A UNITED effort by more than 40 Bolton organisations to improve life for the borough's communities has been recognised with a national distinction.

Supporters of The Bolton Family travelled to the Royal Albert Hall to collect the Connected Places prize at the Responsible Business Awards.

Promoters of the UK-wide event, hosted by Business in the Community, say the award recognises businesses which work in partnership to address long-term social, economic and environmental needs.

Vanessa Barlow, board chairman for Bolton Family, said: "The Responsible Business Awards are incredibly tough to win as they reward initiatives that happen right across the UK and include projects managed by nationally and internationally recognised businesses and brands.

"We're tremendously proud to bring an award home to Bolton for the work we do here.

"It shows what's possible when we have lots of organisations working together for the good of Bolton.

"By co-ordinating our efforts, we can make a much bigger difference to our communities."

An estimated 10,000 people are said to benefit from The Bolton Family's endeavours - and another 30,000 people see the knock-on benefits from their efforts.

The likes of Warburtons, Seddon, Barkers and Keogh Solicitors combine with public agencies such as Bolton Council, Bolton At Home and mental health services to tackle a range of social ills.

Charities and social enterprises including Urban Outreach, Bolton CVS, the Woodland Trust, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the Octagon Theatre also contribute.

Some of their projects assist with employment prospects, like Working Wardobe, which offers mentoring and interview-ready clothing for candidates.

Free packed lunches are provided, in another initiative, for youngsters during the summer holidays, by Urban Outreach.

Regular food bank collections, tree planting, Christmas hamper runs, Buy Local weeks and the Bed Every Night scheme are among the group's other activities.