Celebration for Heart of the Community award winners

Published: Thursday, 21 April 2016

Four people working hard in their communities to make Northampton a better place for everyone are set to be celebrated at a ceremony at The Guildhall next week.

Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Penelope Flavell, will congratulate the winners of this year’s Heart of the Community Awards at the ceremony at 6pm on Monday 25 April in the Mayor’s Parlour.

Each winner, all from Northampton, had made a difference in their local community and to the lives of others across the borough.


This year’s winners are:

Julie Parsons

Julie Parsons has not only worked as a police sergeant for almost 30 years but also founded local charity C2C Social Action. In her role as chairman of C2C Social Action, Julie has been instrumental in establishing The Good Loaf bakery and café – a social enterprise providing skills, experience, training and support to female ex-offenders, offering a chance for a new start and help reintegrating into the community.

On winning her award, Julie said: "I was delighted to hear I had won a Heart of the Community Award. Helping people get their lives back on track is reward enough but it is lovely to be recognised in this way."

Ranjeet Singh Grewal

The Northampton Sikh community group nominated Ranjeet Singh Grewal for his dedication supporting Northampton’s Sikh communities since moving to England from India in the 1960s. Facing many challenges, including language barriers, employment and racial tensions, his experiences made him realise that the Sikh community needed a meeting place for support and spiritual growth.

Ranjeet was the joint founder of the first Sikh temple in Northampton and also rallied community members to open the Sikh Community Centre and Youth Club in 1996. Ranjeet is unable to attend the ceremony but is delighted to accept the award and is very happy and humbled to have been chosen.

Heather Murtagh

Heather Murtagh is the heart and soul of Exeter Place as co-chair of PEMBA residents association. Heather played a key role in setting up a youth group at Market Street community hub, becoming treasurer and volunteering at many sessions, liaising with local tenants, support charity grant applications and going above and beyond helping out at sessions, working at fun days and even staffing bouncy castles!

She also helps to run a coffee morning, lunch club and breakfast group for older residents, helping to include all ages in the local community.

Heather said: “I was so surprised to learn that I had won a Heart of the Community Award. I love meeting people in the area and helping to create a real sense of community spirit in Exeter Place and the surrounding area.”

Dennis Nash

Dennis Nash was nominated for his work as a trustee of Bellinge Community House, as a parish councillor for the area and an active member of the community. Dennis is also chairman of his local allotment association and is involved with the Weston Favell Credit Union movement to ensure local people have access to financial support without additional worry. Dennis is a well-loved and respected member of the Bellinge community.

Dennis said: “I’m overwhelmed to have won this award and will receive it on behalf of all the many volunteers working hard across the borough in these times of austerity.”

Councillor Penelope Flavell, Mayor of Northampton, said: “We received a record number of entries for the awards this year and it was very difficult to choose the eventual winners. I would like to thank all of the winners, and nominees, for their tireless work in their communities which helps to make Northampton a better place for us all to live in, work in and visit.”

For more information about the awards visit: www.northampton.gov.uk/heartofthecommunity