We all know people who helped the vulnerable during the pandemic and others who have been doing a lot for their community over the years whether it is picking up litter on their local beach, fundraising for a charity or feeding the homeless.

Thank you for nominating your Community Heroes and telling the whole world about them to recognise their efforts and inspire others.

The UK Community Heroes:

Maurice Fitzgerald

Crewe, Cheshire, England

Nominated by Nicola Marshall, Goodgym

“Maurice epitomises the words ‘Community Hero’. Whenever help is needed in our local community, Maurice is there. He gives his time willingly and enthusiastically to serve those around him. Maurice has been part of Goodgym Crewe since it launched in 2019, taking part in weekly volunteering tasks such as helping at the local food banks, homeless centres and other charitable organisations. However, as well as all the work he does with Goodgym, Maurice also wears many other volunteering hats…. he is a regular volunteer down at the COVID vaccine centre where can be found in his hi-viz marshaling on the car park every week. He delivers meals on wheels on behalf of the Wishing Well to vulnerable members of the community 2 days a week, collects shopping for a visually impaired lady every week, does fuel top ups for a clinically vulnerable lady and visits a retired gentleman who is shielding, 3 times a week to check on his well-being and collect any items he needs. Maurice inspires me and so many others with his amazing acts of kindness.”

St James’s CHILDREN: Aimee, Calum(1), Callum(2), Callum(3), Connor, Duncan, Heather, Isaac, Jack, Katie, Liam, Lily, Louie, Louis, Phoebe, Poppy, Ruby and Zac.

Ayr, Scotland

Nominated by Barbara Suchanek-Seitz, Newton and Heathfield Community Council

“The children of St James are the Junior Church of St James Parish Church in North Ayr. They are between three and 13 years old. The children of St James in North Ayr have made and sent cards to cheer up care home residents, NHS staff and people who were isolated in lockdown. They have also collected toys for the charity children first under difficult lockdown circumstances and made videos to entertain people in their community. Well done, everybody, you should be proud of yourselves.”

Hazel Faddes

Crewe, Cheshire, England

Nominated by Mark Gleave, Healthbox CIC

“Hazel has supported vulnerable people in her community for years and during lockdown has stepped up her efforts further. She is known by local residents as being kind and trustworthy and whenever people need it most, Hazel always seems able to help.”

Sarah Bullimore

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England

Nominated by Gareth Williams, Buckinghamshire Council

“While much of the national focus remains on the numbers of patients admitted to hospital during the current pandemic Sarah, an Assistant Social Worker from Buckinghamshire Council based at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, works tremendously hard to make sure those more vulnerable people can leave hospital with the right type of care to match their needs. Sarah’s natural characteristics of listening to people, working out solutions and problem solving means she builds trust and confidence with vulnerable clients quickly and effectively.”

Janette Aldous

Edinburgh, Scotland

Nominated by Anna Baran, Granton Goes Greener / Granton Parish Church

“Janette has been a Super Hero in our swap shop (Granton Goes Greener project), by helping to organise and go through tonnes of donated clothes, books and toys. She had been always very patient and understanding, prioritising and always keeping in mind anyone in need.”

Dean McManus

Wigan, Greater Manchester, England

Nominated by Dean McManus, Wigan Armed Forces HQ

“Dean has worked selflessly and tirelessly to support the Armed Forces Community in Wigan Borough. After suffering his own battles with mental health he has completely turned his life around and found passion and purpose supporting other Veterans and their families to access better life chances.”

Andrew Bullen

Makerfield, Greater Manchester

Nominated by Beth Hughes, B.I.G (Be Involved Group)

“Andrew has run the local foodbank for nine years. He is dedicated to making sure that people who live alone and also families have enough to eat. He has built up successful links in the community who willingly donate. The donations make up the food parcels which are picked up or delivered from a small cabin he bought and located on the parish hall car park. Andrew is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that no-one goes hungry, babies have nappies and household essentials are shared out. The recent pandemic brought an increase in demand. Andrew organised additional volunteers to willingly meet the challenge. At Christmas Andrew distributes toys and extra goodies so that everyone is well fed and feels special.”

Alison Blayney

Bangor, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Lynne Bloomfield and Kirsty Menagh, Kilcooley Women’s Centre

“Alison has been supporting women and families within the Ards & North Down Area for over 25 years. Managing the women’s centre and leading her team to success time and time again, she has taken services in the community for women to a completely new level. These services include low cost childcare to allow women to complete various forms of training and development, the opportunity to obtain GCSEs and other qualifications in the right time and place, ongoing, continuous support for wellbeing and mental health through the provision of soft skill classes, 1:1 mentoring, food support, welfare support packs and much more. Alison is setting the bar when it comes to community support for women, she is a great leader, leading by example with a true desire to help anyone in need.”

Isaac Kerr

Coylton, South Ayrshire, Scotland

Nominated by Jen McMillan, Coylton Community Council

“Isaac worked hard to push to get the goal posts put back into the park that had been taken away years ago. As a result, lots of kids have been able to go out and have a kick about with their friends, which is essential for mental health during this difficult lockdown.”

Theodore McKenna

Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire

Nominated by Rachel Harker, St Gabriel’s Primary School

“Theo took on the challenge to pick up 100 pieces of litter in his community and he did an amazing job! By doing this he has helped his local community and inspired many others to do the same! Well done Theo! We are so proud of him, he is very kind, caring and considerate and has put his community first.

Kindness is free, sprinkle it everywhere!”

