The Penny Appeal Community Group of the Year 2017 features six organisations, groups and charities who have had a profound impact on neighbourhoods in the region.

The Fusion Awards will take place on Saturday 13 May at King George's Hall, Blackburn.

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Abu Hanifah Foundation (AHF)

The Abu Hanifah Foundation (AHF) in the space of six years has become one of the most active and most inspirational community groups of their kind in the region. 
They have through a series of ground breaking programmes helped to instil a level of confidence in the community they serve.   Through education, sport and charitable causes the foundation has made major changes to how a community is perceived and how volunteering can have a positive effect on neighbourhoods.
AHF is a not for profit, UK registered educational charitable organisation and social enterprise with three main delivery arms - Supplementary Islamic School (Madrasah), the Sports Academy and the Scout colonies.
Collectively they benefit over 1000 local and regional citizens every single week and have also helped to raise money for charities.
Each arm has numerous services, all of which make a valued contribution to the local and regional area whilst carrying out projects helping to create harmony between different communities.

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Carers Link Lancashire

Carers Link Lancashire has been delivering services specifically to unpaid carers and indirectly to the people they care for since 2000. 
The organisation provides a range of person centred and holistic support and services to unpaid adult carers living in East Lancashire across the boroughs of Burnley, Pendle, Rossendale, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley and young carers living in Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley. 
At present, the organisation has over 9,500 carers registered with the service, varying in ages from 6-101 years. 
In the past 12 months the group have established two ‘carers caravans’ for carers to receive  respite opportunities, trained over 1,000 professionals in carers awareness training, identified and supported 1628 new carers providing carers with 2650 1-2-1 support sessions.
This has been complimented by a number of inclusive and popular events which have aimed to build community relations.

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Connect UK

Connect UK is a community group made up entirely of volunteers whose work in helping their local hospice has been both inspirational and motivating.
The group came together in a bid to work with the hospice to create more awareness of the invaluable work the organisation does. Whilst the East Lancashire Hospice assists all communities, little was known of the actual work it does and how it is funded.
The group of volunteers then set a target of raising £10,000 for the East Lancashire Hospice and by doing so held a series of events to raise awareness of the work of the hospice in the community.
However, they smashed that figure and raised a whopping £58,411.57.
This was all the more amazing as the group was brought together with no real formal structure and volunteers helped to format a plan within weeks.
Efforts included a vintage tea party, a Sky Dive and Bake Off competition, a cycle challenge and a Christmas Fayre.

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East Lancashire Deaf Society

The East Lancashire Deaf Society is a non-profit charity which provides support to different deaf groups across the region. 
The organisation work with people who have a diverse range of communication needs of deaf British Sign Language (BSL users), including deafblind people, hard of hearing people and those who have lost their hearing later in life.
The ELDS’ main concern is for the deaf person and their family. They strive for their right to full participation and the same opportunities in education, employment, access and involvement as anyone else in the community.
The organisation achieves this through three main routes: Advocacy, Information and Services. The ELDS believe that with their services and support they can provide deaf and hard of hearing people from all ethnic backgrounds with the same opportunities in access to work, social activities and education as their hearing peers.
The ELDS have a mixture of deaf and hearing staff who all work together to fight for equal opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing people. 

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The Love and Etiquette Foundation

2016 was one of the Foundation’s busiest years where the group continued to break new ground with a series of innovative events and workshops.
The Love and Etiquette Foundation aims to design, promote and present high quality visual art, workshops, commissions and exhibitions for cross cultural community engagement to encourage positive messages and change perceptions.
In 2016 the group hosted the Andalusian group Al Firdaus Ensemble on a UK tour; an Art Therapy Workshop helping Asian communities with mental health issues and an Arabic calligraphy course with Gulnaz Mahboob.
In the sprint they hosted Aizzah Fatima and her acclaimed Dirty Pakistani Lingerie theatre production across 15 venues and a UK tour with Fanna Fi Allah Sufi Qawwals.
One of the highlights of the year was the Lancashire’s South Asian Arts Kinara Festival which saw hundreds of people attend major headline events. 
The group has also supported the Burnley Literature Festival and hosted among others the Rumi and Rabia music and poetry tour with Turkish artist Latif Bolat.
Currently the Foundation is hosting Fanna Fi Allah Sufi Qawwals in Hebden Bridge and Manchester in May 2017 and programming the second Kinara Festival in August 2017.

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Sri Lankan Bolton Community (SLBC) UK

A community group which has aimed to highlight the accomplishments of a little known community in the North West of England.

Established in October 2015, the Sri Lankan Bolton Community (SLBC) aims to unite members of the Sri Lankan community and help educate the younger generation and children about their heritage.

The SLBC focus on running parenting courses which can help them teach their children British values, break down any language barriers and help them educate their children.

The group celebrate different things, including a community cohesion day and their members' accomplishments, such as achieving university degrees.

The Sri Lankan community in Bolton has grown considerably in size over the past years and the SLBC provide a common platform to cater for the religious, cultural and social needs of Sri Lankan families and children in Bolton by adopting good values and principles to achieve the best.

The organisation are working towards a community centre and aim to transform Bolton’s Sri Lankans to become nation builders. The group encourage integration with other communities for the betterment of the younger generation.

To find out more about the Awards click here