Val was announced as the winner of the £1,000 prize at the ACS Summit Gala Dinner last night.

Guy Warner of Warner’s Budgens and Richard and Win Morgan of Morgan’s Newsagents & Post Office were the other two finalists who put up stiff competition.

“I live and work in a deprived area and instead of fighting against people, I’m working with them,” said Val. “I am delighted to have won the Community Heroes Award - it means a lot to me and will mean a lot to everyone in the Tamar View community.”

As well as organising fund-raising projects for the local football team, Val worked with the local Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) to set up, fund and establish a non-contact youth boxing club. She helped raise funds for equipment, coaching and venues. The project has seen crime and anti-social behaviour statistics in the area fall by 50% in the six months since it has been set up.

“The boxing club has made a big difference to the crime rate as the local boys now have something to do and they have even built up a rapport with the police,” added Val. “It has been very rewarding and changed me as a person.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman congratulated Val on her win. He said: “All three entries were fantastic examples of how local shops can be a major part of communities. Val’s efforts prove that investing in the local community brings a wealth of benefits to both store and residents. Val is a deserving winner.”