Ailish Teague

Loughinisland, Downpatrick, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Helene McGivern, Life Change Changes Lives

“Ailish is a shining light to so many people through her compassion and dedication to helping and supporting those with mental health and addiction. Ailish Teague with her husband Manus founded Life Change Changes Lives (LCCL) a registered charity that provides support to those in the community with mental ill health and/or addiction. Ailish is the Project Manager who also provides mentoring to all the participants.”

Michelle Kelly

Birmingham, England

Nominated by Razia Hadait, Himaya Haven CICI

“Michelle is an energic woman who does all she can to support our community both on the frontlines and by sharing, supporting and collaborating with other organisations such as Himaya Haven CIC. She does not let challenges stop her, but dives in with determination, energy and a smile. Her advocacy of mental health and wellbeing support is layered into much of what she does and her organisation work diligently to support those who can be disenfranchised and isolated in society.”

Patrick Buchanan

Strangford, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Sean Wallace, PIPS Downpatrick

“Belfast Pat as he’s known has worked selflessly along side the wonderful people involved in pips Downpatrick ( Josephine, Brenda n padraig). He has raised thousands of pounds for the mental health charity n suicide prevention. Hundreds of lives have been saved through everyone’s hard dedication with no personal gain. His last 2 collective events helped raise £17,000 for a very important n needful organisation.

If I can help save just one life I will be thankful.”

Rob Aspinall

Standish, England

Nominated by Caroline Tomlinson, My Life

Rob has worked tirelessly as a volunteer for the charity My Life, which connects people with their communities and works with people of all ages and abilities who need support to live a good life, including those with disabilities, ill health and age-related problems.

Sue Gregory

Pitstone, Buckinghamshire, England

Gareth Williams, Buckinghamshire Council

“Sue embodies the very spirit of being a good neighbour and the lockdown has only strengthened her efforts to support her local community. Sue already had a list of people she would regularly shop for, but went out of her way to support as many others as she could during the lockdown. She would shop for them, take them to appointments, share produce from her own allotment and check in on the elderly and lonely. She even arranged a new fence panel for a neighbour’s garden when they couldn’t get to the shops!”

Anthony Hughes

Nominated by Terence Daly, Good Deeds Trust Dementia Care Scheme

Atherton, Greater Manchester, England

“Charismatic, Caring, Committed, Enthusiastic, Endearing, Sympathetic, Workaholic…. I am nominating Anthony Hughes for a community award because of his tremendous, unselfish, caring and unstinting work during the Pandemic years of 2020 & 2021.”

Rae McNairney

Falkirk, Scotland

Nominated by Margaret Kilpatrick, Stenhousemuir Football Club

“Rae is a caring lady who volunteered to help with our Community Help Initiative helping hundreds of vulnerable people. Our Community Help Initiative started in March 2020 to help vulnerable persons who have no family and were isolated during lockdown. Rae has been vital in helping hundreds of people with shopping, collecting prescriptions and delivering meals twice a week. A befriending service was started with Rae’s help so that vulnerable people had someone to talk to and they did not feel alone. We have over 100 volunteers and Rae organised the volunteers to persons requiring help, building a friendly relationship.”

David Stanley

Leigh On Sea, Southend, Essex, England

Nominated by Jacqueline Camacho, Parent Carer

“David has been very pro-active in staying in touch with his students during the Covid 19 Lockdowns. He has presented Facebook Live sessions, Zoom meetings, and even doorstep visits with his Accordian! My son Daniel had the happiest time when it was his turn for a visit, and it really cheered him up at a time when he was struggling with anxiety at not being able to attend his beloved Music Man Project sessions. I am just one very grateful parent; he visited many other students to make their day as well over all the Lockdown periods of the last year. He has really gone the extra mile, as he always does for his musicians, and in so many inventive ways. It has been delightful to see the many happy faces of the students as they see David Stanley, The Music Man at their door.”

Gillian Campbell

Strangford, County Down, Northern Ireland

Nominated by John Flanagan, The Strangford Residents’ Association

“Gillian is a positive force for our Strangford community. Under her guidance and encouragement, Strangford Residents’ Association has brought our community closer together through a series of events and initiatives. During the Covid Crisis, she initiated a programme of support, particularly for the Covid-vulnerable members in our community, in collaboration with other community support agencies. In the midst of all this Gillian looks forward to better days by establishing a new Community Hub in Strangford Castle. She is also driving fresh infrastructural and societal improvement projects to the benefit of our entire Community. Without her personal commitment and energy, little of this would happen.”

Petr Killen

Charlemont, Armagh, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Grainne O’Neill, Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council

“Petr’s passion for keeping the community clean is inspiring. His innovative thinking and approach to litter picking is amazing, Petr’s efforts are to be commended! Well done & thank you for your hard work.”

Denis Conn

Saintfield, County Down, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Vivien Lovell, Saintfield Development Association

“Denis is an absolute gentleman with a heart of pure gold. He is unassuming and kind, with a genuine interest in the community and those who live in it.”

Janice McGeough

Newry, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Stella Maguire, The Larder food bank

“Janice is currently on furlough and to keep busy she has been helping out 5 to 6 days a week in the Larder food bank. Her family are grown up and she is more than happy to devote her time to the Larder and Newry helping the homeless.”

Martin Davison

Belfast , Northern Ireland

Nominated by Sarah Bowden, TREE NI

“Martin is a motivated, energetic caring young man who is determine to achieve his goals and better himself through further education and training. Martin is enthusiastic and eager to help out and go the extra mile, especially on projects and initiatives relating to his community. Martin realises the importance of giving back to his community and is hopeful that his willingness to help sets a good example to his peers and the younger generation.”

