The Duke of York’s Community Initiative held its annual award ceremony at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate on Tuesday 11th Oct 2011. The Duke of York visited Yorkshire to present the Awards personally to Yorkshire organisations that have transformed the lives of their community.

The Duke of York initiated and continues to take a strong interest in the Award Scheme and the charities that have won awards. The essence of the Award Scheme has been summarized by the Duke as follows: “Some years ago I visited a housing estate in York, and saw what a real difference could be achieved by the community working together, identifying their own needs, and deciding for themselves the actions needed to find the answers to such needs. Today the Community Initiative which bears my name is a great success story throughout the whole of Yorkshire.”

This year 30 organisations received awards from the Duke ranging from a Kung Fu club based in Kingston upon Hull in East Yorkshire to Snappy in York which works with children with learning difficulties and disabilities to Scuba Diving for All in Ripon and Sheffield Volunteering in South Yorkshire.

Students, older people, sport, disabilities, drug rehabilitation and the homeless are just a few of the themes which demonstrate the scope and vitality of volunteering in Yorkshire.

One of this year’s recipients is The Basement Recovery Project in Halifax, whose CEO Michelle Foster said:

We are very proud to be recognised by the Duke of York’s Community Initiative for our work. It means a great deal to everyone involved with our project. The award recognises that we are part of the wider community, challenging those who traditionally stigmatise the addict. For us, getting clean and sober is a right not a privilege; the ‘tools’ to recovery are quite simple – we work together and make a difference. We are all truly grateful that our collective approach has the Royal seal of approval. Having this accreditation will hopefully open doors for us when we are seeking funding opportunities.

Simon Blagden MBE, the Chair of the Initiative’s Trustees said “This year we have had more applicants than ever and we are anxious to hear from other community groups who may like to apply for an award.