Mid Sussex Applauds deadline looms: previous winner Colin talks about the importance of recognising your community champions
The Mid Sussex Applauds deadline for nominations is fast approaching and people only have until July 31 to put forward their local heroes.
The annual awards programme is running for a third year and aims to celebrate those who have gone above and beyond to serve their communities.
The Mid Sussex Times is proud to be media partner of Mid Sussex Applauds.
Colin McFarlin, who lives with his wife in Lindfield, was 2019’s joint-winner of the Take Pride in Mid Sussex Award (sponsored by ID Verde) and won it for his work as a volunteer waste prevention advisor for West Sussex County Council.
Colin said he is trained by the council in ‘all aspects of recycling’ so he can share his knowledge and answer any questions that West Sussex residents might have.
Having previously worked in insurance, he is now retired but gives recycling talks to organisations all over the county, racking up 220 hours of volunteering time in 2019 alone.
In February last year, before the Covid pandemic hit, Colin gave 15 talks to community groups including Women’s Institutes and the Brownies.
“I got the award and the recognition encouraged me to carry on,” he said.
“I’m still doing talks and still doing the work but because of Covid a lot of it has gone onto Zoom,” he added.
Colin said he started volunteering in 2012 after talking about recycling with a West Sussex County Council representative at a summer fair in Bentswood.
He said he knew practically nothing about the subject but became fascinated with it and signed up for training to give talks.
“I became one of the first Waste Prevention Advisors in West Sussex and now there’s about 20 of us,” said Colin, adding that he has regular training every year to keep himself up-to-date.
“I get a lot of satisfaction out of sharing knowledge with people and I hope my enthusiasm for recycling comes over to the people I give talks to,” he said.
Colin said the Mid Sussex Applauds are important for recognising personal achievement and for publicising the work of volunteers – letting people know there are local talks on recycling, for example.
He said he has fond memories of the 2019 event, which was pre-Covid and held in East Grinstead’s Meridian Hall.
Nominees were treated to tea and cakes before getting their certificates and Colin has hung his on his study wall.
He said the event was ‘quite nerve-racking’ as well because the winners were announced from third to first place.
“In my group there were four nominations,” he said, adding that, once he realised he was not number three or two, he had either ‘won it or got nothing’.
“My heart rate was starting to rise but, bless them, what they did was they had a joint first so nobody was left out,” he said, adding that the other winner was Rob McIntyre.
“It was a lovely ceremony and a lovely gesture and they’re doing it on an annual basis, which is great,” said Colin.
He added that he hopes people will nominate those who do important work in the community to recognise their contributions.
“I’m sure we’ve all looked at the list of OBEs and MBEs and said to ourselves ‘I know people who do more work’,” he said.
“Well, let’s recognise them locally, if nothing else, and put these people forward,” he added.
“Particularly during the pandemic. A lot of people have done an awful lot of things to help out and deserve to be recognised.”
This year’s categories for nomination are: Business in the Community Award, Young Volunteer of the Year (sponsored by Clarion Futures), Take Pride in Mid Sussex (sponsored by ID Verde), Lifetime Achievement Award, Stronger Together (sponsored by the Orchards Shopping Centre), Good Sport Award, Stronger Communities (sponsored by CAE) and the Young Achiever Award.
Everyone who lives or works in Mid Sussex is entitled to be nominated.
To make a nomination visit www.midsussex.gov.uk/applauds.