Lisa Mulholland

Salisbury, Wiltshire

Nominated by Nikki Savage, ENCIRCLES Trustee

“Lisa has been baking for the community, her lucky neighbours and also supporting many charities for many years. Lisa started volunteering for ENCIRCLES in 2018, sharing her amazing talent for baking by providing puddings every Sunday of the year for the 60-70 homeless, vulnerable and lonely people in our community who attended the ENCIRCLES community lunch. Since the beginning of lockdown we have had to change our Sunday lunch to a takeaway service and Lisa has provided a selection of delicious cakes every week to accompany the meal and go in the supper bags that we also provide. These sweet treats are really appreciated by our homeless friends. We are proud to nominate Lisa as a Community Hero for her outstanding commitment to bring joy through her baking every week of the year, particularly during the pandemic when her working life has been very challenging.”

Mike Collier

High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Nominated by Jenny Plummer, High Wycombe Mutual Aid

“Mike has been a solid part of High Wycombe Mutual Aid since it’s inception in March last year. He has been a central figure helping us to match our 200 volunteers with someone local to them who needs support with Shopping, prescription collecting and friendly phone calls. On top of regularly being on shift to respond to calls fro help he has also taken on 10 people that he is supporting. He also helped us to deliver 200 presents to isolated people at Christmas time. He always goes above and beyond and is a huge support to his community and to us as a team.”

Byron Davis

Podsmead and Gloucester, Gloucestershire

Nominated by Caroline Morse and Carole Taylor, residents of Gloucester, David Stephens, Gloucester Conservatives, County Cllr Miller, and Police and Chris Nelson, Crime Commissioner Candidate for Gloucestershire

“During the Covid 19 lockdown Byron Davis went above and beyond for the residents of Podsmead but Byron always works hard for the area none stop. Byron went around Podsmead litter picking paid for lealfets himself to be printed and provided his number on them for residents to contact him. Byron also set up a food distribution up in Podsmead that gives food out to the most vulnerable in Podsmead. Byron is very hardworking when it comes to prioritising road safety for residents and is lobbying for a zebra crossing at a dangerous junction in Podsmead. Byron also put out art packs for families and helped raised £500 towards the windrush funday in Podsmead. He has helped people collect their prescriptions at Christmas time Byron also went above and beyond delivering Christmas hampers to residents.”

Linda Owens

Downpatrick, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Shirley Lennon, Fountain Foodbank 

“Linda is so cheerful and helpful even during the pressures of a pandemic. She works so hard to help all people from a range of backgrounds in our local community. Her generosity and enthusiasm is infectious.”

Debbie Williams

Dawlish, Devon

Nominated by Helping Dawlish and the Mayor of Dawlish Town Council Cllr Alison Foden

Debbie has been volunteering with several organisations in Helping Dawlish since the pandemic started  – Assist Teignbridge, Roots Community Enhancement and others, as well as her volunteering for Recovery Devon and doing suicide prevention training after a long career in the fire service. She has also helped out with some admin for a local vaccination centre at Christmas. Debbie continues to be called upon and we know she often does things at very short notice for Dawlish people.

Gold Davies

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Rory Neeson, Belfast And Lisburn Community Project

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.

All his happiness is to help the vulnerable people.

Jonathan Childs

Norwich, Norfolk

Nominated by Marina Kim, the UK Community Network

“Jonathan is a true community hero. He was in charge of the UK Community Network group in Norfolk during the first wave of the pandemic and is now “food-raising” to help the most vulnerable. Being deaf might have discouraged some people from taking an active community role but Jonathan is not the one to give up. He is an inspiration.”

Kimberley Scott & George Jabbour

Darlington, County Durham

Nominated by Cllr Pauline Culley, Darlington Borough Council

At the start of the pandemic, Kimberley and George brought our community together by founding Darlington Support to ensure that vulnerable residents in our town received their food and medication without having to leave their homes and risk catching the virus. Their initiative has grown to become a registered charity, offering new services to more people and supporting dozens of other organisations and good causes, including more recently, volunteers to help with the vaccine rollout. It would be fabulous if Kimberley and George were recognised as brilliant community heroes.”

Tracy Matthews

United Kingdom / online support

Nominated by Chrysti Jo Madsen and Melanie Roberts Maier, South Africans in the UK

“Tracy and her team has encouraged and uplifted us all in the lockdown and played just a major roll assisting people not only in the UK but in all parts of the world with valuable information and guidelines in this tiring time. They made us laugh with funny incidences but didn’t leave a stone unturned when help was needed. Three cheers for Tracy and her group!”

Karola Formella

Brighton, East Sussex

Nominated by Lucy Dance, Sustrans

“Karola is an excellent bike mechanic and has given considerable hours of her time to support Sustrans work in the city by fixing bikes and being a really positive female role model to girls and women. She is committed, hardworking and passionate about promoting bikes to vulnerable groups and goes over and beyond the role of a volunteer.”

Dean Burne and Sean Sloan

United Kingdom / online support

Nominated by Chrysti Jo Madsen and Melanie Roberts Maier, South Africans in the UK

“Dean and Sean has encouraged and uplifted us all in the lockdown and played just a major roll assisting people not only in the UK but in all parts of the world with valuable information and guidelines in this tiring time. They made us laugh with funny incidences but didn’t leave a stone unturned when help was needed. This group is a continual support. Helpful, caring, funny, helpful and a real sense of community.”

