An award scheme which pays tribute to people who help communities flourish is inviting nominations.

The awards honour local people and organisations that dedicate their time to help North Yorkshire County Council deliver critical services.

A new Making a Difference award has been added which this year will focus on promoting the theme of rural sustainability in the wake of the launch of the Rural Commission.

Supported by the County Council, the commission consists of experts in rural economics, policy, community led ventures, agriculture and the environment, business and media. It aims to address the challenges the most rural communities face finding new ways to help them grow and prosper.

Chair of the Rural Commission, the Very Rev John Dobson, Dean of Ripon, said: "I am hugely encouraged by the initiative to create an award recognising those who strengthen rural sustainability. We have heard about impressive individuals and communities across this vast, often sparsely populated region. In the face of many challenges, incredible effort is made to take advantage of opportunities and to overcome obstacles. It will be wonderful to see some of this celebrated."

The four categories are in the awards are

• Best community group for groups carrying out ongoing voluntary activities in North Yorkshire.

• Volunteer of the year for individual volunteers over the age of 25 carrying out voluntary activities in the county.

• Young people volunteering award for individuals aged 25 or under, or to groups or projects run by volunteers aged 25 or under.

• Making a difference helping rural communities to flourish awarded to individuals or groups who have through their voluntary work made a real difference to a rural area of North Yorkshire. This award recognises unique, innovative, enterprising or resilient approaches to overcoming rural issues, challenges or disadvantage.

County council chairman Councillor Jim Clark said: "We’ve introduced this new award to prove that our rural areas are filled with resilient and self-reliant communities with a reputation for helping others.

"North Yorkshire is rich in outstanding beauty, but we know that having a super-sparse population brings significant challenges. The commission is taking dynamic action in supporting growth and prosperity, which is exactly what our awards look to celebrate.

"If you know somebody who is worthy of recognition, I would urge you to nominate them. There are so many unsung heroes in our community who deserve to be found."

The closing date for nominations is 25 May 2020 and nomination forms can be completed online at

The results will be announced in October with winners in each category getting £1,000 and two runners up each receiving £250.