Bedford Independent Awards to celebrate Bedford’s everyday heroes

BI Awards - BI only

The Bedford Independent in partnership with the Harpur Trust is proud to announce a new series of awards to recognise organisations and individuals who make Bedford brilliant.

The Bedford Independent Awards – Everyday Heroes will take place at an inclusive and free-to-attend ceremony at the Quarry Theatre on 23 April 2020.

“This isn’t a popularity contest and entries are free,” said Erica Roffe, managing editor of the Bedford Independent. “Winners will be chosen on their own merit by our diverse panel of judges who can’t wait to get stuck in.”

The quality and content of the applications will determine if the nominee progresses to the finals. Anyone can nominate themselves, an organisation or be nominated by others.

Nominations will open on 27 November 2019, the 1st birthday of the Bedford Independent.

“As we approach our first birthday, we couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute to our town than by celebrating Bedford’s everyday heroes,” added Erica.

The awards would not be possible without the partnership of the Harpur Trust and the sponsorship support of many other Bedford-based businesses and organisations.

BI Awards - All sponsors 7 Nov

Lucy Bardner, Community Programmes Director at the Harpur Trust added: “The Harpur Trust is delighted to be headline sponsor of the Bedford Independent Awards.

“As a charity we are #hereforbedford, supporting the borough through our grant making with over £11 million awarded to local education, relief and recreation projects every year.

“Our vision is of Bedford as a place where everyone has pride in their community and is inspired and supported in realising their potential.

“There are many individuals who share and reflect this vision, going the extra mile to help and support others or working to make our town a better place.

“Like the Trust, these inspiring individuals are woven into the fabric of Bedford and give it its strength. These awards provide us all with an opportunity to recognise and celebrate their achievements.

“So, if you know someone who deserves a thank you, why not nominate them for an award?”


The award categories have been designed to highlight the heroes on our doorstep who make Bedford brilliant in all quarters.

Volunteer of the Year – sponsored by The Harpur Trust

Do you know someone who tirelessly volunteers their time for a charity or good cause? If so, nominate them for our Volunteer of the Year award.

Excellence in Education – Host sponsor Bedford School

An award which recognises excellence in the education sector. This could be a teacher who is making a real difference, a training provider which has helped students gain valuable experience or a group of volunteers who give young people new opportunities to learn. Applications need to show how they have made a difference to the lives of young people.

“Bedford School is honoured to be hosting this year’s Bedford Independent Awards.

“The awards are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate extraordinary individuals and groups in Bedford whose hard work, dedication and generosity help make Bedford a great town in which to live and work.

“We are proud to be part of such an active, lively and engaged local community, and look forward to supporting the town in recognising its many local heroes.” – James Hodgson, Head Master, Bedford School

Raising the Profile of the Town – sponsored by the Quarry Theatre

Have you achieved something that has put Bedford on the map? If so, this award is for you. Organisations, event organisers, individuals and charities, tell us how you’ve helped shine a light on Bedford.

“The Quarry Theatre is very excited to be the venue of the first ever Bedford Independent Awards night. Hopefully we will help to bring a bit of ‘glitz and glamour’ to the event!” – The Quarry Theatre Team

Community Business – sponsored by Woodfines Solicitors

Does your business get involved in the local community? We want to celebrate the organisation that gives something back – whether by attending community events, staff volunteering or offering your services to charities or community organisations.

“Woodfines are delighted to be sponsoring the Community Business / Business Person award at the first Bedford Independent Business Awards. It will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate those in Bedford’s business community.” – Stephen Goddard, Head of Business Development & Marketing at Woodfines Solicitors.

Independent Retailer of the Year – sponsored by Brewpoint

Bedford Borough has an above average abundance of independent retailers and we think it’s about time we celebrated the Borough’s shopkeepers. Applications need to demonstrate excellent customer service, innovative ideas and community spirit.

“As a long standing Bedford business, we at Wells & Co. are pleased to be supporting the Bedford Independent Awards. We are keen to continuing supporting local businesses and developing new local relationships especially with the arrival of Brewpoint to the town in Summer 2020” – Tom Foddy, Head of Retail Sales and Marketing, Wells & Co

Unsung Hero – sponsored by Eagle Brewery

This could be a good neighbour, community hero or act of bravery. Do you know someone who has done something outstanding to help others (that doesn’t fit into any of our other categories)?

This is our broadest category and we want to hear inspirational stories about great Bedfordians.

“Eagle Brewery are delighted to be involved in the inaugural Bedford Independent Awards and as the leading Brewer in the town, a major employer in the area and a supporter of great local causes, we are honoured to sponsor the Unsung Hero award as there are so many individuals in Bedford who contribute brilliantly to the local community and their work so often goes unnoticed by many and unrewarded.” – Jim Gill, Regional Manager, Marston’s Beer Company

Young Achiever – sponsored by Bedford Heights

This award honours an individual aged 18 or under who has achieved over and above the expected. We’re looking for young people showing sporting, educational, community or charitable excellence.

“Bedford Heights, the former home of one of Bedford’s largest employers Texas Instruments and now the town’s premier business destination, has always sought to be a part of the wider community of Bedford.

“With our businesses employing hundreds of local people, many of whom live in Bedford, we are proud supporters of the Bedford Independent Awards, which recognise the community for their commitment, dedication and hard work to make Bedford a better place to live and work.” – Tim Pain, Director of Verve Developments Ltd, Owners of Bedford Heights

Fundraiser of the Year

Our Fundraiser of the Year award honours an individual who has worked tirelessly to raise funds for a single cause or many different causes. Applications need to demonstrate how nominees have gone above and beyond the norm to inspire and motivate others to donate.

Campaigner of the Year

This award recognises an individual who has worked tirelessly to raise awareness for a cause/s. Applications need to show nominees go above and beyond the norm and the impact their campaign has achieved for the cause/s

Apprentice of the Year

Have you employed an apprentice who has impressed you with their hard work, proactiveness and the positive impact they have made to your organisation? Applications need to demonstrate the impact the apprentice has had, with testimonials from others in your organisation.

Nominations will open soon

Nominations will open on 27 November 2019 to coincide with the 1st birthday of the Bedford Independent. The deadline for entries is the end of February 2020.

All finalists will be invited to the ceremony on 23 April 2020 with a guest.

Any finalists who wish to apply for more free tickets to the event will be able to nearer the time. Details of how to do this will be published in the new year.

If you’d like to sponsor any of the categories not already being supported by other Bedford businesses and organisations, then please contact

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