CRAVEN would be a much poorer place without its army of dedicated volunteers.

As austerity grips, more and more services rely on unpaid helpers to survive.

Only last week, North Yorkshire County Council announced that libraries in Settle, Cross Hills, Ingleton and Bentham would be run by the community, with help from professional staff.

It is estimated that every year, more than 20 million people across the country volunteer their time to improve things for others.

And, here in Craven, there are many unselfish, community-minded people – from rescuers, who risk their lives helping people in difficulty on our fells or in our caves, to those in who volunteer in charity shops.

They are all unsung heroes, who deserve recognition.

It is, therefore, with great delight the Craven Herald has once again joined forces with Craven District Council to launch the fourth Community Champion Awards.

It is a chance to reward those who have made an outstanding contribution to the community, whether it is through the arts, on the sports field or by enhancing the environment.

We have a district full of people who want to make a positive difference, and that is something to celebrate.