The Arnold Association of Neighbourhood Watch Schemes has worked to reward children in Year 5 (10 year olds) in local schools who show great community spirit. Currently, eight of the ten schools in Arnold and Woodthorpe paricipate.

(The other two are regularly invited to participate but have chosen not to.) Bob Vaughan-Newton, Secretary for the association, said, "We started slowly with one school in 2007, two in 2008, three in 2009 but the scheme really took off and by 2013 we worked with all ten.

Kate Vaughan-Newton receiving her award2013 was really special for us. In the first Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network awards "One of the categories was “Inspiring Youth”. Our then Chair, Kate Vaughan-Newton, went to the House of Commons on 18th June and was delighted when the Association was announced as the winner of that category. About three weeks later she went to Richard Bonington Primary School where the winner was Amy Meek who had worked with her sister, Ella (in Year 3 at the same school) to deal with issues related to dog fouling. The sisters caught the campaigning bug and now are activists – search for kids against plastic for what they do now.

"There have been so many inspiring young people that we have met over the years. I can think of a boy who was about to spend his summer holiday in Africa helping to build a school for children of his own age. Or a girl who befriended another girl who was traumatised and had become mute as a result. She helped this girl to communicate to the extent that she was interacting with others by the end of one term. This year one boy won for collecting 72kg of donations for Arnold Foodbank. Another boy gave up eating chocolate for a month – he raised more than £100 for charity. One of this year's runners up built a large planter for his school out of eco bricks – large plastic bottles crammed with discarded single use plastic.

"We have refined the scheme over the years. We started by recognising only one child per school. We gave them a laminated certificate for their Record of Achievement and a £20 voucher to spend at the Victoria Centre and we gave their school  a glass plaque, which records each year's winner. We now offer the school the chance to nominate a runner up as well as a winner. The runner up gets a certificate and a £10 voucher while the winner now gets a £30 voucher. We encourage the schools to let the Year Group choose their winner. The presentations are wonderful occasions. Typically the whole of Year 5 takes part with songs, role plays, poems and other performances.

"Why did we choose Year 5 for this scheme? These children are old enough to know right from wrong. The children in Year 6 are very busy with exams so it wouldn't be fair to make them compete for the Best Buddy award as well. The Year 5 winner has a whole school year to be a role model for the new Year 5 children.

"Best Buddy is so well embedded in the Association's regular business that we now have a volunteer Coordinator, Carolyn Hill, who does almost everything to do with the scheme. Originally we relied on individual donations and fundraising events to pay for the scheme. We are now, happily, supported by our local Councillors both from Gedling Borough and Nottinghamshire County Councils for which we are very grateful."

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