Royal award for community group

Staff and volunteers at St Mary's Centre on the Chequerfield estate, Pontefract, get awarded the Duke of York Community Award.'Pictured L to R are: Angela Vause, Lisa Rooke, Julie Carritt, Kebir Berry and Denise Pallett.'p308a343
Staff and volunteers at St Mary's Centre on the Chequerfield estate, Pontefract, get awarded the Duke of York Community Award.'Pictured L to R are: Angela Vause, Lisa Rooke, Julie Carritt, Kebir Berry and Denise Pallett.'p308a343
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An inspirational community centre has become one of just 40 regional organisations to win a royal award for its work to support local people.

St Mary’s Chequerfield Community Project, in Pontefract, has won the Duke of York’s Community Initiative for the second time.

The project, based at The Circle, provides a wide range of community activities for all age groups and interests, including job club, offering support and training for the unemployed, over 50s lunch clubs, children’s activities and a wide range of adult education courses.

Julie Carritt, project manager, said: “I think we’ve won it because we’re a one-stop shop for the whole community. We do things for the whole age range, there’s all sorts of things going on.”

St Mary’s first received the award in 2007 and was invited to apply for it again this year.

Julie added: “We are very pleased to get it again, it’s a very select award.”

Representatives from St Mary’s received the award from the Duke of York last Thursday, October 10, at a special ceremony and lunch at Bridlington Spa.

The award, which was founded by the Duke in 1998, exists to both encourage and reward innovative and inspirational community projects in Yorkshire and the Humber and is awarded annually.

Groups which receive the award go through a rigorous scrutiny process to be deemed “of real value to the community, well-run and an inspiration to others”.

Julie said: “It’s everything, from the money and finances, the structure of management and staff, how it is run and how well it meets the needs of the community.”

St Mary’s was established in 2001 and has been at its present home on The Circle since 2004.

Julie added: “We’ve really gone from strength to strength, our job club has a good record of getting people back to work, we do lots of adult education courses, but also have brownies and rainbows and a youth theatre for children. We’re also looking to set up a cyber cafe to fill the gap left by the library.”