Community Champions

A celebration of community with local people at its heart, this month witnessed the launch of the first-ever Community Champions Awards 2019.

The Community Champions Awards were launched earlier this year by South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation (SYCF) and BBC Radio Sheffield, to shine a light on the good work being done across South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire.

300 guests attended the awards which were hosted by BBC Radio Sheffield presenters, Paulette Edwards and Toby Foster. With VIP guests including the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, H.M. Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire and the Lord Mayor of Sheffield – Tony Downing.

The Winners 2019:

Quick links:

Neighbourhood and Environmental Champion

  • Sponsored by Equity Housing and Groundwork South Yorkshire


    Winner: Sahira Irshad

    Set up a Mums United project in the Sharrow area of Sheffield to tackle anti-social behaviour, knife crime and drug selling.

    Highly Commended: Jennifer Oxley

    Nominated for her vision and passion to help regenerate run down communities, Jennifer runs Snickety Gardens in Edenthorpe, Doncaster, a project that transforms blighted alleyways into gardens.

    Highly Commended: Frederick Turner

    Described as a man in his mid-70s who gives everything he has to the former mining community of Stainforth in Doncaster.

Creative Champion

  • Sponsored by Key Fund


    Winner: Rachel Horne

    Set up the independent magazine Doncopolitan, devoting her life to ensuring the creativity of Doncaster is recognised and shouted about.

    Highly Commended: Sherri Wood

    A volunteer for Cantley SMILE days in Doncaster who has developed and run dance and arts activities for all ages.

    Highly Commended: Vicky Morris

    Described as dedicated to making writing an inclusive, accessible art for everyone across South Yorkshire, regardless of sexuality, race or religion.

Health, Fitness & Well-being Champion

  • Sponsored by Irwin Mitchell


    Winner: De Hood Boxing Centre

    An organisation based in a deprived area of Sheffield which is said to have transformed the area, reduced crime and turned around lives. One nominator said De Hood had turned Britain’s worst estate into the country’s most positive estate.

    Highly Commended: Unity Gym

    A place in Broomhall, Sheffield, helping young people and families develop new skills for work and personal development.

    Highly Commended: Jan Milner

    Creator of Retro Rovers, a walking football club in Doncaster with 80 members. Despite her own disabilities, Jan is the driving force behind the project.

Team Champion

  • Sponsored by Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce


    Winner: KickBack Recovery

    A peer led support group in Sheffield that helps people with drug and alcohol addiction and mental health issues.

    Highly Commended: Volunteers of Fareshare

    Sixty volunteers from Barnsley said to make an incredible difference to the lives of vulnerable people, thanks to distributing in-date food that would otherwise go to waste.

    Highly Commended: Andrea Sanders and Hackenthorpe Litter Pickers

    A group that is active all year, organiser Andrea has also supported many other groups to set up litter picks.

Young Champion

  • Sponsored by MKB Solicitors


    Winner: Adil Mohammed

    For years Adil has campaigned on community issues in the Darnall area of Sheffield, from litter picks to clearing snow to leading the campaign to save his local youth centre.

    Highly Commended: Alana Habergham-Rice

    Eleven year old Alana is known in the Kiveton area as someone who bakes cakes and delivers them to lonely and isolated people, to people in poor health or to just people who are having a bad day.

    Highly Commended: Philippa Walker

    Philippa is 15 years old and despite wearing a back brace for 20 hours a day she works tirelessly to raise funds for Sheffield Children’s Hospital. She suffers from Scoliosis and has made a video of her condition to be sent to schools across Sheffield.


Community Group Champion

  • Sponsored by Henry Boot plc


    Winner: Edlington Community Organisation

    A charity with 60 volunteers which is said to be making a huge difference to the lives of people in Edlington.

    Highly Commended: Buzz

    A group that’s supported vulnerable families for more than 20 years and is said to have made a difference to the lives of 20,000 people.

    Highly Commended: Adedolapo Agoro

    Nominated as a powerful force in advocating for the rights of minority ethnic groups across Doncaster.


Business Champion

  • Sponsored by Investec Wealth & Investment:


    Winner: Drone Valley Brewery

    Based in Dronfield, this is a brewery with 400 members that donates profits to good causes and relies on hundreds of volunteers alongside qualified brewers.

    Highly Commended: Marc Wildes

    MD at Hotel Van Dyk in Chesterfield, Marc is nominated for using his position to give back to the community at every opportunity.

    Highly Commended: Dave McCarthy

    Dave is Operations Manager at Sheffield United who is said to have given immense support to children and young adults over the years.

Outstanding Champion

  • Sponsored by Barnsley College


    Winners: Jason Cotton and Frazer Longford

    Two volunteers who run Men Talk in Chesterfield, said to have helped hundreds of men with their suicide prevention and better mental health programmes.

    Highly Commended: Kathy Markwick

    Described as a force to be reckoned with. Her tea parties for lonely and isolated people started in Barnsley and have spread across South Yorkshire, catering for up to 250 people at a time.

    Highly Commended: Reagan Denton

    Creator of De Hood Boxing Centre in a deprived area of Sheffield, Reagan is said to be an inspiration in turning around the community and helping people rebuild their lives.

With thanks to our event sponsors who made these awards possible:

  • Headline Sponsor

  • Drinks Reception Sponsor:

  • Sponsor and Awards Maker

  • Event Sponsor