Dominic Breen

Downpatrick, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Shirley Lennon, Fountain Foodbank

“Dominic has worked so hard to keep Fountain Foodbank going during the pandemic. He is so dedicated to helping others and always carries out his tasks cheerfully and with care for others. He is inspirational and his faith shines out from all he does. Along with his wife Kathleen, he has packed food parcels, sorted food, stacked shelves, moved crates, ordered food, taken phone calls, delivered parcels, emptied rubbish, prayed and done all sorts of jobs to make the foodbank run smoothly. The people in and around Downpatrick are grateful.”

Kelly Skitterall

Tyldesley, Gt. Manchester, England

Nominated by Michael Hack, Astley & Tyldesley Cycling Club

“Kelly is a tireless, busy and willing volunteer for the Astley & Tyldesley Cycling Club, despite working full time and having family commitments. She is always cheerful, diligent, proactive and extremely efficient in all her roles for the club.”

Michel Richer

Nominated by Karen Patterson, Rowallane and Slieve Croob Community Twinning Group

Ballynahinch, County Down, Northern Ireland

“Michel or Mike runs errands for “the old people” in his local area and he himself has just turned 80! He is an inspiration to us all as he spends so much time giving back and looking after the “older members of the community” – He himself has just turned 80 and celebrated this milestone birthday in lockdown. Every morning, Michel can be seen running errands for his elderly neighbours, even during lock down. In his free time, he helps out with light gardening activities for those less able and looks after garden around the British Legion Hall in Ballynahinch. He has always been involved in the Poppy Appeal collections and plays an active part in Remembrance Sunday Commemorations.”

Jennifer Cochrane

Bonnybridge Falkirk, Scotland

Nominated by David Grant, Councillor for Falkirk Council

“Jennifer is a backbone of the community. Jennifer set up Roots HHFS food Bank about two years ago to help people and families that were struggling to feed themselves. Since then with the help of volunteers Jennifer has managed to acquire premises to where people can go to pick up food parcels for themselves and their families, they also provide a delivery service thanks to the many volunteers. Jennifer works tirelessly to make sure families don’t go hungry. Thanks to Jennifer Roots have attained their charity status so as to help with funding etc. Jennifer has made such success and a very respected name that even the council are directing families to this food bank. I cant stress enough the amount of time and effort that she puts in to help others who are less fortunate than others.”

Rebecca Keane

Wigan, Manchester, England

Nominated by Linda Greenhalgh, Alan Greenhalgh and Kyle Probin, Newsprings ability lions football club

“Becki started a rugby and football club for children with special needs in 2017. The group has grown and grown over the years. Becki sorts all training sessions out, funding and sponsors, while looking after her own child with special needs.”

Adam Vause

Leigh, Gt. Manchester, England

Nominated by Michael Hack, Rotary Club of Astley

“Adam has been a tireless volunteer, in leading on vital local projects carried out by the Rotary Club of Astley, and liaising with other organisations, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Firstly, the project on providing PPE to local care homes staff and then latterly, in providing refurbished laptops for local school children.”

Maureen Holcroft

Wigan, England

Nominated by Natalie Murphy, Faith Boutique Ltd

“Founder of Daffodils Dreams, made a huge difference to the community of wigan and started and runsa charity which provides for underprivileged children and families in Wigan.”

David Wilson

Leigh, England

David Shallcross, Leigh Ornithological Society

“Davis is a champion of the natural world. David Wilson is a founder member of Leigh Ornithological Society and was recently given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. During the last 50 years, Dave has given much of his time to saving wildlife habitat for the benefit not only for animals but for the mental health and wellbeing of the community.”

Zobia Hadait

Birmingham, England

Nominated by Razia Hadait, Himaya Haven CIC

“Zobia has been part of Himaya Haven since the start and she continues to volunteer and dedicate her time to Himaya Haven, even through her studies, her commitment and dedication continued through the lockdowns, preparing Christmas Hampers for our vulnerable families and delivering through the pouring rain, that still didn’t stop her. This is why she is a community hero.”

Brian Piner

Tonbridge, Kent, England

Nominated by Peter Ruck, Rotary Club of Tonbridge

“Brian has been a staunch supporter of our local community for many years and given a task will throw his whole being into it. If a ‘helper’ was required he would be first in line. For the last couple of years, while maintaining his involvement with numerous Rotary community projects, including chairman of the Rotary Christmas Festival committee, Brian has continued to support local special school NEXUS, in South Tonbridge since the summer of 2018, even under challenging Covid conditions.”

Robert Green

Ayr, South Ayrshire, Scotland

Nominated by Samantha Brown, South Ayrshire Council

“Robert is a lovely man who gives his time, energy and skills to his local community of Lochside/ Ayr North and always with a positive can-do attitude. Robert has been an active community volunteer for many many years. He is involved with lots of community groups including Ayr North Community Council, South Ayrshire Community Transport, and Lochside Neighbourhood Group…”

Frances Carson

Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland

Nominated by Gordon Campbell, South Ayrshire Council

“Frances has gone above and beyond for her community during the past year. At the start of the pandemic Frances quickly established an emergency food parcel scheme including essential items such as toiletries, nappies and cleaning products. As time progressed and demand grew the Frances managed to secure funding to introduce food vouchers due to the food parcels not allowing choice of food/essential items individuals liked/needed and didn’t incorporate dietary requirements. Individuals within the community were grateful and appreciative to receive assistance that it led to a ‘pay it forward’ approach of them wishing to help others as they know how the experience of receiving help from Frances benefited them and wanted others to benefit in a similar way.”

