Heroes come in all forms and sometimes it is the small things people do which make a huge difference to those around them.
We have had a great response to Charnwood Community Heroes in 2022. Here is our Roll of Honour in which we have listed all of our nominations and a brief description of some of the things they do which have led to their nomination.
The headline sponsor for Charnwood Community Heroes 2022 is Morningside Pharmaceuticals.
Beyond the Call of Duty (sponsored by Morningside Pharmaceuticals)
Caren was appointed Housekeeper at Holloway House, Quorn’s Abbeyfield House into long before the first lockdown and rose to the challenge of caring for elderly residents aged between 76-105 during the pandemic.
Caren rose to the challenge, not only looking after their physical needs but also their wellbeing.
Not a single case of Covid was reported in those first two years due to Caren’s and the other staff’s vigilance.
Gemma's role is to develop the Charnwood Food Poverty Group - a collection of 30 organisations in which The Bridge is the strategic lead - by looking for new directions and avenues of support, to ensure food provisions are accessible to those in need. She has gone above and beyond the call of duty to enable members of our community who are struggling are able to feed both themselves and their families, through new and innovative ways of community outreach and support.
On-going support for clients is now available through the Your Store provision, which Gemma has developed and is continuing to improve. This is improving the lives of many people across Charnwood in the most challenging of times.
As Tesco Extra Community Champion and president of the local Lions Club, Mike will always go the extra mile to help local charities and community projects. ‘Every little helps’ is Tesco's and Mike's motto when it comes to finding funds, though the results are always far from little. He gives loads of his time freely and without question and puts enormous energy into whatever project he undertakes. Nothing is too much trouble. Just ask and he’s there, with a smile a mile wide, a barrow-load of ideas and eager to do more.
Lorna is the Hub Co-ordinator at the Marios Tinenti Centre (Bell Foundry estate) and the Altogether Place (Warwick Way estate). She gives so much of herself to helping others that I wanted to nominate her to say thank you for all her hard work. She makes a real difference in people’s lives.
She has helped people with PIP applications, accessing the health services they need and so much more. Most importantly she is a trusted friendly ear that the community can turn to when they need help and aren’t sure where to turn. As Lorna herself says if she can’t help, she will always know someone else who can.
Rachel works for The Bridge East Midlands, but she goes well beyond her job description. She is always carrying a flag for those in need of extra help. She collected food parcels for people, promotes all initiatives available and raises awareness about a number of different issues. Rachel is also a great role model and always has a smile.
Brilliant Board/Trustee Member
Richard Jayes has been inspirational during the last four years as a trustee with the Baldwin Charitable Trust. Richard has not only delivered the complete role asked of him, but also accepted many additional tasks. His most impressive work has involved the designing and managing the completion of a new narrowboat, ‘Halseyon Days’. Richard has led the 'new boat team' and applied himself to the difficult task of managing the boatbuilder to deliver a superb new addition to our fleet.
Geetha is a trustee of several organisations including Loughborough United Reformed Church, Glebe House and Equality Action. When lockdown meant the church had to close, Geetha suggested meeting on Zoom, setting up the whole system and showing everyone how to use it. She also led services herself and helped church members worship together over a very difficult period.
When we were allowed to use the building again, Geetha set up Zoom in the church so those who were unable to come, helped keep the Book Club going, and when we were finally able to relax a little she helped organise social events.
Mr Bava has been doing community work since he was very young. A retired former councillor, Mr Bava has maintained his community work after his retirement through service to Loughborough College, the Shree Ram Krishna Centre, Loughborough Council of Faiths, and more. A great role model for the community.
Business Community Action (sponsored by 1284)
Jo Sanders and Steph Smith, Morrisons Community Champions
What Jo and Steph and the team at Morrisons in Loughborough do to support and serve the local community is incredible. They have made an enormous difference to countless local charities and organisations. They fundraise on a regular basis, head up food donation drives for food banks, give out countless hampers and donations each month, innovate community initiatives and actively take part in local community association groups. They have had a profound effect on Loughborough Lions Club too and have always strived to support them. They are fantastic servants of our town.
Sophie Bujdoso, B-BUDDIES
In 2016, at the age of 18, Sophie started as a sole trader running cycle training sessions for people at local leisure centres. This year, Sophie has developed the business B-BUDDIES into a not-for-profit community interest company now employing five local people to assist in delivering sessions for all ages and abilities across the borough in her quest to get more people of all ages cycling which benefits their health and wellbeing as well as the environment.
