26th Sep, 2020

Community heroes sought by West Midlands mayor for new award

John Carlon 9th Jan, 2020

DEDICATED community helpers will be recognised by the West Midlands mayor in a new awards scheme.

Andy Street is searching for ‘unsung heroes’ of the West Midlands who are making a difference to their neighbours’ lives.

He has started the region’s first Community Champion awards, calling on residents to nominate someone who has made a significant contribution to their local area.

Organised by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), which he chairs, the aim of the awards is to shine a light on how the wide-ranging community work in the West Midlands is bringing people from different backgrounds together.

Anyone can nominate an individual living in the WMCA area who they feel has had a positive impact on their community – including in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire.

The mayor said: “In our Faith Action Plan, I pledged that we would recognise people of all faiths and none who are making their local communities stronger and more resilient.

“There are so many outstanding people in the West Midlands who work tirelessly every day to help others, without expecting any reward for themselves.

“The Community Champion awards are a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the amazing achievements of these unsung heroes. I’d urge residents from across the region to nominate someone from their area, so that we can share these inspiring stories as widely as possible.”

There are six award categories:

Interfaith: for individuals who have brought together people of different faiths and created long-lasting interfaith relationships. Nominees may be people of any faith or none, but who recognise the value of harmony between the many diverse faiths and religions in the region.

Intergenerational: for individuals who have brought older and younger people together to form lasting friendships, understanding the knowledge and skills that each generation brings and the value of sharing experiences.

Cross-regional: for individuals who have helped people look beyond their postcode area to extend their view of the world and open their eyes to new friendships and different opportunities.

Social mobility: for individuals who have improved access to opportunities for others by going into communities and actively encouraging people, supporting them and following their progress.

Mentoring: this category is supported by the Mayor’s Mentors programme. There are two awards. The mentor’s award is for people who have made an exceptional effort to help develop others and their careers, while the mentee’s award is for those who have made the most of the expertise they have gained from their mentors, using it in a positive way to enhance their lives.

Lifetime achievement: for individuals who have worked for a significant time on a specific social issue in the region, achieving success that would not have happened without their perseverance and tenacity.

The awards are the latest in a series of initiatives organised by the WMCA to bring communities across the region together, such as the Mayor’s intergenerational Cricket Cup last September, and the Mayor’s Community Weekends over the past two years.

To submit a nomination, visit wmca.org.uk/who-we-are/meet-the-mayor/community-champion.

The deadline for nominations is 19 February and the awards will be announced at a special event on March 5.

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