Adekanmi Abayomi

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Abena Aduse-Poku, EMSONI – Ethnic Minority Sports Organisation Northern Ireland

“Adekanmi is a community sport enthusiast, football coach and a social justice advocate, using the medium of sport to integrate migrants within ethnic minority communities and to integrate migrants with the local communities to promote inter-cultural society in Northern Ireland. As an agent of change, he volunteers in the community – trying to lobby the government to reduce racial inequalities in sports. He sees “sport as the best platform for breaking social and cultural barriers, promoting inter-cultural dialogue and unifying people and communities.”

Laura MacKay & Fiona MacTaggart

Tarbert village, Scotland

Nominated by Anne Horn, SNP Councillor Kintyre and the Islands

“I would like to nominate Laura MacKay and Fiona MacTaggart who at the beginning of lockdown drew together volunteers in and around the village of Tarbert. They then ensured that older and vulnerable people were supported and looked after, with groceries, prescriptions, newspapers delivered. Seeing the volunteers at the door with hugs smiles and a friendly wave just lightened a very difficult time. Often there would be a little picture or suchlike drawn by some of the children in the village and it was a joy to then see the pictures in windows. We live in a fairly small village and Team Tarbert ensured that our needs were well met while supporting the local businesses.”

Wendy Nibloe

Girvan, Scotland

Nominated by Melanie Thomson, the NHS worker

“Watch out – Wendy’s about ..
Wendy [of Community Association] doesn’t keep great health wise and still suffers from long covid but this gem of a lady drives around town delivering much needed food parcels clothing toys and collects and delivers isolated people their prescriptions from chemist. I have been one of those due to isolation that Wendy helped even when she was in awful.pain from sores on her legs. Nobody goes without where needed as Wendy ensures help is given to anyone who needs. . She offers her help and donations with complete confidentiality.
Such a lovely lady who does not get the recognition she so much deserves.
Every little town or village needs a wendy.”

Barrie Cumberbirch

Wigan, Greater Manchester,. England

Nominated by Emma Shaw, The Brick

“Barrie is an outstanding volunteer and always goes the extra mile for everyone. It is an absolute pleasure to work alongside Barrie. He is extremely committed to his volunteer role and has never let anyone down. His positivity and enthusiasm shines through every day. Barrie truly is a community hero!”

Jez Mellor

Nantwich, Cheshire

Nominated by Mark Gleave, Healthbox CIC

“Jez offered his support to help people in Crewe who are vulnerable and/or shielding by either helping with the shopping or collecting medical supplies. Jez has gone above and beyond during lockdown by providing additional welfare checks and making the people he is supporting feel safe. On 2 occasions, Jez has been there to provide assistance to resident’s who’s health had deteriorated due to isolation. One lady recently lost her son to Covid and was confused. He realised that the lady looked unkempt and hungry so he went and bought her some food. She was so grateful for it as she had not eaten for days and after Jez explained it to her, she agreed to accept professional support.”

Mairead Cleary

Randalstown, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Louise Goodman, Family Caring Centre – Good Morning Antrim

“Mairead has been a Telephone Befriender with our Good Morning Antrim service for almost 11 years and is our longest standing Volunteer. Mairead is very committed to her role and provides telephone support to members of our community who are feeling isolated or vulnerable, due to physical or mental health issues on a regular weekly basis. It is also important to note that Mairead has continued to fulfil her role throughout the pandemic, by staying, safe, remaining at home and providing calls from her own home, Mairead is a very reliable Volunteer and fully engages with all events and fundraising activities above and beyond her telephone duties which very much highlights her genuine care for others, within her community.”

Patricia Powell

Macclesfield, Cheshire

Nominated by Lisa Moss, Cheshire East Council

“This wonderful lady, is registered blind and has a lovely guide dog. She is caring and giving. She has donated to help local families who are struggling to pay for food and her donation goes to a local group called Cre8 who run a food pantry. Her donation enables a number of families to benefit, and it really makes a huge difference. She truly has a heart of gold. She misses having a coffee and chat in town, and looks forward to when the shops in town open once again. Her small donation, actually has a big impact to families. She has a heart of gold!”

Keyaan Hameed

Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire, England

Nominated by Gareth Williams, Buckinghamshire Council

“Teenager Keyaan, who is a young actor, is already well known in his local community for his enterprising work helping the homeless, distributing soup and food to those on the streets. While distributing soup to the homeless, and using his great initiative, he uses empty soup cans to make candles which he would then sell to fund more soup, setting up the brand SOUP-a-CANdle. Purchasers can buy a candle knowing that each purchase would feed someone in need.”

Caroline Hilton

Wigan, England

Joann Hitchen, Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide

“Caroline is a true Community Hero.  Caroline is an amazing volunteer for PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide.  Caroline regularly attends community events and has conversations with people about suicide which helps to smash the stigma.  These conversations can be life-saving.  During lockdown Caroline has continued to support the charity by sharing PAPYRUS messages on her own social media platforms.”

Somia Bibi

Birmingham, England

Nominated by Razia Hadait, Himaya Haven CIC

“Somia joined Himaya Haven as a volunteer and has been such an assets to Himaya Haven, her dedication and support to our clients has been immense. Constantly responding to their needs throughout the lockdown and worked tirelessly preparing and delivery our Christmas Hampers even through the pouring rain. She is a definitely a Community Hero!”

Lynn Bibby

Hindley, Wigan, Greater Manchester

Nominated by Gemma Bannister, Homeless Support Project

“They have worked tirelessly for 7 years without an holiday, and go out of their way to help anyone in the community that needs support 24/7. Lynn had worked as a volunteer for a charity and decided that she needed to do more and decided to form her own charity in 2016. She has worked without taking any time off since the charity was formed and works sometimes 7 days a week, answering phone calls and emails, and helping to get people into accommodation, or some other assistance when needed.”

