AS Dudley looks to find its local community heroes, the leader of the council has emphasised the role all organisations and individuals play in ensuring a bright future.

The Halesowen & Dudley News and Stourbridge News have joined forces with Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council to launch this year's Forging A Future for All Awards.

The awards seek to reward the special individuals and groups whose sterling work marks them as true heroes and champions of Dudley Metropolitan Borough, making it the best place to live and work.

The awards consist of 13 categories: Improving the Local Environment (individual); Improving the Local Environment (group/organisation); Outstanding Contribution to Education; Young Achiever; Community; Healthy and Safe Communities; Travel Support; Rising Apprentice Star of the Year; Business of the Year; Visitor Attraction Volunteer of the Year; Visitor Attraction Lifetime Achievement; Town Centre Unsung Hero/es of the Year and Digital Innovation Award.

Those categories are based on Dudley's Forging a Future for All vision, which will shape the area in which we live by 2030.

The leader of Dudley Council, Councillor Patrick Harley, has emphasised the role of all organisations and individuals will have to play in ensuring Dudley borough ‘forges a future for all’.

He said: “The Forging a Future for all vision is very clear and there are seven well defined aspirations. We have set top level priorities against these areas and it is clear that the cross-working between the likes of the council, schools and colleges, tourist attraction, police and health will be the key to success.”

The Forging a Future Executive Board has been meeting every six weeks since the borough vision was launched in September 2018 to drive forward progress on the vision. The vision was developed by organisations following engagement with the community, including residents, businesses, faith groups and voluntary sector organisations, sets out seven key aspirations.

The aspirations include ensuring Dudley borough is an attractive and affordable place to live and visit, with vibrant and diverse towns being home to healthy and safe communities. It also emphasises the importance of high quality schools and colleges to provide the skilled workforce to help innovative businesses prosper in a better connected borough both in terms of transport links and through digital technology.

And over the last few months it has become clear there are many cross-cutting themes to the vision which will require organisations to work closely together.

Councillor Harley added: “The seven aspirations cross over frequently so we will need to work together and not in isolation. For example the exciting plans for the future at the Black Country Living Museum will go hand in hand with the council’s plans for the future of Dudley town centre as the tourism economy will undoubtedly benefit the town.

“It is also clear that the investment in our transport infrastructure through the Metro extension will unlock brownfield sites and make Dudley borough a more attractive place to live whilst the development of an institute of technology by Dudley College will create the workforce of tomorrow to support our local businesses.”

The awards will culminate in a glitzy black-tie dinner reception at the Copthorne Hotel in Merry Hill on Thursday, November 28.

This year's awards are being supported by local businesses which have already pledged their support by sponsoring different categories including Dudley College of Technology, Fairmont Residential, Dudley NHS Clinical Commissioning Group; The Tipton & Coseley Building Society; Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust; Gaunts of Wollaston and Lapal House.

To get involved by either nominating someone for an award or to enquire about sponsorship visit