A Place to Be Proud of Awards Basingstoke
Destination Basingstoke

Award categories and sponsors for 2024

Above & Beyond Award

This award recognises individuals who have shown incredible professional and personal pride in their work that supports the community. It may be a public servant, a health care worker, a teacher or someone at any business or organisation who has gone above and beyond what would normally be expected in their job to support others in the community.

Sponsored by:

Castle Trust Bank is excited to continue its sponsorship of Destination Basingstoke’s Place To be Proud of Awards this year. The awards, and the Above and Beyond category that we sponsor in particular, has Castle Trust Bank’s values at its heart – for example, we’ve introduced volunteering days for 2024 where colleagues will be able to help out in the local community. Basingstoke has so many people who make a huge difference to our community by giving much more of themselves than their job or role description requires, and we are delighted to help recognise and celebrate these individuals. 

And the finalists are:

Terri is Forest Care’s ‘Group Activity Lead’ overseeing all activity provision; planning and organising activity programmes for residents in accordance with their assessed needs, wishes and cultural interests, supported by life story work. Terri is incredibly passionate and imaginative with her ideas – always looking for the next extra special experience to bring to the residents, both as a group and as individual person-centred experiences. She takes the time and effort to explore the best way of delivering an array of new experiences and meaningful activities to residents, which always prioritise wellbeing.

She brought London’s West End to our home with ‘A Night at the Opera’ (a silver service dining experience with a performance of Phantom of the Opera), ‘The Ritz at Rowan’ and ‘A Night at the Circus’ with fire-eaters and performers on stilts. She organised a ‘drive-in’ outdoor cinema experience boasting classic Cadillac cars in the driveway, whilst residents watched a medley of their favourite film moments. One resident commented: “I never thought I’d be able to experience the cinema again with my husband, it was wonderful.”
Terri is currently exploring the opportunity of a coastal holiday at Little Sea Haven Holiday Park, especially for residents who have not had the capability/opportunity to go on holiday for several years.
Terri is ambitious, dedicated and career driven; one of the first activity practitioners in the UK to complete NAPA’s (National Activity Providers Association) entire Professional Development Pathway to deliver best practice (all in her spare time), winning NAPA’s ‘Service Recognition Award’ in 2022 and subsequently being invited to join NAPA’s Advisory Board.

Katie has been one of the key drivers in raising awareness, increasing knowledge and empowering junior nurses and Health Care Social Workers (HCSWs) to consistently deliver high standards of care in Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust hospitals. Katie joined the organisation in 2021 as a Falls Lead Nurse and very quickly established her position as a credible, authentic and professional nurse who people could turn to for advice about complex patient scenarios especially around the older adult. Katie joined at a time when Tissue Viability and Falls sat independently of each other with education being delivered via online platforms and without understanding the operational challenges that staff were facing.
There was a clear disconnect between staff on the wards and those support teams that offered advice and guidance to them.
Katie took over line management of the Tissue Viability team and quickly recognised that because falls prevention and the maintenance of skin integrity were two of the key components of keeping elderly patients safe whilst in our hospitals, she could bring the teams together under one umbrella. Katie established the Fundamentals of Care Team, taking on other responsibilities such as continence awareness and education, foot care and face to face bedside education for junior members of staff.
Katie has created a blueprint for ensuring all aspects of clinical, social, mental wellbeing and domestic care are included in the understanding of a patient and how the patient is managed.

Katie and her team work with individuals and ward teams in real time  understanding the challenges that our nursing workforce faces while creating solutions to overcome these barriers. This has allowed teams to build their confidence and to consistently deliver high standards of care. Katie has been able to talk nationally about what her team is providing to our patients and this has sparked interest in how to replicate a similar model at other Trusts. Whilst we talk about basic care being the fundamentals of nursing practice, the COVID pandemic changed how we managed our patients and the restoration that followed allowed us time to reset and refocus. Katie and her team have strengthened this, introducing the Care Certificate as a mandatory component for all new HCSWs at our Trust. This has created a movement with senior, experienced HCSWs getting on board and achieving the competencies. The impact of Katie’s leadership, her hands on approach and her championing of the older adult can be seen across the organisation and we are keen to highlight her work to others.

The Westside Community Centre team, under the management of Nicky Blunden, were running a very successful community centre in South Ham until September 2023 when the building was suddenly closed due to the discovery of asbestos and reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).
The centre had been home to a large number of activities and services being delivered by local groups and individuals as well as a nursery, community cafe, community pantry and community library. However, almost overnight, they found they were unable to deliver anything.
The team worked tirelessly to find new homes for as many of the activities as possible and were supported in this by other community centres.
At the same time as the sudden closure, Westside Community Association had merged with Buckskin Community Centre and taken on responsibility in running The Ridgeway Centre in Buckskin.
Whilst dealing with the ongoing issues related to the closure of the Westside Community Centre, the team have also been growing the activities at the Ridgeway Centre. This has included the setting up of a new Community Pantry at the Ridgeway as well as reopening the Community Pantry in South Ham in a temporary building in the car park of the closed community centre. The team have continued working tirelessly for their communities whilst unsure of what the future may bring for themselves individually e.g. their funding has diminished as a result of the closure of the Westside Centre so they have been concerned about job security.
They have grown the Ridgeway in a short period of time into a busy community centre whilst also still delivering services to South Ham residents, and considering what the future may look like.

