funeral and talk about his 15 year old brother, that shouldn't happen.”

Eight awards in total were given out at this year’s ceremony, ranging from Best Group and Ethical Business to Young Sports Achiever and Individual Hero.

Other winners were:

Ethical Business

Goupie

Janet Simpson has endeavoured to make Goupie, the Goudhurst based chocolate company,  a company that does not cost the earth physically, or metaphorically. With flexible working hours, 100% recyclable packaging, compostable bags and locally sourced ingredients, Janet has made Goupie into as ethical a business as possible across all aspects of the company.

Best Group

Special Educational Needs Support Tunbridge Wells

Becky, Sarah and Gemma have made a difference to so many local families during the past 10 months. They have formed a group offering support and advice to parents of children with Special Educational Needs, investing their own time, money and emotions in to supporting strangers who are in a difficult position. The parents helped so far feel less overwhelmed with anxiety, fear, anger and guilt; they feel empowered and supported and for many this means they can face each day with more optimism that things can improve.

Sports Achiever

Rita Weeks

Rita has tirelessly headed the Tunbridge Wells netball league for over 32 years and is now retiring. She and her husband organise all the teams and dedicate four nights a week, come rain or shine, to allow the teams to play in a fun, friendly league. One nominee said:

“I started playing in the league at 17 and I am now 57 and watch my children play. The league has flourished over the years and Rita has dedicated her whole life to it.”

Young Sports Achiever

Harley Curtis-Lawrence

Harley is an acrobatic gymnast who at 11 years of age, has moved from the development programme in his sport to the Federation of International Gymnastics - a much higher level, which has gymnasts up to the age of 18. Harley has faced this new challenge with determination and trains for a minimum of 15 hours a week to achieve the level required. Despite facing injury this year, Harley has been selected to trial to represent the GB squad at the European Championships in Israel later this year.

Individual Hero

Eugene Gardner

Eugene is the driving force behind Rusthall Community Cinema. Eugene's vision and ability to enthuse others has created a thriving club with over 75 people attending each film show. Rusthall Community Cinema is growing year-on-year and local interest with it. Without Eugene the cinema would not have started, and would not still be running successfully as a benefit to the community of Rusthall. He is a hero to be celebrated.

Charity of the Year

Crossways Community

Crossways Community is a mental health charity based solely in Tunbridge Wells that wanted to share their knowledge and support with the Tunbridge Wells community. So, in January 2019 they opened a new community café in the centre of Tunbridge Wells – The Kitchen Table. The Kitchen Table is a café open to everyone but with a special focus on those suffering poor mental health and those who support them. Crossways Community is committed to helping fight the scourge of mental health and to support those who live with it. The Kitchen Table is a vital part of that fight.

The awards this year were sponsored by Town and Country Foundation, Fusion Lifestyle, Trinity Theatre, Kent and Sussex Courier, LMW Support Services and King Charles’ School Old Boys’ Association.

The other finalists in each of the categories were:

Best Group Award

  • Tunbridge Wells Mums in Business Network
  • Sarah's Runners

Sports Achiever of the Year Award

  • Alexander Faulkner
  • Suzi Rich

Young Sports Achiever of the Year

  • Rusthall Victors FC Under 10s
  • Michael Talebi

Ethical Business Award

  • Tunbridge Wells Forum
  • Colley Raine & Associates

Charity of the Year Award

  • Tunbridge Wells Citizens Advice
  • DAVSS

Young Volunteer of the Year Award

  • Melissa Hatch
  • Connor Terry

Individual Hero Award

  • Dawn Stanford
  • Peter Querstret

Sports Training and Equipment awards also were presented to the four runners-up in the sports categories.


2018 awards winners

Fegans, the children’s charity that supports children and their families through counselling and parent support, was crowned the overall 2018 Love Where We Live winner. Fegans also won this year’s Charity of the Year award.

Picture of the love where we live finalists from 2018

Fegans’ priority is to support children with one to one counselling sessions and to provide parenting support, with the goal of working towards a world where children are free to become all they were created to be. Their work serving the children and families of the local community is already making an impact in Tunbridge Wells.

Eight awards in total were given out at this year’s ceremony, ranging from Best Group and Ethical Business to Young Sports Achiever and Individual Hero.

