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REACH for Autism, which aims to break down barriers surrounding autism, has taken the Voluntary Organisation of the Year title in the Inverclyde Community Awards 2014, the annual initiative that recognises the achievements of the region's large third sector community and its many volunteers.

The Greenock based group was one of ten category award winners unveiled by Provost Robert Moran at a ceremony in the Beacon Arts Centre.

Sarah Drewery, a befriender with Trust Volunteering Inverclyde, won the Volunteer of the Year title, and Young Volunteer went to Graeme Sweeney for his work with the Young Carers Group. The Partnership category was won by Greenock Morton Community Trust with Active Schools, Inverclyde Leisure and the Scottish Football Association.

The awards initiative is organised by CVS Inverclyde, which represents the area's third sector, in partnership with Trust Volunteering Inverclyde. Winners were announced by Provost Robert Moran, with CVS Inverclyde Chair, Ann Walsh, presenting the awards.

Full results for the Inverclyde Community Awards 2014 are:

Voluntary Organisation of the Year - a group or organisation that has delivered outstanding services in the community:

Winner - REACH for Autism breaks down barriers surrounding autism by providing support, services and opportunities for children, adults and families living with autism.

Finalist nominees - Enterprise Childcare and Financial Fitness

• Volunteer of the Year - a local person over 25 years of age giving outstanding service and support to the local community as an unpaid volunteer:

Winner - Sarah Drewery has volunteered for seven years as a befriender with Trust Volunteering Inverclyde and helped ten adults who were isolated in the community.

Finalist nominees – James Beaton, Friends of Auchmountain Glen project
Alice McGaughey, Belville Tenants & Residents Association

Young Volunteer of the Year - a local person under 25 years of age giving outstanding service and support to the local community as an unpaid volunteer:

Winner - Graeme Sweeney, who was a member of the Young Carers Group, has continued to be involved since turning 18 and made a DVD about the challenges faced by young carers. He now also volunteers at the Barnardo's Scotland charity shop in Greenock.

Finalist nominee - Ellie Keenan, a member of LGBT Clyde Pride Group has campaigned heavily against homophobia and been invited to be involved in police training.

Partnership - any partnership of at least two organisations - one must be third sector - which demonstrates positive partnership and outcomes:

Winners - Greenock Morton Community Trust in partnership with the SFA, Think Active Schools and Inverclyde Leisure, delivered the hugely successful holiday camps for children in Inverclyde during the Easter, summer and October school holidays. The camps were delivered across Inverclyde and were met with praise from all parts of the community.

Finalist nominees - Financial Fitness in partnership with the Financial Inclusion Partnership; and Trust in partnership with River Clyde Homes and In Work

Social Enterprise Development - a group or organisation that has demonstrated achievement in generating income through trading:

Winner - Parklea Branching Out uses horticulture to offer a range of training, supported employment and facilities to empower people who have additional support needs with the skills and confidence to be included in their community.

Finalist nominees - Enterprise Childcare and Greenock Morton Community Trust

• Community Champions - a group or organisation that has worked effectively to articulate the views of local people:

Winner - Broomhill Tenants & Residents Association in central Greenock has campaigned tirelessly for better housing and community facilities in their area.

Finalist nominee - Belville Community Association

• Sports & Activities - a group or organisation that provides sporting or other social activities for local people:

Winner - Inverclyde Globetrotters is an innovative project that encourages a healthier lifestyle by getting people to walk more. It gives them a target to walk across a country, a continent, around the world or even to the moon – all without leaving Inverclyde.

Finalist nominees - Caddlehill Allotment Gardens and Greenock Morton Community Trust

• Arts & Culture - a group or organisation that provides opportunities for local people to engage in art, music, heritage, drama, literature, photography or other cultural endeavours:

Winner - Rig Arts is a community arts project that works with all levels of talent, bringing artists and the community together and, in particular, encouraging young people to become more involved in arts and film.

Finalist nominees - Beacon Arts Centre and The Trust

• Health & Care - a group or organisation that has contributed to a healthier Inverclyde or provides care services:

Winners - Inverclyde Association for Mental Health provides a range of sustainable support and opportunities to enable people with mental health issues maximise their potential within the community.

Finalist nominees –Phoenix Community Health Partnership and Recovery Café

• Equalities & Inclusion - a group or organisation that has helped to celebrate diversity or to reduce barriers/increase opportunities for those who are marginalised in society:

Winners - Financial Fitness, now in its 15th year, offers free, independent and impartial welfare benefit information and financial support services to Inverclyde residents.

Nominee finalists - Adult Literacies Volunteer Tutors and REACH for Autism

"We have a very robust third sector here in Inverclyde with more than 600 community groups, voluntary organisations and social enterprises operating locally," said Ian Bruce, Executive Officer, CVS Inverclyde.

"This has been reflected in the high standard of nominations we received, which gave the judges a real challenge in selecting not just the winners but also the final nominees in each category. It is encouraging to see such a high calibre of people. who are the driving force behind the great work emerging from Inverclyde's third sector."



CVS Inverclyde champions the role of the third sector to help build successful communities. It provides clear, friendly advice and support for more than 600 community groups, voluntary organisations and social enterprises, which operate across the region. It is run by a Board of Directors elected from its members – people who live, work or volunteer in the Inverclyde area – and a team with a broad skill set who work closely together to deliver a wide range of support.

Since 2011, CVS has been in partnership with Inverclyde Community Development Trust to form the Third Sector Interface (TSI) for Inverclyde, which builds relationships between the third sector and community planning partners, to support volunteering and volunteers, develop the third sector and increase social enterprise.

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