The Rivelin Valley Conservation Group collected the top honour at this week’s Sheffield Telegraph Environment Awards, sponsored by Amey - a fitting tribute as the group marks its 20th anniversary.
The 500-strong group, who took the Lifetime Achievement award earlier in the evening at the Mercure St Paul’s Hotel, went on to take the overall prize.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our special video report including interviews and highlights from the awards ceremony.
READ MORE: For full details about all our winners see the 12-page supplement free inside the Sheffield Telegraph - out now, Thursday, October 20, 2011.
Hosted by BBC Look North weatherman and environment correspondent Paul Hudson, the awards - now in their fifth year - recognise the organisations and individuals who are making a difference and, by doing do, encourage others to do the same.
A team of volunteers from the Rivelin Valley group meets once a month to carry out essential maintenance work to ensure the survival of Rivelin’s natural and industial heritage.
The work they undertake includes rebuilding footpaths, managing woodlands and returning water to the once dried-out mill dams.
Practical work carried out by the group volunteers, who are ably assisted by outside organisations such as the BTCV, Sheffield Conservation Volunteers and the Sheffield University Volunteers, has prompted an increase in awareness and involvement, and group representations on planning issues has helped to protect the valley’s beauty.
Other winners on the night included Hunter’s Bar Infant School, who took the Primary School award for their efforts, which have also been recognised by the recent award of the Eco Schools Green Flag.
Senior School winners were Silverdale, where a student-led action team has made significant progress in reducing the school’s carbon footprint. Students also raised the money for the school’s own allotment.
This year’s Community winners are the Friends of the Porter Valley, which protects the area of parkland running from Hunter’s Bar, along the River Porter and into the Peak District.
Heritage roofing specialists Martin-Brooks Roofing took the Design & build honours in recognition of their work on some of the region’s best-loved buildings, including Bolsover Castle and Hardwick Hall.
Big Yellow took top spot in the Business category for a range of initiatives at their Queen’s Road and Hillsborough stores through the company’s Bright Ideas rewards system.
There were joint winners in the Individual section, with Geoff Cartwright and Nigel Doar sharing the prize. Geoff was a key figure in the development of a nature reserve at Blackburn Meadows, while Nigel Doar has been chief executive of Sheffield Wildlife Trust for 10 years and is about to take up a national post as Director of Development.
The Innovation honour went to Heeley City Farm, for its pioneering work in producing and distributing local food and the way it involves local schoolchildren and the community as a whole.
And the Recycling winner was Access Space, which has been encouraging people to recycle and do creative things with computers for the past 11 years.