And the winner is: Terri Eakins The judges are thrilled to present the Above and Beyond Award to Terri. As the Group Activity Lead at Forest Care, Terri consistently demonstrates an extraordinary level of dedication, creativity, and compassion – stepping way beyond the limits of her job requirements. She not only excels in her role of planning and organising activity programmes for residents but also goes the extra mile to create unforgettable experiences that deeply enrich their lives. Terri’s imaginative and heartfelt approach has significantly enhanced the lives of the residents. She has orchestrated remarkable events such as 'A Night at the Opera,' featuring a live performance of Phantom of the Opera, and a drive-in outdoor cinema with classic Cadillac cars. The judges were particularly touched by the organisation of a 100th birthday celebration for a resident, Joy, who always dreamed of riding a motorbike. Terri’s thoughtful planning made this dream come true with a ride on a Harley Davidson, creating unforgettable memories for Joy. The judges were also hugely impressed by Terri arranging a visit to residents by two penguins – an event that had a deeply positive impact on the residents. Outside of her role, Terri has shown exceptional dedication to professional development and community engagement. Her ability to transform ordinary moments into extraordinary experiences makes her a truly deserving recipient of the Above and Beyond Award. Well done Terri.

Arts & Entertainment Award

This category is for local artists, dance groups, musicians, photographers, designers, and organisers of any entertainment event for the community of Basingstoke and Deane.

Sponsored by:

Minuteman Press is proud and delighted to support the A Place to be Proud of Awards 2024. My fellow judges and I were impressed by the strength and range of entries for the Arts and Entertainment Award. Choosing a winner and two other finalists was a hard task and this speaks volumes about the quality of the nominations. The Arts and Entertainment sector in Basingstoke and Deane is definitely something to be proud of.

And the finalists are:

Fatima is a talented painter, sculptor and illustrator from Spain. Based in Hampshire since 2011, she teaches art, co-manages THAT gallery in Festival Place, and works on local art projects and commissions.

Fluid Motion is an award-winning organisation in Hampshire and a leader in the field of arts and health. They use theatre and creative activities in innovative ways to support and improve health and wellbeing.

Meraki Dance Studios, based in Basingstoke and Deane since 1998, has been a cornerstone of the local arts community, known for its resilience, dedication, and outstanding achievements in dance. Founded on a genuine passion for dance and the arts, Meraki has become a nurturing ground for dancers of all backgrounds and skill levels, promoting inclusivity and the joy of dance.

And the winner is: Meraki Dance Studios Despite facing significant challenges, including the loss of their venue due to issues with RACC, Meraki Dance Studios has continued to serve its community. The RACC setback didn't deter them; instead, it underscored their commitment to their students and the art form. They swiftly adapted, showcasing their resilience and dedication to providing continuous training and support to their dancers. Meraki's crowning achievement came when they represented England at The Dance World Cup, where they became Gold winners. This prestigious accolade not only highlights their exceptional talent and hard work but also places them on the global stage as ambassadors of dance excellence from Basingstoke and Deane.
Their triumph in the Arts & Entertainment Award stems from their unwavering commitment to the arts and their community, despite the obstacles they've faced. By overcoming adversity and achieving international recognition, Meraki Dance Studios exemplifies the spirit of perseverance, excellence, and community engagement, making them a shining example for the Arts and Entertainment sector in Basingstoke and Deane.

Charity of the Year Award

This category is for a local charity, not for profit organisation, or branch of a national charity. The judges are looking for a charity, local or a branch of a national charity or a not-for-profit charitable organisation, that has attracted funding/donations in a creative way, or exceeded their donation targets or delivered a different/inspiring way of raising money.

Sponsored by:

Basingstoke Voluntary Action is delighted to sponsor the Charity of the Year Award 2024. As the strategic membership body for the VCSE sector across Basingstoke and Deane, we are privileged to support so many incredible charities. We understand the challenges that the VCSE sector faces and know that this event marks an opportunity to celebrate our important VCSE organisations. We are fortunate to have over 650 VCSE groups operating and residing in our borough, working within a number of different areas, and our role will be to continue to champion and support the sustainability of the VCSE sector locally.

And the finalists are:

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance is the charity that delivers an advanced Critical Care Team to sick and injured people in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, when they need it most. Available both day and night, 365 days a year, the Air Ambulance Critical Care Team is called out many times a day to attend road traffic collisions, sporting accidents, collapses and many other incidents.

