Heart of the Community celebrated at Guildhall event

Published: Wednesday, 08 May 2019

The achievements of nine local individuals and groups were celebrated during a ceremony and dinner at the Guildhall on Tuesday 7 May.

The individuals and groups were shortlisted for the Heart of the Community Awards by the Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Tony Ansell, and a judging panel on Monday 29 April, for their hard work in their communities, making Northampton a better place to live, work and visit. 

The judging panel included the Mayor’s Chaplain Monsignor McDermott, the Deputy Mayor Councillor Nazim Choudary, the Chair of Northampton’s Women’s Forum, Pauline Woodhouse, and Chair of Northampton’s Disabled Peoples’ Forum Martin De Rosario.

The Mayor of Northampton congratulated the three winners and six highly commended nominees during the event, which began in the Mayor's Parlour at 6pm and was followed by dinner and an award ceremony in the Great Hall.

The winners are:

Stan Robertson
Stan has been selected as a Heart of the Community Winner for his support to the homeless community. He is a kind and compassionate person who gets up at 4am every morning to prepare and distribute breakfast to the town’s rough sleepers. He does more than serve a hot meal though, he sign posts people onto services, often accompanying those that need medical attention.

Rachael Barber
Rachael is a PCSO for Northamptonshire Police and was selected as a Heart of the Community Winner for the youth engagement she delivers in St David’s, which is above and beyond her work duties. Rachael has set up weekly football training sessions and a popular youth club affiliated with Northamptonshire Association of Youth Clubs. Activities Rachael has organised for the club include arts and crafts, games, helping with St David’s entry into Northampton in Bloom as well as fundraising.

Racecourse Litter Picking Group (Community Spirit)
This group of proactive residents  has been selected as a Heart of the Community Winner for the work they do to improve the environment at Northampton Racecourse. The group, which includes 10 to 15 local primary school children, get together once a month to litter pick around the park. More recently they have also identified and started litter picking in other areas of the town too.


The commended nominees are:

Anne Stevens
Anne has been commended for the voluntary work she does for the homeless community and those in prison. For the past three years, Anne has been regularly visiting and writing letters to prisoners in the UK and USA. More recently Anne has begun to volunteer at the Hope Centre, helping to service breakfast as well as to provide haircuts and pedicures to rough sleepers with the Street Church every Sunday. She has also become an unpaid chaplain at Springs Family Centre.

The Foundation Stones Project
A newly registered charity, the Foundation Stones Project has been commended for the work it does to help reduce homelessness in Northampton. Working with Northampton Borough Council and other partner agencies, the charity aims to provide shelter and support for vulnerable single women, couples, members of the LGBTQ community and ethnic minority groups.

Peter Barley
Peter is a dedicated individual who has been commended for his work, improving the environment in and around Wootton. Peter can be seen regularly, in all weather, voluntarily picking up litter in the area most mornings, whilst walking his dog.  In addition, he always get involved in local events and campaign for the installation of a zebra crossing outside of Caroline Chisolm School.

Chai and Chat Group
This group, which was set up by the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation, has been commended for the work it does supporting local women.  Each week, the group attracts 20 to 45 women, of all faiths and nationalities, to exchange ideas, listen to guest speakers, provide information and support local events. In 2017 they set up a gardening group and entered into Northampton in Bloom. They received a silver guilt award, which was repeated again last year.

Mick Finch
Mick is local fundraiser that has been commended for his work supporting local organisations and people. Every year, Mick organises numerous trips and challenges for people in Northampton to raise money for local causes. Over the years he has helped to raise more than £450,000 to support local charities including Cynthia Spencer, The Lewis Foundation and Tools for Reliance. Through the trips Mike helps boost peoples’ confidence, conquer their fears and achieve new goals.

Northampton Park Run
Northampton Park Run is a free, timed 5K event for all walkers, joggers, runners, wheelchair users and buggy pushers at Northampton Racecourse. The group, which includes 30 volunteers and on average 499 runners each week, has been commended for its community engagement and support. This includes supporting 100 youngsters participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme, supporting litter picking efforts with their ‘plogging’ group and supporting events organised the Friends of the Racecourse.


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