A bereavement support charity has been announced this week as the first winner of the Roaring Meg Community Support Awards.

The Comet: Roaring Meg Community Support AwardRoaring Meg Community Support Award (Image: Archant)

The Comet-backed initiative offers charities and community groups in the area the chance to win £2,000 for a nominated project, thanks to Roaring Meg Retail & Leisure.

And after pouring over entries, judges from the Stevenage-based retail park have chosen Stand-By-Me as the inaugural winner.

The charity – which has bases in Stevenage and Hitchin – offers a free service for bereaved families in the local community and is staffed by trained volunteers.

Responding to the news, Stand-By-Me’s project co-ordinator Karen Stanton said: “This award will help us to continue to move forward supporting bereaved children and young people in North Herts and Stevenage by allowing us to purchase essential resources to run four therapeutic group programmes in 2017.

“At a time in their lives where they often feel very alone and isolated, the children we see tell us how important it is for them to have a safe place where their grief is understood and how helpful it is to meet other young people who have also experienced the death of someone special.

“To maintain the bonds made in the group, we also hold an annual ‘Remember Me’ event which brings together all the children and their families from groups past and present, in a fun day building on the friendships they have created and developing community support networks.

“On behalf of everyone at Stand-By-Me, I would like to say a massive thank you for this award.”

Sarah Rawlings, Roaring Meg Retail & Leisure’s marketing manager, added: “Stand-By-Me really stood out to the Roaring Meg team when we were choosing the first organisation to benefit from our £2,000 reward.

“The charity is very local to the shopping park and it is the only specialist service providing this kind of support in the area, so we felt they were really deserving of the funds in order to continue the fantastic work they have been doing for the children of Stevenage and North Herts since March 2015.

“We’ve had an outstanding amount of entries into the new Roaring Meg Community Support Awards and we would like to encourage local organisations, charities and groups to come forward to be in with a chance to benefit from a £2,000 donation.”

Nominations for the next award are now open, with the deadline set for November 15.

The prize money of £2,000 should be used for purchase of materials or products and must not be used for payment of consultancy fees or wages – for full terms and conditions visit cometcommunityawards.co.uk. Email communitysupportaward@thecomet.net to enter.