Awards The Creative Lives Awards - formerly the Epic Awards - are an annual celebration of the achievements of voluntary and community-led creativity. Run by Creative Lives, the Creative Lives Awards are open to any amateur group or project based in the UK and Ireland. They recognise the skill, innovation and hard work of the people involved and the benefits they bring to local communities. Read all about our 2021 winners here. Watch our short video to find out more about the Creative Lives Awards: Judging Each year our judging panels pick a winning group from England, Ireland/N.Ireland, Scotland and Wales, plus a Celebrating Diversity Award and a Local Hero Award. We open up voting to the public to choose the winner of the People's Choice Award - and all the shortlisted groups vote for each other in the Peer Award for Excellence. Prizes Winners receive an award, framed certificate, 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 Awards has benefitted them on funding applications and raised their profile considerably. 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 really gave us an incredible confidence boost. The Awards have been running since 2010 - meet our previous winners here. Nominations for the next Creative Lives Awards will open in spring 2022. 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 in the BAME community 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.