Nominate your community heroes for an Observer award

Some of the volunteer sewing team who make clothes for My Sisters' House
Some of the volunteer sewing team who make clothes for My Sisters' House

The only women’s centre across the county has been put forward for an Observer Community Award.

My Sisters’ House CIC opened in Bognor Regis in June 2015, and such has been its success that it has already opened another premises along London Road.

The band of highly skilled volunteers offer a drop-in centre for all woman who have personal problems or need help in any way across Arun and Chichester, as well as a shop nearby selling upcycled clothes made by some of the volunteers.

Founder and development manager Julie Budge said: “In just 18 months, ten women sitting round the table have set up the only women’s centre in West Sussex.

“Based in Bognor Regis we have supported over 120 women since our drop in opened in June 2015, have raised over £140,000, recruited 26 volunteers, and formed nine local partnerships.”

The Community Interest Company has been nominated for the best local/voluntary group in the Observer Awards.

Details of all the categories, and how to nominated a person or group are below.

Julie said: “We help all women who have got personal problems or are disadvantaged in some way, be it having suffered domestic abuse, unemployment, relationship problems, bereavement or any form of loss.

“We’ve also helped refugee women with immigration issues, and others with housing advice, and we also act as advocates for women at family meetings or hearings.”

My Sisters’ House is also growing connections with other organisations, such as the Bognor Women’s Institute, so if they can’t directly help, they can act as a signpost service for women to find the organisations who can.

The majority of the women who come through the door are self referrals, and they are supported every step of the way, regardless of the things that are most concerning them.

Such is the success, that Julie says they are looking at opening new women’s centres in Chichester and Littlehampton, with the nearest of the 700 other centres nationally based in Brighton.

My Sisters’ House CIC is just one of the many nominations which are already starting to come in as you nominate those worthy of an award.

Whether it is a community-minded volunteer, an avid fundraiser or an individual who is simply inspirational, we all know someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty and we are asking our readers to nominate them.

There are 13 categories in which our readers can nominate groups or individuals from across the Observer area to receive an award.

They are Best volunteer (the Shirley Henry award); Best community person; Mini marvel; Best School; School star; Best coach; Sports team or sports person of the year; Hero to animals; Special recognition; Best local voluntary/charity group; Outstanding bravery; Best community event; contribution to the arts in the community.

If you would like to nominate someone, email stephen.pickthall@jpress.co.uk with details, which category and why you think they should receive a Community Award.

You can find full details in the Chichester, Bognor or Midhurst and Petworth Observer, along with a nomination form.

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