THE winner of the newly-created Community Project category was the M3 Job Club, which supports those who are unemployed or at risk of redundancy.

The project, which was set up three years ago, offers opportunities for networking, support from others in a similar situation and the chance to learn new skills.

Richard Thayer, who set up the scheme, said it has gone from strength to strength.

He said: “It really works, and I’m very glad to have been able to do something positive for the community. I really wasn’t expecting to win, and it is just a bonus really. Tonight has been great fun.”

Julian Chun, operations director at Sentinel Housing Association, which sponsored the category, praised the club and its members, saying: “Having successfully supported over 245 people back to work, they work tirelessly to improve the lives of people through building relationships with local employers and professionals across Basingstoke.

“With a long track record of delivering results, it’s not difficult to see how the M3 Job Club is having a significant impact on the wider community.”

The runners-up in the category were Inspero Love2Grow and Loddon Social Enterprise.

Inspero Love2Grow, a community group, works with disadvantaged children in South Ham, Basingstoke, encouraging them to grow fruit and vegetables at their sites in Bardwell Close and Kempshott village hall – and they were set up with the help of the M3 Job Club.

Loddon Social Enterprise offers a place where disabled people can learn new skills in a workshop setting, gaining experience and learning skills such as time-keeping and teamwork. Service users receive a nominal amount of money each week.