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Community Group of the Year

The Hessian Company

Community Group sponsored by The Hessian Company

The Nominees are:

Chris Sumner

Chris SumberChris is severely sight impaired and when he was first diagnosed he tried to find out what facilities and help there was in Torbay for the visually impaired.  This prompted Chris to start the Brixham Blind Club as this is his hometown. The BBC was attracting members from all over Torbay and so to enable the club and facilities to grow he applied for Charity status, a Big Lottery Grant, and the BBC became VisualEyes Torbay, which gets people out into the community.

There is also bowling, rifle shooting and Spoken Word Book Club all organised by Chris. Without Chris's drive, the Sight Impaired community in Torbay would still be struggling to find out where to go for help and friendship. Chris is President of his Local Paignton Rotary Club and is a Trustee with Healthwatch Torbay.


Jackie King

Jackie KingJackie is amazing. She started Tissues and Issues in March this year and the whole ethos is wonderful. The group consists of families of children with additional needs/disabilities. The support and advice, suggestions and help, not to mention cake, coffee and crèche are inspirational. I have gone on courses suggested since and met other people with similar problems who understand what you are going through. We have masses of knowledge and experience from our own journeys but this gives you an opportunity to give advice to others as they stumble on their own path. Great group well deserving recognition.


Pauline Laidler

Pauline Laidler

Pauline is a volunteer for the Access to Community Education Charity that provides learning experiences for disabled adults. The charity brings fun, support and prevents loneliness, which is on the rise tenfold in older people and the disabled community.

She helps at dinner time, at sports mobility and gardening. She sends birthday cards for us all and she writes publicity documents to bring in new members. Pauline is a real gem, a treasure to the community.





They are a fantastic group of people providing education and meaningful activities for people with learning disabilities. They offer, creative writing, pottery and art, horticulture, cookery and healthy lifestyles and community living skill sessions. They provide support to enable people to not only live successfully in the community but also to socialise. They are a small group who deserve so much and who ask for nothing for themselves. Find out more here.





Voting closes on 16th September.

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