Awards celebrate people who transform lives

22 Dec 2017

The No More Service Community Awards this week celebrated inspiring people who have turned their lives around or given their time to support others.

The service supports adults in Stevenage who have had problems with alcohol or substance misuse and last year helped 36 people with substance issues and 33 offenders with projects including life skills and budgeting.

Simon Hilton won the Turning Your Life Around award after taking a bed in The Haven’s cold weather shelter last January. He had been living on the streets but since entering The Haven he has given up alcohol and attended a Mind support group, and volunteers at the Library.

Channelling her own personal experience of domestic abuse to help others won Melissa Bingham the Outstanding Achievement Award. She chairs the Stevenage Against Domestic Abuse forum, gives up her free time to run a drop-in group for people affected by domestic abuse and strives to help people in awful situations get the support they need.

Rebecca Butterworth won the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community for the support she offers to protect families from domestic abuse, through the support service For Baby’s Sake. She works with pregnant women and their partners to support them through the first year of a baby’s life, and ensure children get the best start.

Team of the Year winners were Stevenage Fire Volunteers who support fire-fighters at community events, visit residents to give advice to help them stay safe, conduct reassurance patrols with the police to prevent arson and give water safety advice.

Nicola Brown won the Progress Award after she overcame substance misuse and became a peer mentor, offering a listening ear to those who have experienced similar situations. She has also got back into work, with a job at Macmillan Cancer Support, and rebuilt her relationships with her mother and children. A special commendation was also given to Emma Sterling, who has changed her lifestyle, and stopped coming to the attention of agencies for negative behaviour.

A ward sister who averted a suicide attempt by a patient was named Community Hero winner. Lesley Jones followed a 15-year-old girl who walked out of the Lister Hospital after a suspected overdose, and struggled to stop her when she saw the girl preparing to jump from a bridge in Martins Way, saving her life.

Councillor Sharon Taylor, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, said: “All of the winners and nominees have made such a difference either in getting their lives back on track or helping others to do that. Their inspiring stories show the difference the No More Service is making and why it is so important.”