Mia McKenna, Creative Spaces
Mia and Creative Spaces make art fun and inspiring for both kids and adults from all walks of life and treats everyone with the same respect and individuality that each person deserves. She runs children's art classes to inspire the person’s love of creativity and adult classes to do the same. She works tirelessly to give back and keep prices low to make sure more people can benefit.
Good Neighbour (sponsored by Serco)
Helen is a great neighbour of the Arc Community Centre and volunteers her time and skills at the Little Stars’ baby and toddler group. Helen knows the value for young parents of having a well-organised, safe space for them to meet, while their children have fun playing with each other. Huge thanks to Helen for her help and support of the local parents, carers, babies and toddlers.
Kishor is a long-standing and highly motivated local volunteer with a drive and capacity to help and support others including his neighbours and local community members. Kishor’s commitment to the local community and tenacious approach can be rarely found in others.
He is always making himself available and offering his support to others. This includes getting the bins out for his neighbours, sweeping and tidying gardens, doing the shopping for the vulnerable and collecting prescription medication. He also gives people a lift to the doctors and takes them to visit relatives.
Kishore is a highly respected and trusted member of the local community; reliable, hardworking and is also always very friendly and approachable. Other than being a good neighbour, Kishore is involved with charity and fundraising work and people who know him feel very proud and appreciate his efforts and hard work.
Green Hero (sponsored by Serco)
Rob Toon is a key figure in the town of Syston, regularly supporting the community in conjunction with both his businesses, George Walker (Wood yard) and George Walker Tree Care. His Service to the community has been solid over many years and he has followed in the footsteps of his late parents who also gave generously to the people of Syston. Mr Toon has recently worked with the Town Council and completed a successful application with the Forestry Commission for 71 trees in two different green spaces in Syston.
Louise has always had green fingers, looking after her own garden allotments. But since Lockdown, she has been at the core of establishing a group of Community Growers at a local privately-owned green space, which was going to waste. Louise has brought together like-minded individuals and families who meet weekly to learn about permaculture, grow organically and share the food grown to help reduce food poverty. The get-togethers also help people make new friends and reduce loneliness in the process.
Mike is very dedicated and always finds a good and encouraging word for people and helps when they are faced with any problems or dilemmas. He is also very much a hands-on Green Hero who picks up litter on various sites across the town and helps groups whenever he can. Mike works hard to support the Loughborough in Bloom Community groups and the overall Bloom Project.
Nick and Emma Cope
Since Nick and Emma moved to their area they have taken it upon themselves to make it a better place to live. They organise the cutting of the local green, the planting of flower beds and four weeks ago they organised for an alleyway to be spruced up to make it safer for residents to use. They also organise a 100 club to pay for insurance for any residents helping with these tasks.
Inspiring Others (sponsored by Loughborough College)
Ruby is a selfless person who has a passion to empower young adults to thrive in education and in their communities. As well as being a PHD student at Loughborough University, Ruby has set up Life Beacon Charity which empowers and supports students and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups in the Loughborough community, both at the school and university level.
Michael is an unbelievable servant, innovator, leader and fundraising expert who supports local charities and organisations in our town on a daily basis. In the past, he created the Loughborough Charities Together movement, and he plays an important role in local Rotary projects. He is also a trustee at Fearon Hall, supports lots of community and charity events imaginable and is a phenomenal networker and community coordinator.
Annette works tirelessly for Barrow upon Soar, spending hours upon hours on a variety of charitable groups and causes. Snippers and Pickers keep the footpaths clear and weed and litter-free. She is the Good Neighbours scheme secretary, co-ordinating all the helping in a kind and caring way and leads the adopt Barrow railway station group and the Towpath group, that helps clear the canal.
With the rest of the maintenance team, Simon has shown an unswerving level of effort to support the Baldwin Trust. Many visits to the boats in freezing weather to check on their condition is an onerous task in the driving rain. On many occasions, he has turned out to “save the day” and attend the boats when needed and when no other volunteers were available. His considered and helpful approach to the many tasks given to him have been a clear example of the “perfect volunteer”.
Any client groups who engage with Simon are always grateful for his pleasant manner and happy, cheerful attitude when in his company. His kind persona comes shining through to inspire those around him.
