Wigan Council awards celebrating the heroes of Our Town
The ceremony recognised those who go above and beyond to make their neighbourhoods better places to live.
The Our Town Awards, organised by Wigan Council, took place remotely and rewarded the extraordinary lengths individuals and community groups have gone to over the last 12 months.
Local heroes were celebrated for their efforts ranging from working on the front line of the Covid-19 pandemic to volunteering to do their neighbour’s weekly shop.
Jessica loaned out gym equipment, moved exercise classes online and hosted weekly quiz nights on Zoom but also returned to Wigan hospital as she is a trained intensive care (ICU) nurse, often working nightshifts.
The winner of the Community Hero award was Kieran Jones who worked throughout the pandemic to help people struggling with poor mental health by setting up a Facebook support group called Bridging The Gap.
He provided one to one support with regular phone calls and texts to check in on people and was called a “true hidden hero” by one of his nominators.
Jes and Sam Rusling were named Neighbourhood Heroes for setting up Lighthouse, a group in Worsley Mesnes that helps feed vulnerable families and organises litter picks and walks.
They are currently working on developing an orchard and vegetable beds on unused land to grow and share food.
The Environmental Hero prize went to Mark Whittaker, who received nine nominations. A member of Leigh Litter Pickers, Mark has collected over 250 bags of litter and regularly distributes bin bags and equipment to encourage others to join in.
The Extraordinary Acts of Kindness award went to Ruth Connor, a volunteer at a council Covid-19 community support hub,
She contacted vulnerable residents to check in on them and during phone calls with one lady realised she needed extra support.
Ruth started phoning her every day, prepared fresh meals for her, made sure her prescriptions and groceries were delivered and formed a strong friendship with
Wigan Council leader Coun David Molyneux said: “I have been blown away by the extraordinary lengths our residents have gone to help each other and their communities during one of the most challenging periods of our lives.
“These acts of kindness, bravery and selflessness have not gone unnoticed and regardless of whether you won an award, I hope all of our finalists feel proud of the difference they are making.
“I’d also like to thank all those who submitted nominations and for bringing these incredible individuals to our attention to receive the recognition they truly deserve. Choosing the winners and runners up was by no means an easy task.”
The judges selected a winner and two runners-up for each category.
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