Honouring our Gravesham Community Award 2020 and Pandemic Hero award winners

Honouring our Gravesham Community Award 2020 and Pandemic Hero award winners

 Published: 09-Sep-2020

Gravesham’s community spirited citizens and its Pandemic Heroes have been celebrated in a double awards presentation ceremony at The Woodville on Wednesday 9 September.

The Borough’s Community Awards are usually presented on the evening of Gravesham Borough Council’s Annual Meeting in April each year. However, due to the COVID-19 lockdown this year’s awards had to be postponed, but were finally held this morning.

The council also partnered with Gravesham Trophy Centre to honour the Borough’s Pandemic Heroes, those who did the most to embody the #OneCommunity ethos and help support others during the long weeks of lockdown.

The Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr John Caller, and Gravesham Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Cllr Shane Mochrie-Cox, presented both sets of awards during an invitation-only ceremony.

Cllr Caller said: “Those individuals and groups receiving awards today are a credit to our Borough.

“Their selfless donation of their valuable time and energy, in good times as well as bad, help make the lives of the less fortunate a little more bearable.

“For that they receive our thanks and this well-deserved recognition.”

We received 55 nominations for 21 individuals or groups for the Gravesham Community Awards, and our winners are:

Terry Ludlow is 76 and has lived in Istead Rise for many years, helping the community whenever needed. He regularly litter picks and clears footpaths around the village as well as volunteering at ellenor hospice, and as a courier for Darenth Valley Hospital.

Alan Skelton is district centre manager at Gravesham Scouts’ Hopehill Campsite in Meopham. He spends a minimum of one or two hours a day at the site, especially at weekends, dealing with maintenance and assisting with visiting groups.

Ian Dunkley volunteers his time to fulfil the role of Parade Commander for key events in the Borough including Remembrance services, Armed Forces Day and Second World War commemorations, liaising with all the organisations involved.  He also volunteers for Gravesend Sea Cadets using his maritime background to enhance learning and opportunities for young people.

Dave Taylor is the Poppy Appeal organiser for Gravesham, raising huge sums for the appeal each year. Supported by his family and friends, he has increased the funds raised by 60% in six years. He is also active managing volunteers, and supporting parades and road closures for events.

Olga Sienkiewicz runs a playgroup in Northfleet and was nominated by all the mums whose children attend. She provides a warm and welcoming environment for all and ensures that everyone is supported and makes friends.

Jennifer Giles lives in Meopham and has volunteered in the local area for many years. She volunteers for St John’s Church where she heads up the pastoral care team, and volunteers for Gravesend Street Pastors. She actively supports people in need providing home and hospital visits, helping those with dementia and their carers.  At 78 she continues to selflessly care for others in times of need.

Working in partnership with Gravesham Trophy Centre, Gravesham Borough Council asked the public for nominations for our Pandemic Hero Awards,recognising those individuals and groups who went above and beyond to support their local community during lockdown.

We received 58 nominations for 30 individuals or organisations.  The winners are:

Nicky Collins who has been involved in voluntary work throughout her adult life. During lockdown she increased her volunteering.  She volunteers on a weekly rota at Gravesham Foodbank and with her husband has been collecting provisions from local supermarkets and has organised local street collections. She has also helped the City Praise Centre with their daily packed lunch delivery service.  She reassures and inspires all those around her.

Vicki Clarke and her team of volunteers at the Homeless Hub at Gravesend Methodist Church were able to keep the centre open for three mornings a week throughout lockdown, providing a cooked breakfast, showers, laundry, clothing and food to the homeless community of Gravesend and ensuring continued emotional support during difficult times.

Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara adapted their Langar service during lockdown. Their large team of volunteers cooked and delivered hot meals to vulnerable individuals, hospitals, care homes and those in need, feeding thousands in the local area. They have also provided a support line open to all.

GTown Talents provides a space for young people from a broad range of backgrounds to come together and express themselves through urban music.  During lockdown the group produced a rap for ellenor Hospice to help raise money and awareness of taboo subjects.  They also made a mental health drama to help those struggling during lockdown.

Cllr Shane Mochrie-Cox congratulated all those honoured and said: “This year more than ever has shown the importance of community spirit.

“We have witnessed it in abundance over the last few months and all those nominated for our Community Awards and Pandemic Hero awards deserve our thanks for their incredible efforts.

“Days like today make me proud to call Gravesham my home.”

 Last updated: 11-Sep-2020