We are delighted to announce the winners of our photo competition celebrating the vital work of small charities and groups in our local communities.

Norfolk Day is the perfect time to highlight the work of these inspirational community and voluntary groups, which are often small in size but big in impact, many of whom who have stepped up during the Covid-19 crisis to support some of the most vulnerable in our county. Norfolk Community Foundation is proud to support a network of over 2,000 such groups, with our work touching 1 in 4 people locally, and directing support to where it is most needed. This could include tackling isolation, providing support to vulnerable families and individuals, and supporting local organisations tackling mental health and wellbeing.

We received many photos illustrating the amazing work that local groups have been doing to benefit their communities both prior to and during lockdown. The winners have now been announced to celebrate their work this Norfolk Day.

The winning image: The Hamlet

This years’ winning image comes from The Hamlet, who provides recreational, educational and social opportunities for children and adults with profound physical/learning disabilities, complex health needs and life limiting medical conditions, from the point of diagnosis into adulthood. Their Children’s Centre offers specialist support for families and children from 0 to 18 including pre-school; out of school recreational activities; activities to promote sensory and physical development; resources, information and training for families. The Adults’ Centre offers activities for young adults with disabilities including: skills for life, arts, crafts and sports, (one-to-one and in groups); an out-of-hours social group offering opportunities to participate in the local community.

As government restrictions ease, The Hamlet is preparing to re-open some of its services with reduced numbers, and taking steps to keep staff and families safe.

Many congratulations to The Hamlet who receive £500 to support their important work.

Second place winner: The Bridge for Heroes

The Bridge for Heroes, a ‘drop in’ centre for service personnel and forces veterans and their families, wins a very deserving second place in the competition, receiving £300. They provide a wide range of immediate support activities including housing, social contact with other veterans, financial and benefits advice, assessment of needs, signposting to relevant specialist support agencies and all round support to those most vulnerable ex-service personnel.

With the drop-in centre forced to close, staff and volunteers have stepped up to provide food supplies and support for the veteran community, many of whom are isolated and in the high risk category.

Third place winner: Mancroft Advice Project

Mancroft Advice Project wins third place, receiving £200. Norwich based charity MAP has been helping young people to have better, safer, happier lives for nearly 30 years. Supporting children and young people aged 11-25 across Norfolk through a range of drop-ins and project, MAP provides advice, counselling and positive activities with a focus on helping those who are most disadvantaged. Young people can seek non-judgemental advice on employment, education and training, money and debt, housing and homelessness, welfare rights, sexual health, relationships and parenting. Counselling and wellbeing advice is also available. Each year MAP supports over 4,000 young people to overcome the challenges in their life and move forward to a more positive future.

With many services disrupted due to Covid-19, MAP has set up a Freephone Advice Line to help continue its support to young people facing new struggles such as with debt, housing mental health and basics like food supply.

Claire Cullens, CEO of Norfolk Community Foundation, said: “Huge congratulations to our competition winners and their images which inspire us all. Small local charities and voluntary groups are the backbone of many of our local communities and have been working tirelessly during the Covid-19 crisis to support the most vulnerable. We are proud to be continuing our celebration of and highlighting these inspirational organisations this Norfolk Day, as part of everything that is best about this wonderful county.”