The dedication of voluntary and community groups supporting children and young people in East Sussex and the talent and commitment of the young people themselves were celebrated at the SPARK Awards 2014 (12 November), which were held at the De La Warr Pavillion in Bexhill.
The evening saw awards across twelve categories handed out, including Social Media Achievement, won by Young Pioneers; Advice & Guidance Achievement, won by Little Gate Farm and Sports Achievement, won by Pevensey & Westham Sports Club (Junior Award) and Westerleigh Judokwai (Senior Award).
Nominations came from a range of SPARK members from youth clubs to counselling and support services, including those for people with disabilities and complex needs.
Many SPARK members are small, grass-roots organisations run by volunteers in their spare time which make a real difference to their communities, but whose work often goes unrecognised.
The event was staged for the third year by SPARK – a network for young people’s organisations in East Sussex – with around 400 guests.
VIPs in attendance including the Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field; the High Sheriff of East Sussex, Chris Gebbie; chairman of the county council, Colin Belsey; the Mayor and Mayoress of Bexhill, the Mayor and Mayoress of Seaford and guests from East Sussex County Council, the county’s District and Borough Councils and Sussex Police.
The awards ceremony was hosted by fifteen-year-old SPARK Awards Co-Ordinator Nick Steer and former BBC South East TV presenter Beverley Thompson, who now works as a senior public relations manager for Southern Water, the event’s main sponsor.
Entertainment was provided by Carpet on the Walls and Laines from Starfish Youth Music in Lewes, as well as Seaford Musical Theatre Juniors, who performed a rousing medley from the musical ‘Grease’ and picked up the final award of the evening – the SPARK Award, which is awarded to a group that deserves special recognition.
Peter Field, Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex and SPARK Patron, said: “It is always a great pleasure for me to attend the SPARK Awards and be reminded just how much our young people do for themselves and how much they contribute to the community in East Sussex.
“It is also great to see how much talent there is in the county and the performers at this year’s awards were no exception.
“Congratulations to everyone involved”.
SPARK is free to join and supports, connects and celebrates more than 140 voluntary and community youth groups in Lewes, Wealden, Eastbourne and Hastings & Rother.
For more information visit sparknetwork.org.uk.