Step by Step is a youth homelessness charity, supporting young people across six counties in the South of England. One of its accommodation sites – known as Foyers – is in Basingstoke. The Basingstoke Foyer not only gives young people a safe place to live, it also offers them life skills, training and access to wellbeing services. This empowers those young people to move on with their lives and leave homelessness behind them for good.

St Michael’s Hospice has been providing invaluable palliative and end-of-life care services in North Hampshire for more than 30 years. The hospice depends on the kindness and support of the local community to continue offering its services free of charge. Over the past 2 years, the Hospice Fundraising Team have re-evaluated the way that they work, made changes to the team structure and their processes, and increased income by 43%. This extra income helps to provide the equivalent of 2,814 extra hours of Hospice at Home Care, delivering pain relief and support to patients in their homes at the end of their lives.

And the winner is: St Michael's Hospice
Congratulations to St Michael’s Hospice. For 32 years, the hospice has been providing invaluable palliative and end-of-life care services in North Hampshire, offering comfort, support, and dignity to those facing life's most challenging moments. The hospice fundraising team raise money by organising events, working with local community groups and Trusts, building relationships with local businesses, and through individual donations. They also have a dedicated team of volunteers who support the fundraising efforts in the community. The judges were impressed with the way that the hospice continues to deliver for the people it helps and their families, despite the increasingly challenging financial landscape. It clearly is a charity that is at the heart of the local community and is one that the community has taken to its heart.

Community Project Award

This category is for an individual or group (voluntary or not) who have worked hard to develop project/s or activities for the overall benefit of the community. The judges are looking for inspirational projects or events that have really impacted the community in which they operate. This could be anything from support groups for vulnerable people and fund raising, to community tree planting, family fun days or awareness raising campaigns. Nominations can be for one-off projects or ongoing programmes.

Sponsored by:

VIVID is a leading provider of affordable homes and extensive support services in the south of England including Basingstoke. We believe that everyone has the right to a safe and secure place to call home, and from the moment customers move into their home, we’re here to help with that and more. Our customers have access to a wide range of tailored advice to sustain their tenancies and look after their wellbeing. We invest in our homes and communities for the long-term to help deliver our vision of “More homes, bright futures” and make a positive impact. Our ability to continually help customers and the local community benefits from the strong partnerships we have with a wide range of organisations. We’re delighted to sponsor the Community Project Award to help showcase individuals and groups who have worked hard to make a difference.

And the finalists are:

Basingstoke Veterans’ Hub is a vital resource for veterans, reservists, and serving personnel, offering support and camaraderie. This not-for-profit organisation provides peer support, mental health advice, and assistance with financial and social needs. By collaborating with local organisations, they ensure comprehensive support for veterans and their families. Their initiatives include free coffee mornings, clinics, and referral services, making them a cornerstone of the veteran’s community. The hub’s welcoming environment and holistic approach demonstrate their unwavering commitment to the well-being of veterans.

Oakley Stitchers is a community group that brings people together through the art of stitching and crafting. They provide materials, primarily sourced from recycled donations, to enable their members to create items that benefit communities across the UK. Their work promotes ecological responsibility and supports local businesses, ensuring a sustainable approach. With multiple groups nationwide and plans for further expansion, Oakley Stitchers make their activities accessible and environmentally friendly. Their efforts include workshops on machine sewing and repair, and they actively support local repair cafes, fostering a culture of sustainability and community support.

U3A Basingstoke Old Basing is a charity dedicated to providing opportunities for retired and semi-retired individuals to share skills and learn for fun. With over 1,000 members and 87 activity groups, they combat loneliness and isolation among senior residents. Their activities range from arts and crafts to sports and lifelong learning, fostering a sense of community and personal growth.

And the winner is: U3A Basingstoke Old Basing Congratulations to U3A Basingstoke Old Basing – U3A in Basing started with just 48 members over 25 years ago. This group of Old Basing residents wanted to share their hobbies and interests with other local residents. From small beginnings to reaching a 25-year milestone, U3A Basingstoke Old Basing is a beacon of support and engagement for the elderly in our community, ensuring they remain active and connected.

Green Community Champion

This category is for individuals, community groups, and parish councils, who have implemented a project that has saved resources, or introduced successful recycling, reusing or sustainable projects – making their community greener and cleaner. The judges are looking for projects that have been implemented by local communities which can prove they have sustainability at their core. 

Sponsored by:

We’re delighted to be sponsoring Destination Basingstoke’s, Place to be Proud Awards 2024. The Green Community Award aligns perfectly with Tomato Energy’s mission to make Basingstoke a greener and more sustainable place to live and work and we’re excited to see how other people and businesses across the borough are tackling the challenge.

And the finalists are:

A group of young people at Cranbourne School who dedicate their own time to make their school more eco-friendly, raising awareness of small changes that make big differences.

