The West Berkshire Community Champions 2017 were awarded at a special presentation on 7th December 2017. The evening started with Councillor Quentin Webb, Chairman of West Berkshire Council who said:
“Community Champion is one of my favourite Chairman duties. This year we have had a superb response in each category, receiving double the number of nominations as last year. The standard of the nominations was truly impressive, and while this made the task of judging much harder, I am delighted that we are able to recognise so many worthy people. “I would like to thank our judging panel of independent representatives and all this years nominators. It is very encouraging to hear particularly of the contributions that volunteers make in our community. They are playing an increasing role in the provision of public services and it is important that their contributions are acknowledged.”Councillor Quentin Webb, Chairman of West Berkshire Council
Awards were given out to groups and individuals. The Community Group of the Year award was given to Heartstart Thatcham, nominated by Ann Allen. Ann explained that Heartstart Thatcham brings this British Heart Foundation initiative to Thatcham and surrounding areas. The scheme provides free Emergency Life Support (ELS) training in the community and has also raised sufficient funds to place many external defibrillators around the West Berkshire area. Heartstart Thatcham was founded in May 2013 by Dr Nick Young and is supported by a small team of volunteers. Within the period August 2013 to September 2017, over 1100 people have successfully passed the course. The Heartstart team are well known in the community; for their training courses and for their extensive fundraising activities which generated over £100,000 in this period. All of this has been ploughed straight back into the community. In addition to offering training, one of the prime goals of Heartstart is to raise awareness of, and access to, Automated External Defibrillators. To date, 51 have been purchased and installed in the area.