The winners have been announced for an award designed to honour the efforts of people in Nottingham who strive to improve the health and wellbeing of others.

Three nominated individuals and three groups were invited to a special presentation ceremony for the Michael Varnam Awards 2017 at Nottingham City Council’s Loxley House headquarters.

The awards take their name from former Sneinton GP Dr Michael Varnam who dedicated 35 years to helping people in Nottingham, particularly residents and families in deprived areas. He died in 2006, aged 61.

This year’s individual award went to Tracy Dickinson Wheeldon who started up Tracy’s Street Kitchen to feed the homeless in Nottingham. She operates out of Trinity Square on a Friday evening.

The group award was picked up by members of Bulwell Forest Garden, which is a community project formed by neighbours who wanted to improve a patch of land that had been unused for many years. They grow fresh produce for their community and hold regular family events and social activities.

The awards are organised jointly by Nottingham City Council, Nottingham City Health and Wellbeing Board, NHS Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), One Nottingham and the Youth Parliament.

Councillor Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Adults and Health at Nottingham City Council and chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “I’d like to congratulate both Tracy and the Bulwell Forest Garden team, and it was great to meet them at the ceremony this week.

“The Michael Varnam Awards are designed to acknowledge people out there in Nottingham who go above and beyond to make a huge difference to the lives of others. Very often this type of selfless person goes about their business quietly and without fuss, so we think it’s important to recognise the hugely positive impact they have and say thank you for everything they do.”

 Alison Challenger, Director of Public Health at Nottingham City Council, said: “Michael Varnam was extremely respected and admired within Nottingham’s healthcare community, not least for the work he did to improve the health and wellbeing of so many vulnerable people.

“Since we opened the nominations for these awards in the summer, it has become clear that we are very lucky in Nottingham to have so many people in our communities who share his drive and commitment to support others.”

Other individuals and groups were highly commended at the award ceremony. These included:

Individual award

  • Clare Ashton, a retired nurse who works tirelessly to help her local community in Clifton
  • Martin Beresford, customer service manager and work experience coordinator at Jobcentre Plus who has taken part in a number of fund-raisers for various charities

Group award

  • Sally Denton and Anne Downey from Nottingham Law Centre – providing on-the-day emergency advice and advocacy to anyone facing possession proceedings or homelessness
  • BAC-IN-CIC Ltd – culturally-sensitive, peer-led, drug and alcohol advice service for all sections of the local BAME communities

Dr Hugh Porter, Chair and Clinical Lead at NHS Nottingham City CCG, said: “Michael was an inspirational doctor and incredibly well-liked by colleagues and patients alike.  He made a real difference to so many local people.

 “His legacy of compassion and a ‘hands-on’ approach is continued through so many people across our city. These awards are about making sure that they feel encouraged by members of the local health and care community and are rewarded for the contribution they are making to a healthier Nottingham.”