Gill is the chair of Natural Basingstoke and leader of the Marnel and Popley Ponds Conservation Group. She works a crazy number of hours donating her own time every week, meeting with councillors, promoting nature projects, doing surveys and managing all 18 conservation groups we have in Basingstoke. She does all this voluntary work to uplift local individuals and green spaces in the Borough and never asks for anything in return.

Encouraging younger people to reduce, reuse, and recycle through her unique shows. Junk Jodie has three storytelling shows that are both fun and educational. All her shows encourage children to make toys from recycled materials and think about the three Rs.

And the winner is: Green Cranbourne Congratulations to the inspirational students at Cranbourne School! It’s heartwarming to see young individuals making a positive impact on their community and the environment. From setting up a gardening group to rescuing a tiny hedgehog, their dedication to sustainability and eco-friendliness is commendable. Keep up the fantastic work!

Health & Wellbeing Award

This category puts the spotlight on individuals and organisations involved in keeping the borough healthy and well, and it recognises people, and places, dedicated to caring for people in our community.

The judges are looking for that person or organisation that has made a difference to keeping the borough’s community healthy, is looking after the community’s wellbeing, or who cares for those in our community.

Sponsored by:

Lilly

At Lilly, we are passionate about helping people lead healthier lives. That’s why we’re delighted to support the A Place to be Proud of Awards as they celebrate their 21st year. As a company that has been an integral part of Basingstoke for 90 years, we are committed to acknowledging the remarkable contributions of those who make this town such a wonderful place to live and work. The Health and Wellbeing Award shines a spotlight on those who care for others and work tirelessly to maintain the health and vitality of our community.

And the finalists are:

The Basingstoke and Area Tinnitus Support Group have only been going three years but have had a big impact in offering support, information and friendship to those with tinnitus.

Tinnitus is where you hear noises not generated from the external environment. One in seven have tinnitus and it can be very disabling and interfere with people leading normal lives. It can lead to feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety and it can isolate people. There is no cure for tinnitus.
The Support Group aims to counter the negative affects of tinnitus through meetings and information giving, so that people no longer feel that they are alone. Members can choose how active they are and can dip in and out of attending meetings entirely as they wish. There is a core of active membership. around 30. The membership distribution list is over 70.
The group is developing plans to be more inclusive and reach out to the Asian, Carribean, Nepal and Polish communities in Basingstoke in co-operation with the Basingstoke Multi-Cultural Forum and the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council inclusion and diversity officer. Plans include translation of written material into Hindi, Urdu, Nepalise, and Polish and contacting key community members with a view to being able to address community meetings using both English and translated Powerpoint.

Aaron Boyd is a fitness instructor at Basingstoke Aquadrome. He’s also a Level 4 Master Personal Trainer, but these two facts only tell half the story.
Aaron’s day to day role means he’s always supporting people toward more active lifestyles, but Aaron is the kind of person always looking to help those groups or those individuals who might not be catered for by traditional gyms and fitness spaces.
He set up and sourced funding for the Aquadrome’s first-ever Parkinson’s fitness class. Off his own bat, and in his own time, he studied for a Level 4 Cancer Rehab course, so he could help people living with the condition or recovering from it.
Aaron’s work has changed the lives of hundreds of local people over the years. His kindness, empathy, patience and expertise has made a genuine difference in this community.

Victoria’s Promise is a charity dedicated to supporting women aged 18 to 50 through cancer and beyond.  This amazing charity was born to uphold the promise Victoria Van Der Westhuisen asked her family to make when she was undergoing rigorous treatment for the rare cancer she was diagnosed with. The make-up artist and model vowed to start a charity to support victims of cancer. Sadly Victoria, aged 29, did not survive, so the Charity was created in her name by her family. Victoria’s mother Fiona Eastman is the amazing CEO and driving force behind the charity, and she, and those who support her, have made it their goal to make a difference to as many women as possible who will benefit from the charity’s support.

And the winner is: Victoria's Promise The judges were delighted to select Victoria’s Promise as the winner because it was really clear from multiple nominations that they have had a big impact on the community over many years. Victoria’s Promise is celebrating its 10th Anniversary. This amazing charity supports, and empowers women, and their families, through cancer and beyond. They support the women diagnosed, and or treated, at one of Hampshire Hospital Foundation Trust hospitals or any of the clinics or hospices within this area. Their aim is to reduce the sense of isolation by being with others who understand. They offer in person services designed around the lady and their families, emotional and practical needs. This includes such services as home cleaning, counselling, therapies and much more. The ladies are all offered “meet-ups” where they can meet other women in the area who are diagnosed with cancer, so that they can make connections with others that understand the journey they are going through. An amazing charity doing amazing work. Well done Victoria’s Promise.

Inspirational Educator Award

The winner of this category will be someone who has inspired people through education/learning. The judges are looking for an individual who has made a real impact on individuals or their local community.

