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The Express & Star is proud to launch The Great Big Thank You Awards once again for 2017.
The awards will acknowledge individuals and organisations from across the West Midlands, who selflessly give their time and energy to improving their community and the lives of others. 


Following the huge success of the very first ceremony, Britain’s biggest-selling regional newspaper is excited to embrace its unique role in the awards, and looks forward to a night of celebrating the unrivalled positive contributions to local life that the nominees have made.


The Express & Star itself is dedicated to helping local communities and has delivered a number of key community campaigns year on year, including Cash For Your Community, a fund for local good causes, last year’s apprenticeship drive Ladder for the Black Country and the Green Shoots Fund for local businesses.


Cash For Your Community, a £35,000 grant project for local small good causes organised with HomeServe, saw more than 100 not-for-profit community groups, charities or social enterprise organisations benefit.


Through the Ladder campaigns, run in partnership with the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, Performance Through People and the Vine Trust, more than 1,000 apprenticeships were created.


Each apprenticeship was estimated to be worth £10,000 to the local economy, with the overall benefit to the region calculated at more than £10 million. The campaign and the work carried out by the MNA’s staff and local businesses was praised by its patron HRH the Duke of York, who hosted a Ladder celebration for the Black Country apprentices at St James’ Palace in London last year, as well as former prime minister David Cameron.


The Express & Star Green Shoots Plus campaign, operated with the University of Wolverhampton to distribute Regional Growth Fund grants to 65 local businesses across the Black Country, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire, worth up to £150,000 each.


In total £4.1m was awarded, creating 411 jobs and protecting 203 others, as well as generating a huge £13.4m in private sector investment into the regional economy.


MNA print managing director Graeme Clifford said: “As well as reporting on local life for more than 130 years, the company aims to create good news for the region by playing a leading role over employment, business, social issues and long term growth.


“We are honoured to be involved with such a heartwarming initiative such as The Great Big Thank You Awards and value the importance of rewarding our unsung heroes from across the region.”

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