The winners and finalists for all the awards were:

Best Group Award

Winner - Tunbridge Wells Citizens Advice Bureau Volunteers

  • Finalist - Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Services
  • Finalist - Rusthall Community Cinema

Charity of the Year Award

Winner - Fegans

  • Finalist - Life & Soul
  • Finalist - Tunbridge Wells Mental Health Resource

Ethical Business Award

Winner - Childrensalon

  • Finalist - CountryBike
  • Finalist - The Forum, Tunbridge Wells

Individual Hero Award

Winner - Gill Daniels

  • Finalist - Davie Hardie
  • Finalist - Philippa Bernstein

Sports Achiever of the Year Award

Winner - Tunbridge Wells Hockey Club

  • Finalist - Joe Watts
  • Finalist - Dave Allen

Young Sports Achiever of the Year Award

Winner - Fern Sneddon

  • Finalist - Tunbridge Wells Rugby Football Club U15 Ladies Team
  • Finalist - Rebekah O'Brien

Young Volunteer of the Year Award

Winner - Milly Evans

  • Finalist - Connor Terry
  • Finalist - Tommy Barlow

2017 awards winners

Alexander Runting was crowned the overall 2017 Love Where We Live winner in a ceremony that took place in the Assembly Hall Theatre, Royal Tunbridge Wells on Wednesday 4 October. Alex also won this year’s Young Volunteer of the Year award.

Picture of the love where we live finalists from 2017

Alex was nominated for his volunteer work at The Cyber Café and with the IT team at St Gregory’s Catholic School, giving his time and expertise to help others. He was praised by the judges for showing maturity and patience beyond his years guiding those who need assistance through the ever changing world of social media and computer advancement.

Eight awards in total were given out at this year’s ceremony, ranging from Best Group and Charity of the Year to Young Sports Achiever and Individual Hero. Sports Training and Equipment awards also were presented to the four runners-up in the sports categories.

The winners and finalists for all the awards were:

Best Group Award

Winner - 19th Royal Tunbridge Wells St Matthew’s Scout Group

  • Finalist - Calverley Adventure Grounds
  • Finalist - Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun

Sports Achiever of the Year Award

Winner - Billy Hall

  • Finalist - Morwenna Everitt
  • Finalist - Annabel Guye-Johnson

Young Sports Achiever of the Year

Winner - Harley Curtis-Lawrence

  • Finalist - Rosie Dobson
  • Finalist - Izzie Mercer

Ethical Business Award

Winner – Trinity Theatre

  • Finalist - Cook
  • Finalist - Bidborough Stores

Charity of the Year Award

Winner – St George’s Childcare

  • Finalist - Crossways Community
  • Finalist - Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Services

Young Volunteer of the Year Award

Winner – Alexander Runting

  • Finalist - Cadet Sgt Shayn John
  • Finalist - Beau Lane-Winch

Individual Hero Award

Winner – Sybil Oddy

  • Finalist - Richard de Coverly
  • Finalist - Lester Gosbee

2016 awards winners

Nourish Community Foodbank was crowned the overall 2016 Love Where We Live winner in a ceremony that took place in the Assembly Hall Theatre on Tuesday 11 October. They also won this year’s Charity of the Year award.

Picture of the love where we live finalists from 2016

Nourish were commended by the judges for their huge contribution to the local community. Since being established in 2012 they have helped over 4,500 people in crisis and work with over 90 partner teams who refer clients for emergency help when needed.

This year’s awards were attended by a special guest - gold medal winning Paralympian Will Bayley, who presented Sports Training and Equipment awards to the four runners-ups in the sports categories.

Congratulations to all the 2016 Love Where We Live winners and finalists.

The winners and finalists for all the awards were:

Sports Achiever of the Year

Winner - Zane Cheeseman

  • Finalist - Ben Baker
  • Finalist - Ellie Miles

Young Sports Achiever of the Year

Winner - Olivia Wittenberg

  • Finalist - Harley Curtis-Lawrence
  • Finalist - Annabel Guye-Johnson

Charity of the Year

Winner - Nourish Community Foodbank

  • Finalist - Headway in West Kent
  • Finalist - Compaid

Individual Hero

Winner - Heather Cullingworth

  • Finalist - Pam Bridges
  • Finalist - Susan Ashford

Ethical Business

Winner - Heath Stores Horsmonden Limited

  • Finalist - LitterGram Ltd
  • Finalist - Grovehurst lake (Steve Eastwood)

Best Group

Winner - Royal Tunbridge Wells Park Run

  • Finalist - Compaid volunteers
  • Finalist - KHWP Volunteers

Young Volunteer

Winner - George Milham

  • Finalist - Lydia Rawley
  • Finalist - Keaton Smith

LWWL Award

Nourish Community Foodbank