Three Preston organisations amongst winners at Radio Lancashire’s Make a Difference Awards – Blog Preston

Three Preston organisations have won awards at BBC Radio Lancashire’s Make a Difference Awards.
JJeffect won the Education Award, Let’s Grow Preston won the Community Project of the Year Award, and Here for Humanity received the Companionship Award.
The Make a Difference Awards recognise unsung heroes from across the county, reflecting everything from good neighbours to voluntary work.
Hundreds of entries were whittled down to 40 finalists, and the 10 winners were announced at the annual ceremony, which took place on Saturday 11 September, at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
Read more: Preston office workers raising funds for Lancashire Women by cycling 45 miles
Chorley MP and Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle judged the Community Hero Award.
Speaking at the ceremony, Sir Lindsay said: “I’m so proud, as a Lancastrian, to see what great people we have here, and thank goodness we’ve got a radio station like BBC Radio Lancashire.
“They reach all parts of Lancashire, and they’ve brought the county together to share a day of heroes, and to be a little part of that is fantastic.”
Read more: Runners prepare for City of Preston 10k race as countdown begins
BBC Radio Lancashire’s Breakfast Show presenter, Graham Liver, hosted the awards.
Speaking at the event, Graham said: “All of the finalists are simply amazing in their own way, and I’m so pleased that BBC Radio Lancashire has been able to shine a light on their hard work and give them some of the recognition they deserve.
“Lancashire is a special county, and I’m incredibly honoured to be surrounded by hundreds of amazing people.”
Read more: Mental health professionals cover 168 laps of Preston Docks to raise awareness and funds 
Award-winning actor, campaigner and charity patron Julie Hesmondhalgh, from Accrington, was the guest judge for the Carer Award.
Julie said: “When BBC Radio Lancashire asked me to judge the Carer Award, I jumped at the chance – I thought ‘that’s right up my street’.
“Every single one of the finalists has overcome incredible personal difficulty to be brilliant carers to their families, partners and children but have also gone into the wider world and made a massive difference to other people too.”
Read more: Tesco stores across Preston raising charity funds throughout September 
Burnley’s Jimmy Anderson OBE plays cricket for Lancashire and England and is the country’s all-time top wicket-taker. He was the guest judge for the Education Award.
Jimmy said: “I’m delighted that BBC Radio Lancashire asked me to announce the winner in the education category at the Make a Difference Awards.
“The four finalists are all brilliant and show what fantastic people we have working in education in Lancashire.”
Read more: In pictures: Rosemere’s ‘Walk in the Dark’ raises £10k for the charity
Chorley swimmer Anna Hopkin, who won gold at this year’s Tokyo Olympics, was the guest judge for the Young Carer Award.
Anna said: “I’m really excited that BBC Radio Lancashire asked me to judge a category at the Make a Difference Awards.
“It was a really difficult decision, and it was so inspiring to listen to all of the finalists’ stories.”
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Founder of the Blackpool-based charity The Silver Line, Dame Esther Rantzen DBE, was the guest judge for the Companionship Award.
Dame Esther said: “BBC Radio Lancashire gave me a completely impossible task! The finalists are so inspiring that everybody ought to be a winner.
“I’d like to send all my congratulations to absolutely everybody because you’re amazing. Isolation matters and you’re making a real difference.”
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The winners were:
The Volunteer of the Year Award: Kate Ashworth (Lancaster)
The Voluntary Group of the Year Award: Curry on the Street (Nelson)
The Carer Award: Susan Schofield (Nelson)
The Young Carer Award: Hasti Jahanghiri (Blackburn)
The Community Hero Award: Fleetwood Together (Fleetwood)
The Education Award: JJeffect (Preston)
The Ben Ashworth Award for Fundraising: Freddie Xavi and Hughie Higginson (Whalley and Higham)
The Community Project of the Year Award: Let’s Grow Preston (Preston)
The Companionship Award: Here for Humanity (Preston)
The Pride of Lancashire Award: Laura Nuttall (Barrowford)
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