Razia Hadait

Birmingham, England

Nominated by Somia Bibi, Himaya Haven CIC

“Razia is dedicated, energetic and welcoming. Giving all her energy when it comes to the work and support she provides the community. Never shying away from challenges and new things, she is always ready to give a helping hand, advocate for those who struggle to be heard and question injustices. A community activist for over 20 years her drive and passion have not dimmed and she is always ready to help support those who are just beginning in their endeavours to work and support the community.”

Claire Blundell-Jones

Southwark, London

Nominated by Alastair Smith-Agbaje, Lambeth and Southwark Mind

“Claire is always willing to do 200% for the community. A professional and accomplished videographer who has volunteered for Lambeth & Southwark Mind in numerous roles supporting our charity with peer support groups, office administration projects, filming projects and so much more. Claire has a big heart for her local community, recently volunteered and funded by herself, made a short film documentary on the effects of CV19 on the older generation within her community. This documentary successfully received large views on YouTube due to the high standard and great use of community people sharing.”

Manus Teague

Loughinisland, Downpatrick, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Helene McGivern, Life Change Changes Lives

“Mental ill health and addiction is a very serious issue in today’s community. The current restrictions resulting from Covid-19 has has resulted in greater difficulties, but Manus has continued to support and provide a lifeline – literally – to the most vulnerable in our community. That really is being a Community Hero.”

Laura Downey

Nominated by Ailish Teague, Life Change Changes Life

Drumaness, County Down, Northern Ireland

“Laura Downey has been a volunteer with Life Change Changes Lives for over 3 years and helps to support participants attending our projects who are affected by mental ill health and/or addiction. During Lockdown we have continued to work remotely maintaining contact with our participants and issuing kits and projects to keep them motivated. Laura continued to support many participants by telephoning them regularly for a chat which brightened up their day. In February 2021, Laura was motivated to raise funds for our charity and undertook a 28 day cold water challenge submerging herself in freezing cold water of Drumaness Weir for 5 minutes and raised over £4000 on a just giving page for our charity. This was an incredible achievement given that Laura has a Pacemaker and Stoma fitted due to Marfan’s Syndrome and Ulcerative Colitis respectively. She is an inspiration to all our participants on how to keep going even when life throws challenges at you, she has never let her conditions define or restrict her and our admiration for her focus and determination is beyond words. If only we had a few more Laura’s, the world would be a richer place.”

Gillian Brock

Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland

Nominated by Sandra McRitchie, resident of Comrie

“Gill is a mobile hairdresser who goes above and beyond that role for her clients, she is Chair of the Community Council fighting hard for our community needs, set up Strathearn Cares a collaboration with the local food bank and help with the local village Facebook page. She is always on the go whether it is from re-homing pets, searching for missing pets or sitting up at night when an alert has gone out for the village ensuring all are safe before getting to bed herself.”

Arthur Halligey

Comber, Northern Ireland

Raquel Rodrigues Keenan, Volunteer Now

“Arthur is tirelessly giving of himself to others and genuinely believes in playing is part in society by volunteering his skills and making things happen. He’s a doer and one of the most caring people I know. His quiet and gentle approach means he often shies away from the spotlight and might not know the positive impact and difference he is making everyday.”

Clint Carlson

Belfast, Northern Ireland / online support

Nominated by Colette Moore, Belfast resident

“Clint has provided us with online parties almost every Saturday evening right through the lockdown.
With his enthusiasm and joyful personality he has encouraged us to sing along and toast to life. This meant that we had lockdown parties to look forward to and for a couple of hours every week we could forget our depressing circumstances and just have a sense of belonging, even though we couldn’t touch one another or get a hug. Because this was online Clint didn’t only touch and influenced people in the UK in this joyful manner but literally whoever tuned in worldwide.”

Sue Slater

Salisbury, Wiltshire

Nominated by Nikki Savage, ENCIRCLES Trustee

“Sue has been volunteering at the community meal every Sunday for almost two years. Since the first lockdown, this has had to change to a takeaway service of a hot lunch and a supper bag.  Sue makes all the sandwiches and bags up the cakes to put in the supper bags, always adding extra sweet surprises that she purchases every week. She then cleans down the whole hall and kitchen when the cooks have finished and are out delivering the food. We are proud to nominate Sue as a Community Hero for her unwavering commitment to help provide food to those in need every week and for rising to the challenge of doing that in a different way during the pandemic – and always with a smile!”

Diane McNaught

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Andrew Irvine, East Belfast Mission

“While our Cafe has been closed under COVID-19 Local Restrictions, Diane has continued to lead a small team to deliver some 30 hot meals everyday to people alone and vulnerable in the East Belfast Community. While Diane and her team, along with others on the front line, about their own safety and the safety of their families, Diane has worked relentlessly and led with compassion since February 2020 to ensure those hot meals go out everyday. Diane has a huge heart for other people and always leads by example and with humour. What an example!”

Jahswill Emmanuel

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Latif Gumah, Multi-Ethnic Sports & Cultures NI

“Never a more deserving role model and volunteer within our BAME communities he is truly inspirational always there when you need support and guidance along with having a family of his own he will always go above and beyond for others and we the members of the BAME, Ethnic minority and Refugees/ Asylum Seekers communities are eternally grateful.”

