Barnsley Council is shining a spotlight on the unsung heroes who have gone above and beyond for their communities in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Over 4,000 businesses, community groups, voluntary groups, key workers and residents were nominated this year for the one-of-a-kind Barnsley Spirit Mayor’s Award.
Cllr Caroline Makinson, Mayor of Barnsley, said: "We’ve seen some incredible community spirit throughout these difficult times, and it’s an honour to be able to celebrate and recognise those who’ve shown true dedication in helping to keep our borough moving.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who was nominated, and to all those who submitted a nomination. We received a staggering number of submissions for the awards, which just goes to show the amazing work that’s been happening across the borough this year.”
Take a look at some of the fantastic nominations submitted for the awards below:
Michelle Wilkinson organised the production and delivery of food parcels to every family at All Saints Academy. Michelle went door to door to ensure they had a food parcel as many were without income. She also went the extra mile to ensure the most vulnerable families could access necessary and vital support.
Lucy Allen was praised for her involvement as a Community Responder Volunteer. Lucy supported an elderly lady who, after shielding for over three months, was feeling socially isolated. Lucy arranged support for the lady, as well as arranging for crafting material to be delivered to her house along with some pictures drawn by children.
Sheryll Dixon is the founder of Penistone Knitting Group and has made and delivered over 30,000 face mask extenders to frontline nurses and care home staff across the country. The extenders have made a huge difference, and the knitting has helped to improve the mental health and wellbeing of many isolated elderly people.
While their shop was closed, Natalie and Matthew from H.E. Payne & Sons Ltd set up a group to organise food deliveries for those who were shielding. With the help of local volunteers, they delivered food to people who were unable to leave their homes. They’ve also raised donations to support people in the community who have lost their jobs and fell on hard times.
The Antibody Testing team at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust received their nominations for working extra hours on weekends to facilitate antibody testing. This included testing pharmacists, dentists, and care agency staff. This fantastic work was only made possible thanks to the staff volunteering their free time to provide this vital service.
Oakwell Rise Primary Academy supported families who were struggling with isolation, changing circumstances and needing support with food and uniform. The academy delivered Foodshare across the community to reduce food wastage and hosted a Swap Shop for families to bring in clothes that their children had outgrown for families who were unable to afford new ones.
The team at Thornhill House has maintained a COVID-19 free environment with no positive cases of the virus among staff and residents. They’ve also raised money for several local charities, including Barnsley Hospice. The staff morale has been high throughout the pandemic and they’ve kept residents happy and stimulated with their new garden while visitation has been cancelled.
All were praised for the outstanding contributions they have made to the borough with a medal, along with a letter awarded from the Mayor of Barnsley.
There’s more information about the awards on the Barnsley Spirit Awards webpage.