Nayan has inspired so many people through his dedicated fundraising work. Following the death of a close friend through heart disease, Nayan organised a sponsored walk to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. He motivated around 75 people of all ages to take part and as a result, almost £7,000 was raised. This fundraising event has inspired so many people to get involved with charity work and after the event participants of the sponsored walk have registered with the British Heart Foundation to become volunteers.
Over the years Glennis has built up, with the help of a group of equally charitable volunteers, an extremely well-run community food bank. This involvement is not just a couple of days a week, people contact her on Facebook or on the food bank telephone number for emergency parcels, which she often delivers herself.
Ann Bullock continues to be the driving force behind the volunteer-led wellbeing walks at Gorse Covert. Ann began the walks at Gorse Covert with three others back in the winter of 2013. The walks have now been going for over eight years. Ann, supported by husband Jerry, has been organising the volunteers from day one.
Ann has sustained the Gorse Covert walks throughout the pandemic. The walks are now back to, and exceeding, the attendances of pre-pandemic with regular attendances of 90+, and over 100 on some weeks.
Hugh is the inspirational volunteer walk leader who founded and organises the weekly Loughborough Town Wellbeing Walk.
After undertaking a volunteer walk leader training course with the Active Charnwood team in 2017 Hugh set up what is now the weekly Loughborough Town walk a few months later. Hugh was the sole leader initially but has now encouraged and supported several volunteers to become walk leaders.
Jane is the driving force behind the Safe, Well, Happy group which supports people with learning disabilities.
Following her retirement from her role in speech and language therapy, Jane set up the group in a co-design project with Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust in 2017. The group aims to support people with learning disabilities with social interaction, physical activities, workshops on health and wellbeing, activities to build communication skills and opportunities to interact with the local community. Jane organises, promotes and runs the monthly group meetings and chairs the steering group meetings. Jane seeks and secures funding and support from local public and private organisations.
Craig from The Hut, Old Ashby Road is always getting young people and vulnerable people involved with various projects that he runs at The Hut which involve cooking sessions, discussion groups and various other projects. He is very community-driven and likes to help vulnerable, young people and the community where he lives and works. He is a great asset to Charnwood and is valued by many.
Jane is the co-founder and current organiser of the weekly volunteer-led Wellbeing Walk at Shepshed. Jane set up the walks with fellow volunteers Mal and Lesley in 2017. The three founder members did a fantastic job in promoting the walks to the community, with the walks being an instant success and growing to regular attendances of over 30 in that first year. After a break caused by the pandemic, attendances have grown steadily and are now back up to over 30.
Sean set up a food bank during the pandemic and has arranged mental health support groups for adults and children. He has delivered sweets to children in Syston and Thurmaston dressed as a superhero. After lockdown ended, Sean climbed Ben Nevis and walked from Leicester to Skegness for charity. He has now set up special sports sessions for children with autism and is generally said to have a heart of gold.
Tommy has been the mainstay of the vaccination centre volunteers at the Council offices throughout the pandemic. He volunteered for a huge number of shifts and is the welcoming and reassuring face for those arriving, often in trepidation.
Sub Lieutenant (SCC) Ben Clayton RNR
Ben is a Sea Cadet volunteer who supports young people between the ages of 9-18. Ben is also a commanding officer, which means he runs a team off staff. He is also a district recreational officer which means he runs a team all over Leicestershire making sure that all cadets have the same possibilities and chances to partake in activities that they would never normally do. Ben has a passion for making a difference and giving children opportunities that they may never have without the support of sea cadets.
Ros has been the coordinator and leader of the community group – Friends of Barkby Road Cemetery, Syston for many years. She works tirelessly with members of the community, to improve the cemetery itself and the cemetery chapel, where people can reflect. She has been involved in painting the Chapel and bringing it back into regular use by members of the public. It is now a bright and welcoming place.
The epitome of an avid volunteer. His calm approach to all problems and knowledgeable, unfussy manner ensures that those working around him feel very confident before any activity commences. Dave is a great mechanic and organiser and supports the trust with regular skipper duties and heads up the maintenance team through the long winter into the new seasons ensuring that the boats are ready for use in April every year. A solid cornerstone and a shining example of our team of skilled, selfless volunteers on all occasions.
Usha is one of the members of the Anand Mangal Women’s group that meets weekly at Fearon Hall. This group has around 30 members that attend regularly and are mostly aged 65+. From just being a member, Usha has really stepped up and taken a lead on running the sessions now and the group members are delighted to have her as part of the group. Usha has single-handedly increased the number of activities that the group do each week, enabling members to partake in activities they would not have normally been able to, and has also been instrumental in attracting new members to the group.
