Cllr Jeff Turner of Sidmouth Town Council receiving the Town Council Youth Award from East Devon Chairman Cllr Stuart Hughes

Local achievements of town and parish councils recognised with special awards

On Sunday 12 June 2016, around 110 guests, including district, town and parish councillors, attended East Devon District Council’s Chairman’s Garden Party at Knowle, Sidmouth, in celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday. This special event, which was hosted by the council’s Chairman, Councillor Stuart Hughes, was held on the same day as the national event to honour Her Majesty at The Mall.

In addition, an integral part of the 90th birthday garden party was the Chairman’s awards ceremony in which Councillor Hughes acknowledged the outstanding work carried out by local town and parish councils in East Devon for the benefit of local communities, as well as the remarkable achievements of Sidmouth Town Band.

Councillor Hughes also invited each town and parish councils to nominate a representative to attend the garden party. All those who came received a special commemorative medal - produced exclusively for councils – as a way of thanking them for their invaluable contribution to the local community.

Following the awards presentations, Honorary Alderman Graham Liverton toasted HM The Queen. Entertainment at the garden party was provided by Sidmouth Town Band and the Boys’ Brigade hand bell ringers.

Queen’s 90th birthday celebration awards

Sidmouth Town Band award
This superb local brass band has gone from strength to strength over the past ten years, moving steadily up the Championship rankings to qualifying for the National Finals this year, having come third at the Nationals in 2010. Councillor Hughes presented the band with a plaque, as well as a cheque for £100 to help the band’s fundraising campaign for a new band room in Sidmouth.

Town and Parish Council Awards
There were three categories for these awards – Community, Youth and Local Services - and the judges were apparently extremely impressed with the way local solutions were being found for local issues. All the award winners received a cheque for £100 and a certificate in a freestanding glass frame.  The Chairman and Vice Chairman will attend the next parish council meeting of those parishes who were unable to collect their awards to present them with their prizes.

Community award - best achievement of a council in the past four years, which has directly benefited the whole community - helping to bring generations together
o  The Town Council Community Award was won by Honiton Town Council for the Beehive project, which serves the whole community and helps to bring generations together. The award was accepted by the Mayor of Honiton, Councillor Caroline Kolek
o The Parish Council Community Award was won by East Budleigh with Bicton for the expansion of the community shop, which is now housed in larger purpose-built premises as the result of fundraising. The award was accepted by Councillor David Buss

Youth award - best council initiative that has directly benefited young people
o The Town Council Youth Award was won by Sidmouth Town Council for reopening the youth centre, which was closed due to changes in funding by Devon County Council. The significant community benefit of the centre meant that this project was a worthy winner. The award was accepted by Councillor Jeff Turner.
o The Parish Council Youth Award was won by Dunkeswell for their youth club, which has gained much community appreciation and respect, with over 100 members who are keen supporters of the performing arts. 

Local service award - best example of helping to deliver a local service or run a local facility
o The Local Service Town Council Award was won by Ottery St Mary Town Council for their Ottery Station project, which is an integral part of the village. 
o The Local Service Parish Council Award was won by Buckerell for its plastics collection initiative, which was started – and is run – by a local resident.

Special awards
Axminster Town Council received a special award for its outstanding support of the local community. The award was accepted by Councillor Andrew Moulding.
Beer Parish Council’s Affordable Housing scheme won a special award for helping enable more young couples and families to live in the village. The award was accepted by Councillor Martin Richards.
o A third special award went to Upton Pyne and Cowley Parish Council for its affordable homes to rent scheme, which has helped help keep local people in the area. 
o The fourth special award was presented to Woodbury Parish Council for their Community Orchard project. Events and work parties are held regularly for all ages at the orchard, including apple picking, juice making, an annual wassail and wildflower planting. The award was accepted by Councillor Roger Mayo.

Commenting on the success of the garden party and the award presentations, Councillor Hughes said:

The Queen’s 90th birthday has given us all the opportunity to reflect on Her Majesty’s unstinting and exemplary service to this country and I would like to thank everyone for helping make this wonderful event happen.

It has been a real pleasure presenting these awards to the town and parish councils. They have risen admirably to the challenges they were set earlier this year and it is clear they have provided enormous benefit to their local communities.

I would therefore like to say a very special thank you to our esteemed judges – Honorary Aldermen Vivienne Ash, Christine Drew, John Jeffery and Steve Wragg – who were impressed with the range of submissions for the awards, the value of grass roots projects and the way local solutions were being found for local issues.  Every project was reliant on local involvement and there were fine examples of l individuals being able to drive forward worthwhile projects because of the backing and support of their local councils.

Finally, can I just say how lucky we are to have performing here today such an amazing brass band as the Sidmouth Town Band. Thank you to all these wonderful musicians for entertaining us so royally at my garden party. They add so much to Sidmouth’s culture and community and I am delighted with their meteoric rise to success. Many thanks also to the Boys’ Brigade hand bell ringers for their excellent performance.