Community Champion Award 2017
We are pleased to announce this year's Community Champion Award winners. Now in its ninth year, the Community Champion recognises the spirit of individuals and community groups who work on a voluntary basis to make their community cleaner, safer and greener.
David Drew (individual category)
David has worked as a Parish Warden for Nash Mills since 2013, but it is his dedication to improving his community in his spare time that has earned him the accolade of Community Champion 2017.
Outside of work, David can be found regularly litter-picking along the canal side, collecting any recyclable items separately and bagging them up for collection, sometimes with the assistance of his grandsons. If any lost property is discovered whilst tidying the streets, David will try his best to return the item – he once even reunited a donkey with its owner!
His passion for keeping his local area as clean and safe as possible means that David will remove any dangerous litter he discovers, such as broken glass or needles and regularly reports issues such as fly-tipping, dog fouling and abandoned cars to the Clean, Safe and Green department. During cold snaps, David regularly checks local grit bins to ensure that they are full and has previously helped deliver grit supplies to areas where elderly residents live, to make sure that they could leave their homes safely. David will grab any opportunity to improve his local area and has even been spotted painting, staining and maintaining benches for the community to enjoy relaxing on.
His friend Linda, who nominated him, says: “David is a humble, modest, hardworking individual who is quite happy to stay out of the spotlight. However, his ongoing fervour for keeping Nash Mills a clean, safe and green area ensures he will always be in the limelight!"
After winning the award, David said: “From a personal perspective it's great to be in the fresh air and keeping fit. For the community, we all benefit from a clean and safe environment.”
Friends of Halsey Field (group category)
Halsey Field is home to a wide variety of wildflowers, butterflies, bugs and birds. It was recognised as a Local Wildlife Site in 2015, after lots of support from diligent volunteers who identified the biological importance of the land and its urgent need for management. This group have grown over the years, officially reaching charitable status earlier in 2017 to become The Friends of Halsey Field.
The Friends litter pick the site frequently and also work to discourage dog fouling in the area so that it is as clean as possible for its visitors.
Work parties are hosted throughout the year to manage invasive species, such as Ash, keep the paths clear of vegetation so that they are safe for visitors, and cut and rake grassy areas to encourage the wildlife.
The group carries out a range of surveys for butterflies, moths, insects, flowering plants and mammals so as to keep track of the site’s biodiversity – which has been improving under the new management plans. In the summer there was an open day for the local community, which had lots of different competitions and activities tailored for adults and children to teach them how to carry out bug hunts and identify different flower species themselves.
Since the Friends have been managing the area they have gained funding to install a bench, information signs and a noticeboard in the area to encourage more people in the community to enjoy the site and its surroundings. The area is now well used by dog walkers, families, community groups and conservation groups.
Christine Ridley, one of the founding members of the Friends Group, said: “The Friends of Halsey Field are delighted that so many people are able to enjoy this new wildlife site in so many ways - for exercise, socialising, peace and wellbeing, and education.”
If you'd like to learn more about the Friends group, visit their Facebook page.
David Davies (individual category)
Since moving near to Featherbed Lane in Apsley in 2013, David has been concerned with litter and fly-tipping in the local area.
By rallying other willing volunteers together using the local residents' Facebook page, David has championed regular litter-picking events over the past few years, which have been successful in both cleaning the local area, as well as building community spirit. David has even brought groups together to take part in national litter-picking initiatives such as Clean for the Queen and the Great British Spring Clean.
In between these group clear-ups, David continues to litter pick regularly himself in his local area, as well as nearby areas that also need attention.
North Chilterns Path Maintenance Volunteers (group category)
The North Chiltern Path Maintenance Volunteer (NCPMV) group was established in August 2015 and carries out work throughout the footpaths of Dacorum once a month, working closely with Dacorum’s Rights of Way Officer.
The paths and rights of way network allows access to many beautiful parts that Dacorum residents are fortunate enough to have on their doorstep. The NCPMV works on footpaths, bridle paths and byways, to ensure open access to these historic rights of way, which are enjoyed not just by locals, but many visitors travelling from London and other surrounding areas.
The volunteers carry out vegetation management, which ensures that the paths are safe to use. Invasive species are identified and removed to create better conditions for native species to thrive, and piles of cuttings are created, all of which helps to encourage biodiversity.
Alongside this, the group also manages the fixtures and fittings of the trails, such as marker posts, repairing broken steps, installing fences and gates.
Who won the award in previous years? Read about our Community Champion Award shining stars on our previous award winners page.