NORTH Yorkshire County Council has launched an annual community award to celebrate the county’s unsung heroes.

The council opened its awards on Monday (April 9), which aim to recognise the organisations and volunteers who make their communities better places to live.

The contest is in its fourth year and involves nominations for best community group; best community project and volunteer of the year. There is also a category for young volunteer, which is open to individual volunteers aged 25 or under or to groups or projects run by volunteers aged 25 or under.

County Councillor Helen Swiers, chairman of the county council, said: “These awards emphasise the wealth of skills and the capacity for caring that we have in North Yorkshire.

“Over the years, they have highlighted much excellent work, so I look forward to seeing what this year’s nominations bring.

“These awards honour a handful of the county’s thousands of volunteers and, we hope, show our appreciation for all of them.”

Last year’s winner of Best Community Project was Men in Sheds, a group set up in Ryedale for men who may otherwise be isolated to share and learn new skills.

The group runs all day on Thursday at Pickering and at Kirkbymoorside on Wednesday morning and members make models, wood crafts, glass etching and go on fishing outings. The project tackles isolation, loneliness, mental health issues and transport issues and brings local men in their communities and surrounding villages together.

The closing date for Community Award nominations is June 4. Nomination forms can be completed online at;

This year an option to make a video submission has been introduced for the young people volunteering award.

Anyone who is unable to complete the nomination online can call 01609-780780.

A panel of judges, including representatives from the council, volunteer organisations and young people, will identify three finalists from each category.

All finalists will be invited to an awards ceremony at the North Yorkshire Wider Partnership Conference on October 26.

The winner of each category will receive £1,000 for the project, group or nominated relevant local charity in the case of the volunteer awards.

Two runners-up in each category will receive £250.