Adrian Linington

Salisbury, Wiltshire

Nominated by Nikki Savage, ENCIRCLES Trustee

“Adrian is a 69 year old Army Veteran who became a volunteer for ENCIRCLES in July 2020. Initially, he was going to collect end of day food from Pret 2 days a week to help out. Within a week, Adrian took on collecting from both Pret and Greggs 3-4 days per week; not only collecting the food, but bagging it all up and delivering it to the food distribution point at 7pm each evening.  We are proud to nominate Adrian as a Community Hero for his can-do attitude and for always being the first to offer to stand in and help out whenever needed. No fuss, no hassle – he just gets on with it!”

Kim Ireland

Southampton, Hampshire

Nominated by Josh Allen, Sustrans

“Kim is is an amazing community champion who is great at coming up with big new ideas to support the community as well as connecting individuals together in the community to mutually support each other.

During school holidays she helped lead activity trails for 100s of people in the woods, spending all day signing people in and out, despite the cold and rain. She also has developed her ‘ditch the stabilisers’ coaching skills having supported all of our sessions throughout the summer gaining confidence throughout and really helping parents work out how to help their kids get riding.”

Sinead Mc Kinley

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Elaine Burns, Ardoyne Association

“Co-ordinator of North Belfast Advice Partnership, however over this last year she has served the city 7 days a week co ordinating COVID19 community response meeting essential food & fuel needs through our food bank, set up essential shoo service, hot meals delivered to elderly & those sheilding she has managed to deliver a range of programmes to address isolation & lonliness helping over 10000 people during COVID. The biggest acheivement was her ability to co ordinate our citys biggest xmas toy & hamper appeal. She brought 50 organisation together who collectively worked together from SSE arena to supported 3500 families all impacted job loss, furlough, families home schooling struggling with increased utility costs, food & fuel poverty.”

Samantha Hudson

Derby, Derbyshire

Nominated by Adam Slater, Derby West Indian Community Association

As any of her dance troupe will attest. Samantha Hudson has been a great teacher, motivator and friend to many young people over the years. Samantha has spent lots of her time volunteering  on a number of refugee and homeless projects in Derby to go alongside the dance teaching work and is always seen helping where she can at the Derby West Indian Association, a charity that supports the black community in Derby. After decades of helping others, it’s time she gets the recognition she deserves!

Jacqueline Taylor

Newry, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Stella Maguire, The Larder food bank

“Jacque is full of energy and welcomes the service users in the Larder. She volunteers 2 to 3 days a week and is a great asset to the team. Jacque makes herself available to help in the Larder and with sorting donations left for Newry helping the homeless. She can identify those in need and goes the extra mile to help.”

Gemma Roe

Atherton, Lancashire, England

Nominated by Sadie Little, Willow Project

“Gemma is one of our Mental Health Support Volunteers, and she is a wonderful member of the Willow Project team! Gemma is definitely a Community Hero. During lockdown, Gemma has volunteered her time on Sunday evenings to help deliver baking ingredients for each one of our support group members. She has helped pack and deliver the ingredients to the homes of the young people, and helped run the Zoom Support Group sessions every Monday. Willow Project couldn’t have done it without her.”

Alisha Marsden

Wigan, Greater Manchester, England

Nominated by Sadie Little, Willow Project

“Alisha is one of our Mental Health Support Volunteers and she is a fantastic member of the Willow Project team! During lockdown, Alisha has played an integral part in the delivery of baking ingredients for each one of our support group members. She helped pack and deliver the ingredients to the homes of the young people on Sunday evenings, and helped run the Zoom Support Group sessions every Monday. Willow Project couldn’t have done it without her. She is most definitely a Community Hero.”

Michael O’Hare

Newry, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Stella Maguire, Newry Helping the Homeless

“Michael is always on hand to offer his support and advise to Newry helping the homeless. He is always available to deliver collect and help with any maintenence we may need. Michael has great knowledge of the local area due to being a taxi driver for many years in the newry and the surrounding area. Newry helping the homeless and the Larder owes Michael a great gratitude for all his contributions.”

Rosie Saoir

Newry, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Stella Maguire, The Larder food bank

“Rosie has made herself available all through the COVID pandemic. She volunteers full time in the Larder Food Bank in Newry and supports Newry helping the homeless. Rosie volunteers in the larder for approximately 7 hours a day Monday to Friday dealing with regular service users and identifying their needs and requirements. She organises food clothes and shelter for those most in need. Rosie has a great rapport with the service users which puts them at ease. She is a great asset.”

Natasha Barley

Hull, UK

Nominated by Rosanna James, Hull and East Yorkshire Children’s University

“Natasha is the Director of a small charity that works with disadvantaged children in East Yorkshire. She realised that many children in the area were unable to access learning from home as they didn’t have a suitable device or a Wifi connection. Natasha quickly created the “Stop the Digital Divide” campaign and called upon the local community to donate funds to buy devices, or to donate second had laptops and tablets. In a space of just 6 weeks Natasha gained over £100,000 of funding and arranged the delivery of over 800 devices to local children.

Natasha passionately believes that every child deserves the chance to succeed. By giving these children access to learning whilst at home she has ensured that they don’t fall behind.”

Carla & Laik Ecola

London

Nominated by Jesse Ashman, The Outside Project

Carla and Laik have both volunteered countless hours setting up the project, fundraising from the ground up and at times even living on site to ensure the success of the homeless shelter. During the pandemic Laik has worked as both a director of the project as well as a cleaner in the shelter and Carla worked as a director and opened two new services – STAR refuge, a domestic violence refuge for LGBTIQ+ people and emergency COVID hotel outreach. This has been a lifeline for so many homeless LGBTIQ+ people who need safe spaces to stay where they can be both supported and celebrated.

