A NEW category has been launched for this year's East Lancashire School's Awards - Volunteer of the Year.

The awards, now in their fourth year, celebrate our outstanding schools, teachers, pupils and support staff.

Categories include best primary, secondary and special schools and pupils, most inspirational teacher, unsung hero and best head teachers.

Now for this year a new category is looking for the best volunteer, with the category sponsored by the Tauheedul Education Trust.

We are looking for a schoolchild from primary or secondary school, or a parent, governor or member of staff who has volunteered their time to make a difference to their school or to other people.

Schools, pupils and staff throughout East Lancashire do themselves proud when it comes to helping others – supporting leading international charities helping children and carrying out voluntary work both at home and abroad.

Parent/teacher groups also go above and beyond to help their schools, raising money for new equipment or carrying out voluntary work to improve everything from school buildings and classrooms to playgrounds and creating wildlife areas.

Many individuals deserve to be recognised for their efforts and now we want to hear about those who make a difference.

Nominations can come from teachers, governors, parents, other pupils (with parental approval) or anyone who believes they know someone who deserves to be recognised.

The Trust said it was keen to use its sponsorship of the Volunteer of the Year category to highlight the sterling work carried out by dedicated volunteers within local schools and communities.

Mufti Hamid Patel, chief executive of Tauheedul Education Trust, said: “This award category shines a light on those remarkable individuals who dedicate their time and energy to supporting a school, community or cause.

“There are many people giving their time freely as volunteers within East Lancashire’s schools, colleges and out in our local communities. Tauheedul Education Trust is proud to sponsor an award that seeks to recognise them and celebrate the positive difference they make.”

The closing date for nominations is Friday, May 12 with the awards ceremony due to be held at Ewood Park on Thursday, June 29.

For more information about the school awards or to nominate a school or individual visit www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/education_zone/education_awards/