Awards The Creative Lives Awards - formerly the Epic Awards - are an annual celebration of the achievements of voluntary and community-led creativity. Each year, we invite creative groups across the UK and Ireland to share their achievements with us, so we can give you a well-deserved moment in the spotlight. To see the highlights of last year's ceremony, watch the short video below: Shortlist We received lots of wonderful applications for our 2022 Awards and really enjoyed reading about all the things creative groups across the UK and Ireland achieved between September 2021 and September 2022. It was tough, but we managed to reduce the entries down to a shortlist of 36 groups. Our judging panels will be meeting in January to pick winners from each nation - but now it's up to YOU to choose who wins the coveted People's Choice Award. Read the shortlist and vote for your favourite now! Judging Each year, a judging panel is assembled in each nation (England, Ireland/N.Ireland, Scotland, Wales) which features Creative Lives staff and trustees, representatives from local stakeholders and previous winners. The panels choose a winner and runner-up from each nation. Prizes Winners receive a bespoke award inspired by the region our Awards Ceremony takes place in, a framed certificate, a cash prize and free access to all of Creative Lives’ future ‘Creative Learning’ online training sessions. Previous applicants have also found that being shortlisted for, or winning, a Creative Lives Award has benefitted them on funding applications and raised their profile considerably. Plus two representatives from each winning group will receive invitations to the Awards Ceremony - which will take place on 7 March 2023 at Aspire in Leeds - with all travel and accommodation paid. Here’s what one previous winner had to say: It was wonderful to feel that recognition and it really did spread the word about us, almost overnight. It gave us an incredible confidence boost. The Awards have been running since 2010 - meet some of our previous winners here. And to see who won last year's Awards, and get a sense of what to expect at our Award ceremony, watch our film captured at Coventry Cathedral here. Get involved Creative Lives Awards Coffee 'n' Laughs This year, the Celebrating Diversity Award Winner saw Newport-based friendship group Coffee ’n’ Laughs commended for offering an open and inclusive space for women ‘of all faiths and none’ to come together. During the pandemic, activity was rolled out over WhatsApp and Zoom, with sessions designed to help vulnerable members feel empowered and connected over an isolated period. On winning the award, Sue Lewis from Coffee ’N’ Laughs said: "Coffee ’n’ Laughs is a great gang, and we couldn't have spent lockdown with a better set of friends. We natter, knit and stitch, and didn't miss a beat when we were suddenly locked down. We enjoyed twice weekly Zooms where we discussed and tackled hard subjects, as well as bringing craft, poetry and photography workshops to the group. It was a case of fabulous friends, at a time of isolation." About the group Their first activity was making rag rugs with women who had 'no recourse to public funds', engaging them in conversational English, and the group has expanded to include a diverse range of activities. During the pandemic, the group of women, mostly 60+, met twice weekly on Zoom, and through a WhatsApp group. These sessions combined creative activities with speakers and topics designed particularly to help vulnerable members, including hate crime, dementia and diabetes. The creative activities included arts and crafts such as weaving, photography and poetry. The group has been a vital support and a boost to self-esteem for the women, some of whom were newly widowed or had members of their family die due to the pandemic, and for some who were experiencing mental and physical illness. Marilyn Priday from Coffee ’N’ Laughs said: "The women find it very easy to open up to one another and we have great friendships. At the same time, we have continued with our craftwork and learnt new skills." Learn more about Coffee 'n' Laughs Website: www.communityhousemaindee.org (find them under social and cultural groups) Facebook: Coffee and Laughs Learn more about the winners and runners-up of the Creative Lives Awards 2021.