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Community Group of the Year

Community Group

Thousands of workers received the compensation they were entitled to thanks to the Help Advice Volunteers Service (HAVS).

The group was set up in 2004 by former miner Michael White along with Bill Squires, Jim Ryan and Tony Harnett.

The group has helped many miners claim compensation for industrial diseases related to working underground, as well as other people who have suffered an industrial disease caused by their occupation.

To help miners with their claims, the group researched medical information and used its experience of mining conditions.

It represented miners at tribunals for injuries such as vibration white finger, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and osteoarthritis of the knee.

Having been named Community Group of the Year, Michael said: "I'm so proud. It's been a long time helping these miners and construction workers with industrial diseases. We've helped a lot of people and I'm proud to have achieved that.

"The people we have helped will be absolutely delighted because they always say we deserve some recognition and by God we have got it.

"It's been so sad reading some of the letters and answering them - but at least people got the benefit they were entitled to."

The Community Group category is open to any group who can demonstrate their work plays an active role in community life.

We are looking for groups who promote community spirit, tolerance and co-operation amongst local residents. It may be that it actively helps to promote estate or area based activities, or perhaps provides support in some way for local people.

The following points are intended as guidelines only, to help you with your nomination.

  • Do you know of a group that provides a much needed service?
  • Does it make your area or some else’s a safer place to live?
  • Does it provide a lifeline for those in need?
  • Does the group provide facilities to engage young people who would otherwise have nothing to do?

If someone has done something creative, engaged local people in the arts or simply been there to support residents or those in need, we want to know.

Winners are likely to have devoted their efforts to the benefit of the community with probably no, or little in the way of a budget.

Nominations are invited from all types of community group, be it an amateur dramatics society, a slimming club, residents association, church or youth group.