Nomination season is underway for this year’s Make A Difference Awards, and this time, the spotlight extends beyond human heroes to include the unsung animals that have made a positive impact in their communities. Recognizing those who have improved the lives of individuals or groups, as well as those dedicated to enhancing animal welfare, the newly introduced category promises to celebrate the extraordinary contributions of both people and their four-legged companions.

Chris Burns, Controller Local Audio Commissioning for BBC England, says: “We are a nation of animal lovers and our listeners often contact us with stories of what their pets mean to them and how they are offering to support them. So we thought what better way to celebrate these achievements than with their own category at our Make A Difference Awards.”

The responsibility now lies with BBC radio listeners across England to unearth these remarkable individuals and animals by nominating them for a Make A Difference award. With eight award categories, nominations will be accepted until 11:00 pm on Sunday, March 10, 2024. The eagerly awaited announcement of winners will take place at Make a Difference Award ceremonies hosted by local BBC radio stations throughout the country in September.

Make A Difference, born at the onset of the first pandemic lockdown, serves as a virtual notice board connecting those offering help with those in need. With over 14 million interactions to date across all 39 local BBC radio stations, the initiative has played a crucial role in fostering community spirit and support.

Chris added: “Our local BBC radio stations hear amazing accounts every day from our listeners about the incredible work that goes on in their community. Many have faced tough times recently, so I am delighted that we will be honouring our local unsung heroes once again. It’s those individuals that make where we live so special.”

For a comprehensive list of award categories and details on how to nominate someone, visit bbc.co.uk/makeadifference. The nomination period is currently open and will close on March 10, 2024, at 11:00 pm.

Categories for 2024:

  1. Volunteer: Awarded to an individual making a notable difference in their community through voluntary efforts.
  2. Community: The Morning Live Make a Difference Community Award recognizes individuals or groups genuinely changing lives within their community.
  3. Fundraiser: Acknowledges individuals or groups going the extra mile to raise funds for a good cause.
  4. Carer: Recognizes someone improving the lives of individuals or groups through helpfulness, compassion, and support.
  5. Great Neighbour: Awarded to an individual enhancing the neighborhood’s livability through regular contributions or a single act of kindness.
  6. Bravery: Recognizing outstanding courage, defiance, and duty in the face of danger, fear, or difficulty.
  7. The Green Award: Acknowledges individuals or groups making their living spaces better by caring for the environment and nature.
  8. The Animal Award (New for 2024): Honors animals improving the lives of individuals or groups, or individuals or groups working with animals to enhance animal welfare.