Sponsored by:

Educators can change the lives of young people. Through their support, care and dedication they can inspire the next generation to achieve great things and fulfil their potential. Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is honoured to celebrate the amazing work educators do day in and day out to guide our local young people towards a brighter future

And the finalists are:

Anne Higgins has made an outstanding contribution teaching Performing Arts for the past 20 years at Queen Mary’s College. Her dedication ensures that each student has the opportunity to take part in nine shows over their 2 years as a QMC student. She has always had very high standards and ambitions and has directed the students in well over a hundred shows during her time there.

Simon Houghton of ‘We Support Deaf Awareness’. suffers from substantial hearing loss and relies, to a large extent, on being able to lip-read. The impact of compulsory mask-wearing during the COVID pandemic was disastrous for Simon and others who relied on lip-reading to communicate and interact. Simon was determined to teach others tips on how to communicate with anyone suffering hearing loss, and he set up We Support Deaf Awareness to deliver the message via a staff training programme available to all companies and organisations.

Maria is nominated for this award in recognition of her outstanding dedication and impact as lecturer and course director for ESOL – English Speakers of Other Languages – at Basingstoke College of Technology. Maria is a highly qualified teacher of adult essential skills courses including ESOL and Functional Skills. A driven and hard-working professional, she is passionate about providing the best learning experience for students from the local community. In May 2022, when the UK and Basingstoke were receiving a large number of Ukrainian refugees, Maria quickly acted and organised coffee mornings and an intensive English course for Ukrainians, not only supporting the refugees to learn English, but also providing them with an opportunity for social networking with fellow refugees and host families, giving their new lives in the UK some stability and structure.

And the winner is: Simon Houghton Congratulations Simon. As mentioned, the impact of compulsory mask-wearing during the pandemic was a devastating blow for Simon and others who relied on lip-reading to communicate and interact. Simon set up We Support Deaf Awareness to teach others tips on how to communicate with anyone suffering hearing loss via a staff training programme available to all companies and organisations. Having brought this issue into the public domain, his next step is to launch Unseen Aware, which he aims to do this month. He is passionate about educating the public and providing staff training to foster an understanding of the needs of those with hidden disabilities. Well done Simon.

Sports Personality of the Year Award

Sports Personality of the Year – Junior (under 18) and Senior (18 and over).

The judges are looking for the Junior and Senior Sports Personality of the Year. The nominees could be sports players, coaches or other members of sports clubs in Basingstoke and Deane. The judges are looking for nominees who have made a difference, and big impact, in 2023 or over a longer period of time.

Sponsored by:

Apollo Hotel is delighted to be the joint headline sponsor of the A Place to be Proud of Awards 2024, and to be the category sponsor of the Sports Personality and Sports Club of the Year awards. It’s great to see sport being recognised in the awards, and as a local business that has a lot of sporting links, supporting these categories is a great fit for the Apollo.

And the JUNIOR finalists are:

As a dedicated multi-sport athlete Caiden leads by example, works hard, and is committed to helping his team-mates and peers succeed on the local, county, national, and global stages. He is also often an inspiration to others around him, young and old alike, with an example of this being an inspirational athlete at local Basingstoke 5k Park-runs where he has even inspired older teenagers and adults to do better and exceed their limits.

Lily-Mae is an exceptional athlete who has been competing in Modern Pentathlon since the age of eight. She is now 15 and ranked 7th in the world in Modern Pentathlon (U17). She is on the Talent Pathway with Pentathlon GB. Competitive sport is not easy by any means but over the years she has shown resilience, compassion, determination and sportsmanship. She has helped younger athletes within her training clubs and been a mentor. She has won numerous British and European titles in several different disciplines within modern pentathlon.

Felix is achieving amazing things in Aerobics Gymnastics. At just 15, his commendable fourth-place finish at the European Aerobic Championships in Turkey, against competitors much older than him, speaks volumes of his talent and hard work.

And the winner is: Felix Smith Felix embodies the spirit of the "A Place to Be Proud Of Award" through his extraordinary achievements in Aerobics Gymnastics. Not only has Felix showcased his prowess on the international stage, but he has also dominated nationally, securing first place in both the British F.I.G Junior Men's category and in pairs with Amelia Thynne. These accomplishments highlight his dedication, resilience, and the pursuit of excellence. His dedication, youthful energy, and remarkable accomplishments make Felix a deserving winner. His journey inspires and exemplifies the spirit of excellence and determination in the face of competition. Felix is not just a young athlete to watch; he is a beacon of potential for the future of British gymnastics.

And the SENIOR finalists are:

Szymon is a standout athlete. At just 21, his remarkable achievements in Taekwondo and Kickboxing are truly exceptional. As a Taekwondo European Champion, his mastery transcends continents, displaying unparalleled skill and unwavering dedication to his craft. Rarely do athletes excel at such a high level and dedicate their lives to a sport. Szymon exceeds expectations, inspiring all the children and adults around him.

