AN OSWESTRY company has hosted a brand new award ceremony - the Community Awards.

Aico, which specialises in home life safety, held the event at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham to recognise excellence within social housing and the local community, with 11 curated categories to provide entrants with an opportunity to showcase their inspirational projects and innovations.

And it was a local special educational needs college that won the first award of the night.

Derwen College in Gobowen won College Initiative of the Year for their vintage charity shop that provides valuable work experience for students.

Pete Evans, commercial manager of Derwen College, said: "We were delighted to be shortlisted for the College Initiative of the Year. To find out we were overall winners was wonderful; especially as the competition from across the UK was so strong.

"We were very proud to be recognised for creating and opening our Vintage Advantage charity shop. Launching during a pandemic was challenging, to say the least, but everyone's efforts have made it all worthwhile – the shop is proving to be a huge success.”

The 10 remaining awards were received by a diverse range of organisations that operate or offer services within the housing sector.

Aico also used the event to raise funds for the Electrical Industries Charity (EIC), which offer a range of vital support services to individuals, and their families, who serve within the electrical sector.

With 300 guests in attendance from across the UK, the event was hosted by Carl Jones, BBC Radio Presenter and Master of Ceremonies.

He said: "It was a fantastic evening of celebration. The hall delivered a real 'wow' factor to get things off to a terrific start.

"Standing at the lectern as Master of Ceremonies is always a privileged position at events like these because it means I get to see the magical expressions on the faces of winners when their names are announced. You can see how much it meant to them to be recognised in front of colleagues and peers on an evening when so many people made new friends. It was a joy to share the stage with such inspirational people."

Also in attendance were special guest speakers, George Clarke, architect and TV presenter; and Ed Clancy OBE, triple Olympic champion.

Ed said: "It was a great evening and a privilege to be a part of the Community Awards 2022. It was fantastic to hear all about the positive work that Aico and their partners are doing for their communities.

"Everyone had a good time – I very much enjoyed George Clarke riding round on my bike in his tux!"

The finalists were chosen from over 200 entries and selected by five judges; Neal Hooper, managing director of Aico; Gavin Smart, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Housing; Dame Judith Hackitt, chair of ingenuity; Fayann Simpson OBE, group board member and senior independent director of L&Q; and Mandeep Bhogil, director of operations at Tower Hamlets Community Housing.