Duncan Law

Brixton, London

Nominated by Simon Nash, GreenOil

“From helping found the Brixton Pound to Transition Town Brixton and working for Bio Fuel watch, Duncan Law is a true environmentalist of our time.”

Fred Kerley

 Potterne, Wiltshire

Nominated by Cllr Anna Cuthbert, Wiltshire Council

“I am nominating Fred Kerley, Chairman of Potterne Cricket Club. The Club does so much for our local community, raising money for local and National charities, supporting young players with their health and well-being, nurturing talent from overseas as well as in Devizes area. Throughout the pandemic Fred has supported the keyworkers in the village and raised thousands of pounds to be able to give each keyworker a £40 gift voucher. Fred visited almost all of them himself to thank them for their work!”

Carin Lord

High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Nominated by Jenny Plummer, High Wycombe Mutual Aid

“Carin has been part of High Wycombe mutual aid since its inception in March as part of our local community response to Covid. She has been volunteering as part of our matching team since the start, and supporting the organisation with their social media communications. In the matching Team she has been working to match people who need help such as shopping, prescription collection and friendly phone calls with one of our 200 volunteers. On top of this she has also taken on numerous people to support herself. She is a core member of our team and supports our volunteers and us as a team. Carin achieves all of this on top of home schooling and I don’t know how she does it!”

Teresa Young

High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Nominated by Jenny Plummer, High Wycombe Mutual Aid

“Teresa has been part of High Wycombe mutual aid since its inception in March as part of our local community response to Covid. She has been volunteering as part of our matching team since the start, working to match people who need help such as shopping, prescription collection and friendly phone calls with one of our 200 volunteers. On top of this she has also taken on numerous people to support. She is a core member of our team and supports our volunteers and us as a team. The photo is from Christmas where she was helping to deliver 200 presents to isolated locals. Her community spirit is inspiring.”

Bette Liddell

Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Angela Orr, Dramability Downpatrick

“Bette’s been serving the community for 30 years. She founded Dramablity [a mixed ability drama group, for people from 8 to 60+, especially those with disability] 30 years ago, writing scripts, directing and acting in the performances. She has empowered many young and not so young over the years and has the ability to bring the best out of everyone giving them confidence to learn lines/songs/ dances to perform in front of live theatre audiences. Her commitment over the 30 years has been constant. Throughout lockdown she continued to set challenges and keep in contact with group members via zoom Facebook and email.”

Sara Liddell

Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland

Nominated by Sarah Gill, Dramability Downpatrick

“Sara is such an enthusiastic, inspirational & positive person! During the Covid crisis she continued to bring hope & brighten up the lives of all the members of our mixed ability drama group, by arranging a vast variety of art, craft, drama, dance & makaton challenges, competitions, scavenger hunts, summer activities and much more! She ensured to make these inclusive too all our members regardless of their age, disability/ability or talents. She produced many videos displaying these challenges which helped boost the confidence of the members & entertain many who follow our social media pages! She has kept our group together in spirit even when we have had to be physically far apart!”

Fiona Bain

Newton Park Ayr, Scotland

Nominated by Mark Dixon, Newton & Heathfield Community Council

“At the beginning of the first Pandemic lockdown Fiona, in conjunction with representatives from other areas in Ayr, set up the Newton park part of the organisation ‘Looking Out for Each Other Ayr’. She motivated, enthused and organised many local people to communicate with, identify needs and simply help many sheltering local individuals. Fiona managed to stay calm and organise despite many unknows and much insecurity amongst the local people.”

Chris Gay

Musselburgh, Scotland

Nominated by Fiona Nicklin, Musselburgh Sea Cadets

“Chris’s day job is an ambulance driver, but finds time to help others at a time of need. Chris has worked tirelessly throughout the closure of the Sea Cadet unit due to Covid19. He has ensured training has been completed by organising virtual training sessions on a weekly basis. He organised a virtual walk, to raise funds for the unit walking from Musselburgh to London and return raising just over £1000.00. At the beginning of the pandemic he organised hampers for NHS to help boost moral.”

Par Gustafsson

Bournemouth, England

Nominated by BodyPositiveDorset

“Samantha is a person that goes well and beyond her work. She got diagnosed with HIV 14 years ago today (19/03, Happy Birthday). After her personal struggle to come to terms with what this would mean for her and her family she became a HIV warrior, figher for their rights , support worker and now the manager for Body Positive Dorset (Dorset’s only HIV charity).”

Marina Kim

London, England

Nominated by Nabil Najjar and Simon Anglim, the UK Community Network

“S: None of us would be here were it not for Marina.  It was she who conceived the UK Community Network to begin with, set it up along with all the vital systems it needed to run, recruited us to do what we do and then guide us forward with that inimitable mix of energy and charm.  And in doing so, she has helped hundreds of vulnerable people across the country at this most difficult of times and in doing so has demonstrated true leadership and civic spirit. The Network is her creation and her testimonial.

N: I’ve worked with Marina and the UK Community Network since December, and I’ve seen first-hand the amazing work she’s been doing behind the scenes to support community groups and help the most vulnerable through the pandemic. It’s my pleasure to nominate Marina as a UK Community Hero.”

* Please note that big not-for-profit organisations can nominate up to 3 volunteers as our Community Heroes.

The nominations are now closed. We look forward to welcoming our Community Heroes at our online event at 7pm on the 23 March 2021 The details of the online event were sent by email to you (or a person who nominated you, if we do not have your contact details). If you did not receive your invitation please kindly get in touch with us on: ukcn@ukcommunitynetwork.com, and we will resend. We look forward to e-meeting you soon!