At the age of just 22, Ben has had a very successful career in athletics, having already achieved amazing results in major international competitions – most recently a bronze medal in both the Commonwealth Games and World Championships over 800m. Ben has achieved all of this after being diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a condition that makes the heart suddenly beat abnormally fast, and having to have a heart operation to correct this.

Simon, from Basingstoke Sports and Social Club and Bounty Squash and Racketball, led a community health and wellbeing project to design and build the UK’s first and only outdoor squash court. Squash was heavily impacted by the COVID pandemic as people were prevented from running around in a small, enclosed room. The idea of an outdoor squash court was initially thought to “future proof” the sport so it could be played outdoors. An outdoor court was also a great way to give the sport much higher visibility by making a public court that anyone could use for free. The court is located at Basingstoke Sports and Social Club and is a free resource for anyone in Basingstoke to use. Simon designed and built the low-cost court, which took over 300 hours of his time to build. He raised funds by Crowdfunding from squash enthusiasts and local businesses across Hampshire. The money raised was match funded by Sport England and the National Lottery. Rackets, balls and googles are also provided free, so there is no cost to use the court and give squash a go.

And the winner is: Ben Pattison Congratulations to Ben - the first British male athlete to win a world 800m medal since Peter Elliott in Rome in 1987. And as mentioned, Ben has achieved all of this after being diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome and having a heart operation to correct this. After heart surgery in March 2020, he was unable to run for four months. Ben has made an amazing recovery, has made his mark in major championships, and is now on track to make a big impression at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. He’s the one to watch.

Sports Club of the Year Award

This category is for those sports clubs, gyms, and individuals in the world of sport who deserve to be recognised for their contribution to the local community. The judges are looking for a sports club, gym or sports person who is supporting their community to be happier and healthier.

Sponsored by:

Apollo Hotel is delighted to be the joint headline sponsor of the A Place to be Proud of Awards 2024, and to be the category sponsor of the Sports Personality and Sports Club of the Year awards. It’s great to see sport being recognised in the awards, and as a local business that has a lot of sporting links, supporting these categories is a great fit for the Apollo.

And the finalists are:

The nominator says Basingstoke Gymnastic Club’s exceptional commitment to inclusivity and community engagement, paired with its pursuit of excellence in gymnastics, makes it a great candidate for the Sports Club of the Year award. The club not only offers a wide array of programmes for all ages and abilities but also ensures that every participant, regardless of their background or skill level, feels valued and supported. Beyond fostering a sense of community and belonging, Basingstoke Gymnastic Club is also a cradle of athletic excellence. It has nurtured numerous athletes who compete nationally and internationally, representing both home nation and British squads across various gymnastics disciplines. This achievement is a testament to the club’s high-quality coaching and its ability to inspire and develop talent at the highest levels of competition.

The nominator described Basingstoke Rugby Club as not just a sporting institution; it’s a beacon of community spirit and inclusivity in Basingstoke. Their remarkable achievement in significantly increasing player numbers showcases their commitment to embracing individuals from all backgrounds, promoting diversity and unity through sport. The heart and soul of the club are its volunteers. These dedicated individuals exemplify selflessness, working tirelessly to create an environment where sportsmanship and camaraderie flourish. The volunteers are more than just contributors; they are the pillars that uphold the club’s ethos and community presence.

Bluewave Korean Martial Arts are a not-for-profit martial arts club dedicated to providing the best instruction and facilities for Taekwondo in the Basingstoke Area. Founded in 1997, they now have over 150 active members aged from 4 to over 70. Their team of coaches have an average of 20 years of experience each with a passion for all aspects of the martial art and Olympic sport of Taekwondo. Bluewave provides access to some of the best facilities in the south of England with two fully matted training areas, waiting room with free Wi-Fi, changing rooms and the latest training equipment. As a not-for-profit, all fees are invested into providing the very best training experience, club development and providing facilities for the local community.

And the winner is: Ben Pattison The judges said that Basingstoke Gymnastic Club is an all-round success story – one that everyone connected with it can be proud of. Its focus on embracing diversity and providing opportunities for all members to pursue their passion for gymnastics, underscores the club's role as a nurturing environment where everyone belongs. Moreover, the club's extensive community engagement through outreach to local schools and hosting open sessions and family fun sessions exemplifies its role as a vital community hub. These initiatives not only promote the benefits of gymnastics and physical fitness but also strengthen community ties. Congratulations Basingstoke Gymnastic Club.

Unsung Hero Award

This category celebrates a person who makes an important contribution to the community (unpaid but doesn’t have to be a volunteer). We all know a community unsung hero – someone who makes our neighbourhood, street or town so much better. The judges are looking for these special people who give something to their community and are currently not recognised for what they do.

Sponsored by:

As a local business that has supported our community in many ways for many years, we are delighted to support the 21st A Place to be Proud of Awards as sponsor of the Unsung Hero category. These awards really showcase the best of the Basingstoke and Deane area and we are proud to be associated with them.