Somru is from a South Asian background and runs a small youth group at a local leisure centre where he organises different weekly sports sessions. Since 2015 he has supported Equality Action’s swimming sessions and encouraged others to participate. He has helped to organise football tournaments that involve different communities and has become a very popular family event for the local Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community.
He always wanted to have an opportunity to hold sporting activities where people, particularly young people, from various backgrounds can come together.
Saneh Lata Sharma
Saneh is one of the newer members of the Anand Mangal women’s group, but since she joined she has encouraged and motivated the members to try new activities which she has taken a lead on delivering. She has taught knitting and sewing to women in the group sewing.
Saneh is a very skilful and creative individual and has so much to offer the group. She is full of ideas and has an enthusiastic approach to sharing her ideas with the rest of the group. All the members appreciate her efforts and patience.
Mike Cahill and Stephen Mellors (a joint nomination)
Before the pandemic, the Nanpantan Ward Residents’ Group was awarded a grant by Charnwood Borough Council to re-refurbish and re-plant the rosebeds along the Nanpantan Road verge. As soon as the Covid regulations permitted, Mike, ably supported by Stephen and others, set about the task of taking out dead roses and preparing the beds for new planting of roses and daffodils. This spring saw the new roses in bud and the daffodils in bloom. Mike’s work has made a huge improvement to the visual amenity of this part of Nanpantan Road - a key route into and out of Loughborough - framed by the cherished views of the Outwoods.
We Care UK
We Care UK has gone above and beyond to help people who are struggling. The team are very friendly and have helped people by providing them with food parcels, budgeting support and items, such as a child who needed a tablet computer to access online schooling during the pandemic.
Loughborough Wellbeing Centre
The team at the Loughborough Wellbeing Centre have been nominated for the Veterans' Wellbeing Hub, the first in the county. The new hub will provide wellbeing support to veterans across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and will operate two further satellite hubs in Oakham and Lutterworth.
The team developed the concept in collaboration with veterans, ensure the project is viable, secured funding and set clear goals on what they wanted to achieve. This has all been done while obtaining and moving into new premises, adapting them, and fitting them out with new furniture to make it a safe and welcoming place.
Friends of Sacred Heart School Association (FOSHA)
The group of parents at Sacred Heart School in Loughborough were working creatively and tirelessly through the tough times of the pandemic restrictions with the staff of the school to deliver extra curriculum activities – in most cases focused more on the fun rather than fundraising for the school needs.
They had to do lots of planning, stay positive with all the cancellations and come up with backup plans to ensure that the kids had fun in some very tough times.
Loughborough Area Foodbank
The staff and volunteers of Loughborough Area Foodbank work tirelessly to help people in Charnwood struggling with poverty. They provide emergency food parcels for anyone who cannot afford to buy food. They also give ongoing support to those who need help with issues such as debt, homelessness, mental health and unemployment. They are friendly, welcoming and non-judgemental towards all who walk through their doors. They are always there to have a chat over coffee and offer a compassionate listening ear. They make sure clients feel valued and not just like a number in a system. They are a vital part of the local community that people know they can turn to when they require support.
Home Starter Box Team
The Home Starter Box team comprises representatives of Loughborough and Loughborough Beacon Rotary Clubs and the Inner Wheel Club for Loughborough. The team work closely with Charnwood Borough Council and local charities involved with housing displaced individuals or families. They provide a box containing a range of essential kitchen equipment and utensils and other useful items to enable the individual(s) to move into their new accommodation and immediately look after themselves. The items purchased are funded by the Rotary organisations and grants provided by a range of organisations.
The team recently delivered the 250th Box to a family in Charnwood and have received very positive feedback.
Barrow Footpaths Group
Barrow Footpaths Group meets every two weeks throughout the year to help keep jitties, footpaths, towpaths and pavements in and around the village clear of overgrowth for all to use. The group has been going for over three years now and have recently started to take on a number of special, larger-scale projects to help keep the village looking as nice as possible.
The village has really benefited from all the work they have accomplished. The team are easily recognised now in their bright orange tops and people walking by always stop to chat and say thank you for the work they do.
Steps Conductive Education Team
Steps is a charity which supports families with young children with special educational needs. The team offer a free and unique service for children with conditions such as cerebral palsy, chromosome disorders and any other conditions which affect the acquisition of motor skills.
