The annual Unsung Heroes Awards were postponed in May due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Like so many events of 2020, the awards were adapted to take on a virtual format, also allowing time for a Key Worker category to be included, alongside the normal volunteers.
From the many nominees received, 10 from both categories were shortlisted and given an award to celebrate their unstinting support for their communities. It was then up to the general public to vote for the Wakefield Express Readers Awards and choose an overall winner from both categories.
Murray Edwards, Community Foundation's Director, commented, "Over the last few weeks we have received over 500 votes and are delighted to announce that Vicky, Neil, Kate and Alison from Brickhouse Youth Club have won the Volunteering Award and Anna Natasha Howard from Wakefield Street Kitchen, has won the Key Worker Award.
Thank you to the Wakefield Express and their readers, for taking the time to vote. It was very close, as all of the nominees were worthy winners and unselfishly played an important part in helping others, whether as a volunteer or a key worker.
The volunteers from the Brickhouse Youth Club were delighted with the accolade and said, “This is such a lovely and unexpected surprise to have won the Unsung Heroes Volunteers' Award. We were thrilled to have been nominated, but to actually win is truly amazing. It has been a very difficult year for so many people, and to receive this award for recognition of what we do with the young people in our community is humbling. We would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who has voted for us. We are looking forward to welcoming back our existing and new Youth Club members as soon as government guidelines permit.”
Anna, from Wakefield Street Kitchen was also overjoyed with the news and added, “It is such an honor and privilege to receive this acknowledgement, especially as we have also just celebrated the grand opening of the Wakefield Street Kitchen premises and mini food bank. My team and I have worked tirelessly to make this happen and we will continue to keep feeding people in the community without judgement.”
The ‘Virtual’ Unsung Heroes Awards has been made into an hour-long film, featuring each nominee, the event sponsors and, Harry Gration as the presenter. There are also special appearances from the Foundation’s Chairman, David Dinmore, and its President, Sir Rodney Walker.
Anna Natasha Howard
Through her Wakefield Street Kitchen, Anna has supplied hot meals to the homeless throughout the pandemic. Following the implementation of Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown she has worked tirelessly along with her team providing hot meals for upwards of 90 people on a weekly basis. All food is obtained via donations from various supermarkets and other companies. She is a remarkable woman and she and her team should be recognised for their selfless work.
Neil, Vicky, Alison & Kate
They are all volunteers and put huge effort into running Brickhouse Youth Club, the only youth club in Ossett. They work hard to have varied activities that keep teenagers coming back week after week. Not only is it a Youth club but a must needed resource for the community. They offer a safe haven for many disadvantaged and disengaged youngsters. On a practical level, they supply hot snacks to many who would not get anything at home and all this offered with a friendly face and a sense of fun. They receive no Council support.