And the finalists are:

Keith selflessly creates his Keith Brown’s Christmas Baubles, which is a Christmas Light display across the front of his house, each year to bring joy to passersby, raising a massive sum for St Michael’s Hospice.

Mike was running in a Cross-country race in Popham and saw another runner fall. Mike stopped his own race and realised the athlete had turned blue, so started performing CPR, which he kept performing until an ambulance crew arrived. Through his actions the athlete not just survived but is doing very well. Mike literally saved his life.

Her nominee described Patricia as the definition of an ‘Unsung Hero’. Patricia has worked tirelessly to support a number of community initiatives in both her professional and personal life. An individual who has dedicated her career to public service, Patricia has always gone above and beyond in her role for the benefit of community cohesion and engagement. She has worked tirelessly with diverse communities across the borough, ensuring that community provision is fit for purpose, coordinated and in supporting the long term need of groups to support integration.

And the winner is: Keith Brown Keith is very much ‘Mr Christmas’ - his Christmas Lights display across the front of his house brings joy to so many people. Since 2016 he has been using this opportunity to raise funds for St. Michael's Hospice, and he has raised over £62,000 with Christmas light displays and his annual fishing competitions for the hospice to date – an amazing achievement. He truly is an Unsung Hero.

Young Role Model Award

This category is for individuals 18 years or under who have shown real achievement and are an inspiration to others. The judges are looking for a person 18 or under who is a true role model for other young people for their achievements in a hobby, in a sport, in enterprise, raising money for charity, or in doing something special for their community.

Sponsored by:

Queen Marys College

Queen Mary’s College is a long-term sponsor of the Young Role Model category at the A Place to be Proud of Awards. This is a great opportunity to recognise young individuals who stand out for their outstanding achievements and contribution to the Basingstoke community.

And the finalists are:

Archie is ranked first in Basingstoke for U13s for 800m, 1200m and 1500m ranking in the top 50 for his age group in Britain for 800m and 1200m. and during the cross-country season was chosen to represent Hampshire at the Inter Counties and to run in English Schools – which is the highest accolade an athlete of this age can obtain. Archie works very hard to achieve what he does and at the same time remains very humble, never realizing quite how talented he is. He also has demonstrated extreme bravery and maturity when he assisted in getting an ambulance to the right location where the crew were able save an athlete who had suffered a cardiac arrest.

Aaron Howick is a remarkable young person whose actions demonstrate compassion, dedication, and leadership. As a student, he has excelled, demonstrating outstanding commitment and achieving distinctions in his coursework. His teachers and colleagues universally recognise him for his kindness, patience, and infectious enthusiasm for learning. Aaron has not only been offered places at university to train as a primary school teacher but has also made significant contributions to his community through his work in a care home for individuals with dementia.

As a motivated and engaged 18-year-old T-Level student, Scarlett has demonstrated her passion and drive for working within the Health and Social Care Industry in many ways including supporting members of our local community. Scarlett is always willing to support others, dive into tasks with enthusiasm and her range of volunteer work within the community has included supporting a local pre-school with children between the ages of 2 and 5 years old. Currently Scarlett is providing care within the community to a blind individual. This entails regular weekly visits to support quality of life for another and Scarlett does this happily, supportively and professionally.

And the winner is: Aaron Howick The judges felt it is Aaron’s profound empathy and his unwavering commitment to serving others that earned him the winner’s trophy. This is perfectly exemplified by his part-time working at a care home for people with different stages of dementia. He worked Christmas Day, handing out gifts and chatting with residents. Aaron’s selfless actions, both within his academic pursuits and in his community involvement, exemplify the positive impact that young people can have on the world around them. Aaron’s commitment to serving others, his exceptional academic achievements, and his ability to inspire those around him make him a worthy winner of this award. Congratulations Aaron.

Volunteer of the Year Award

This award category showcases the exceptional contribution made by volunteers, who give their time to improve the lives and environment for others in our local community. The judges are looking for that special volunteer – it could be someone in a charity, company, or a local community or sports organisation, who contribute so much to the community.

Sponsored by:

beaufort financial

Beaufort Financial (Reading) is pleased to once again be sponsoring The Place To Proud Of Volunteer Of The Year Award. Communities are full of individuals and organisations that do so much to help others around them. That on its own is something very much to be proud of and something we are happy to be associated with. Families and communities are central to what we do every day, helping people plan to ensure that they and those around them are cared for financially. And, when people invest their time and effort into other people and local projects, they ultimately nurture, helping those around them grow and delivering lasting effects for years to come. So, we’d like to wish all the finalists good luck and also thank every single local person who volunteers. You really do make a difference to your community.

And the finalists are:

The person who nominated Jane said if it wasn’t for Jane, Basingstoke would be a sadder place. Jane stands out because she has been giving back to her community for such an incredibly long time, volunteering for 31 years at Citizens Advice Basingstoke (CAB). She is passionate about helping others and nothing is too much trouble for her.