Their goal is to develop the skills the children need to progress and maximize their potential. They also provide parents with the knowledge, confidence, and resilience they need to understand how they can enhance the development of their children.
Steps has been described many times as a lifeline to the families whom they support.
Marios Tinenti Centre volunteers
David Wright, Lisa Callaghan and Ryan Winter are volunteers at the Marios Tinenti Centre, based on the Bell Foundry estate in Loughborough. The support they each offer to the Hub Coordinator is invaluable. David keeps the garden looking lovely. Lisa brings her creative skills and willingness to help others. Ryan has grown in confidence since he started volunteering, which has been so good to see. MTC couldn’t run without their volunteers and all they do for us and the community.
Shepshed Wellbeing Walk leaders
The weekly Shepshed Wellbeing Walks were founded in early 2017 by volunteers Jane, Mal and Lesley. The walks were suspended during the worst of the pandemic but returned in October 201 with Jane organising the team of volunteers, Lesley, Ann, Tim, Barbara, Pat, Linda and Katrina to share the leading. Attendances have grown to be similar again to pre-pandemic, with over 30 walkers taking part each week.
Barrow Wellbeing Walk leaders
The weekly Barrow Wellbeing Walks were founded in early 2016 by volunteer Heather Dipple. Supported by the Active Charnwood team, the Barrow walks grew to have over 50 attendances each week prior to being suspended at the start of the first Covid lockdown. Over time more volunteers underwent the leadership training and joined in to support Heather.
During the pandemic, the leaders worked closely with the Active Charnwood team to ensure that the walks returned and operated in a Covid-secure way. Volunteer June organised the leaders into a rota, enabling the team to provide four different groups from 1/2hr to 90mins, in order to support all abilities.
Following Heather moving away from Barrow, June Exley has taken over the organisation of the walks. The leaders June, Paul, Robert, Havilland, Martin, Gerald, Audrey, Annette, Anne and Jan take it in turns in order to be able to offer three or four walks each week.
Gorse Covert Wellbeing Walk - Walk leaders
The Gorse Covert Wellbeing Walk leaders have been doing a fantastic job of encouraging and supporting residents to be active for over eight years with their weekly wellbeing walks from Gorse Covert Community Centre.
During the early part of the pandemic walk leaders Ann, Jerry, John, Roger, Nic, Martin, Tim, Brian and Ray worked on a rota to each lead a small group. The team risk assessed new routes, handled bookings, and led the walks in a supremely well-organised and safe manner.
As the pandemic has eased, participation has increased, the size of groups has grown and walk leaders Peter, Keith, Sandra, Doreen, Mike, Sonia, Mary and Glenys are also now helping to lead.
The attendances are now up to and exceeding the size of pre-pandemic, regularly over 100.
Loughborough Town Walk leaders
The Loughborough Town Wellbeing Walk leaders have been leading walks in Loughborough since 2017.
During the pandemic, the volunteers worked closely with the Active Charnwood team to ensure that when the walks were able to return they did so in a Covid safe way. Lead volunteer and walks founder Hugh kept in touch with fellow volunteers and participants and walks resumed with good attendances.
During the pandemic new volunteer walk leaders Steve and Isobel, and Active Charnwood staff member Roy, underwent an online version of the walk leader training and joined the walk leading team to support existing leaders Hugh, Kusum, Mary and Brian.
Young Hero (sponsored by idverde)
Luke is currently completing his Duke of Edinburgh Awards, and has just gained his Bronze Award. Luke is regularly seen collecting bags of rubbish from the roadside and verges around Rearsby. He has recently taken it upon himself to clear the brook of debris and rubbish, to aid the flow of the brook and deter flooding. He regularly communicates his exploits with the local parish council.
He started this during the first lockdown, then decided to start the Duke of Edinburgh scheme. Luke has received lots of plaudits and comments praising his good work and his polite and friendly manner.
Luke is an active member of Melton Musical Theatre and has taken part in many shows and roles. He also swims for Melton Mowbray Swimming Club as well as running with the Wreake Valley Runners. At school he is a member of the RAF in the Combined Cadet Force.
Jess is such a kind-hearted person. She helps care for everyone she meets. Jess' mum is disabled and has health problems, and Jess always jumps at the chance to help in any way she can. She loves going litter picking and has cleaned up the streets of Syston. Recently she single-handily cleaned up the town centre after a group of teens spread bags full of shredded paper.
Last updated: Fri 17th June, 2022 @ 15:54