Hundreds of adults and young people celebrated local community spirit at the 2016 SPARK awards in Eastbourne last night (10 May), which this year were sponsored by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.
SPARK, a free to join charity, supports, connects and celebrates voluntary and community groups who are improving the lives of children and young people aged 0-19 in East Sussex.
Bryony Mackenzie, Education and Social Affairs Correspondent for BBC News South East, co-hosted the awards ceremony alongside 18-year-old Callum Ward, Chairman of the Ringmer Youth Voice Centre, which was set up by local students to give them a collective voice in their community.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Education Team, Community Volunteers, Community Safety team members and Firefighters from Pevensey provided advice and entertainment on the night with the opportunity to dress up like a firefighter and have pictures taken with an appliance. Attendees could also make requests for Home Safety Visits, and enter a raffle to win a visit to their local fire station and a bag of fire service goodies.
The event, which was held at the Winter Garden, included performances from young SPARK members. Chief Fire Officer Gary Walsh presented the Health and Wellbeing award at the event. The runners up for the award were Homestart East Sussex and Fellowship of St. Nicholas My Time Now Project with domestic abuse charity RISE taking home the award.
Gary Walsh said, "It was a great honour to present this year’s Health and Wellbeing award to the winners RISE. The support that the volunteer and community groups in our area are providing to young people is truly admirable.
"East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service are committed to building stronger connections with the younger members of the communities we serve and I am extremely pleased that we will be working with SPARK to develop ways we can support community groups and offer opportunities to the young people of East Sussex and Brighton & Hove.
"A huge congratulations to all the winners and runners up from the night."