Bob and Sandra are dedicated volunteers for Chemogiftbags since 2016. Lynne Shipton, founder of Chemogiftbags, has nominated them for their exceptional commitment. Cancer survivors themselves, Bob and Sandra go beyond just delivering Chemogiftbags to Basingstoke hospital – they offer genuine empathy and support in informal chats with recipients of Chemogiftbags.

When the May Place Hostel for homeless people was first opened in the mid-1990s by the Basingstoke Churches, Jan became a regular volunteer. It was here that Jan’s desire to help the homeless was really cemented. When the Camrose Centre first opened its doors in 2008, Jan joined as a founder volunteer. She has continued to serve the homeless and vulnerably housed clients faithfully ever since, week in, week out – that is over 16 years – and always with a smile.

And the winner is: Sandra and Bob Leary The judges were wowed by all the nominees and whittling the list down to a final three was a tough challenge. In the end, they decided that husband and wife Sandra and Bob were the winners. As Lynne their nominator says, Bob and Sandra are cancer survivors themselves, who go beyond just delivering Chemogiftbags to Basingstoke hospital. They offer genuine empathy and support in informal chats with recipients of Chemogiftbags. Lynne nominated them for turning their personal battles into a source of hope and comfort, making an extraordinary impact on the lives they touch – and that dedication and commitment really resonated with the judges.

Lifetime Achievement PTBPO Award

The finalists from this award were selected by the judges from all of the nominations that came in. The judges were looking for individuals or groups that have made a telling difference to the local community over a considerable length of time – and the five finalists have definitely done that.

Sponsored by:

destination basingstoke

The judges were impressed with the breadth of entries for the A Place to be Proud of Awards 2024. They have singled out the above entrants as Lifetime Achievement Award finalists due to their outstanding contribution to the local community. All five should be proud of making the awards final – they are all people to be proud of.

And the finalists are:

Tony has tirelessly worked and committed to public life across Basingstoke & Deane, from his role as a borough councillor, chief executive of Basingstoke Voluntary Action and Director of Mindspace Foundation. Tony has recorded a number of personal and professional achievements during that time and his nominator said it feels right and timely that his commitment to the borough is recognised.

Inspero is a community-based charity which seeks to empower and support people to lead healthier lifestyles through learning about food and the outdoors and the integral role they play in our lives – providing a wide variety of services including a community garden, forest school for children, cookery classes for children, and a food bank. Inspero is a great organisation providing their services through thick and thin. The volunteers give up so much of their time and are always happy to help.

Julie is a wonderful lady who spends half her year planning, writing and directing Basingstoke’s most loved amateur pantomime for Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Julie worked for HHFT for over 20 years and now in her retirement years dedicates her passion, love and time to being the driving force behind the panto, which supports Hampshire Hospitals Charity, raising thousands of pounds every January.

As mentioned earlier, Patricia was described by her nominator as the definition of an ‘Unsung Hero’. She has worked tirelessly to support a number of community initiatives in both her professional and personal life. An individual who has dedicated her career to public service, Patricia has always worked above and beyond her role for the benefit of community cohesion and engagement. For over 40 years, Patricia has worked tirelessly with diverse communities across the borough, ensuring that community provision is fit for purpose, coordinated and in supporting the long term need of groups to support integration.

Kevin has been chairman of the local sports council for nearly 30 years, devoting countless voluntary hours to the sporting community. A large range and variety of sporting initiatives have been led by Kevin including the co-ordination of various sporting partnerships, Festivals of Sport with German and French twin towns, and for many years, the annual Sports Awards.

And the winners are: Inspero – Inspero is a community-based charity which seeks to empower and support people to lead healthier lifestyles through learning about food and the outdoors and the integral role they play in our lives – providing a wide variety of services including a community garden, forest school for children, cookery classes for children, and a food bank. Inspero is a great organisation providing their services through thick and thin. The volunteers give up so much of their time and are always happy to help.

Patricia Langley – Patricia was described by her nominator as the definition of an 'Unsung Hero'. She has worked tirelessly to support a number of community initiatives in both her professional and personal life. An individual who has dedicated her career to public service, Patricia has always worked above and beyond her role for the benefit of community cohesion and engagement. For over 40 years, Patricia has worked tirelessly with diverse communities across the borough, ensuring that community provision is fit for purpose, coordinated and in supporting the long term need of groups to support integration. Kevin Laing – Kevin has been chairman of the local sports council for nearly 30 years, devoting countless voluntary hours to the sporting community. A large range and variety of sporting initiatives have been led by Kevin including the co-ordination of various sporting partnerships, Festivals of Sport with German and French twin towns, and for many years, the annual Sports Awards.

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Brought to you with our key partners

Destination Basingstoke
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Destination Basingstoke's Sponsors

Absolutely Offices Basingstoke
NHS Hampshire Hospitals Trust