Our 7th Neighbourhood Awards were celebrated in style this year despite the restrictions forced by Covid-19.
The annual awards ceremony had to be cancelled this year, but we were determined the awards would still go ahead.
Residents have been making their nominations over the last few months for awards including Best Gardens, Amazing Volunteer, Young Hero, Good Neighbour and a special new award – Covid-19 Hero.
Dozens of entries were received and judges - Maggi Favreau, June Moxon and Jenny Ryan - had a difficult job choosing the winners.
Once the finalists had been chosen, a virtual awards video was created, which was premiered on Facebook on Thursday 17th September to announce the winners.
Bazgha Sultana, Engagement & Events Manager at Red Kite, said:
"This year we were faced with lots of challenges, but we were determined to go ahead and celebrate the wonderful people who live in our community. The ways people have helped their neighbours during the Covid-19 crisis and the effort that has gone into creating beautiful gardens has been truly inspiring."
Winners received certificates and hampers which included products from small local businesses that have been supported by Red Kite, and garden winners received gardening vouchers.
Amazing volunteers - winners
Michelle Ball: Michelle is one of our Red Kite resident volunteers. She is a great asset to Red Kite and to the wider community. Not only volunteering on many significant projects with Red Kite, e.g. RRT, EIG Board, but with other organisations too! She has several jobs but makes time to give so much back to her community. She is dedicated, determined, professional and creative. Her contributions make a really positive difference.
Jean Peasley: In the last couple of years Jean decided to tackle some issues within her immediate, local environment. This included fishing out bikes and trollies from riverbanks, picking up litter from hedgerows and roadsides, weeding and adding plants or bulbs to the local Memorial, backstreet roads, local areas of wasteland and at the local Community Centre.
Jean works tirelessly for the local community and she is always a person to go to if you need to get help with organising something. No task is too small. She is an Amazing Volunteer and an exemplary role model.
Teresa Young: Teresa has been an enthusiastic part of High Wycombe Mutual Aid since its inception in April. As part of the team matching volunteers with people who need help she has used much of her own time to support.
She also considers people who are not able to use the technology and instigated sending letters out to those people needing help who couldn't use email.
Young Hero - winners
Nikola Milkiewicz: Nikola has been absolutely brilliant throughout lock down and has been volunteering through the online projects #BetterTogether and has been supportive of other young people as well providing support when it was needed.
Nikola has come up with some very good ideas for the #Better Together project and delivered sessions herself which included planning and delivery.
Chloe Tuckwell: Chloe has designed a workshop along with another young person for the #BreakingBarriers day on the 5th August. The time and effort has been incredible and the end results are fantastic to say the least The workshop will be delivered throughout the day by Chloe and the other young person .
Ernesta Palionyte: Ernesta has helped to design a workshop for young people along with Chloe Tuckwell and has proved to be thoughtful as well as mindful of the content on #Breaking Barriers
Keeyan Hameed: Keeyan has been donating food to One Can Trust with the money he raises from his SOUPaCANdle initiative where he turns old food cans into candles. During COVID-19 as the need for food parcels doubled Keeyan became a Street Hero at the charity. He has promoted One Can Trust in his local community and encouraged others to donate food, raising awareness about the work the charity does.
Delia Rogozo: After attending the Better Together project's creative and wellbeing sessions and a peer mentoring course Delia decided to use what she had learned to help friends by setting up regular wellness meetings. She also chose to share what she'd learned from the workshops to support her friends and has also recently been offering goodie bags for young people suffering with mental health.
Covid Hero - winners
WISE have been amazing in helping our vulnerable tenants week in week out. This included doing weekly shopping for an elderly tenant that was shielding and her family who were self-isolating as well as helping collect a repeat prescription. Nothing is too much for them and they have been truly wonderful. Everyone at WISE should be proud that they have made such a huge difference to people's lives in the thick of the pandemic. Well done to all!
Gill Alexander: Gill has been a One Can Trust volunteer for a number of years. During COVID-19 she has taken on a different role with the charity as the parcel demand has increased. Gill spends 12 hours a week in the warehouse working hard to organise the fresh fruit and vegetable packs for approximately 180 + clients a week.
Sally Mcevoy: Sally has been involved with One Can Trust for several years coordinating the delivery drivers. Pre-COVID 19 there were approximately 20 deliveries per week. During COVID-19 the charity changed its model to deliveries only. This meant that Sally co-ordinated 200+ deliveries a week.
Teresa Knight: At the start of COVID-19 referrals to One Can Trust rose significantly. A project called Street Heroes was developed to meet the demand for more food. This meant that people had collection points outside their homes. Teresa took on the coordination of recording the details of all these collection points and updating the Street Heroes on most needed items. At the peak of COVID-19 there were 120 Street Heroes!
Cathy Reevell: Cathy has volunteered with Wycombe Homeless Connection once a week for two years. During COVID-19 Cathy volunteered to help three times per week for eight-10 hours per. Cathy helps prepare all the parcels for Wycombe Homeless Connection clients, this has been up to 50 per week at the peak of COVID-19.
Lots of new volunteers have started with the charity due to older volunteers shielding. Cathy has helped to train these volunteers.
Hills Café: Hills Café has a fantastic team of volunteers, who are imperative to keeping the café running to the high standard that customers expect. Volunteers complete tasks ranging from washing up to taking orders, running food, to helping open and close. They work fantastically hard all year round.
During Covid the café quickly pulled together a new team of volunteers to complete deliveries and companionship calls to those struggling in the community.
This team has been invaluable and was pivotal to ensuring the COVID-19 Response success of Hills Cafe. This is a great opportunity to publicly thank them on behalf of our community.
Trina Richards: Throughout the Covid period Trina went above and beyond her role as a volunteer to source items for refugee families (as part of her volunteer role for WRP). She also assisted Khepera CIC in cooking over 800 hot food parcels during lockdown. She sourced items for several refugee families, was so friendly and giving to all. Fulfilling all the requests of the families and reliable in support our hot meals provision and delivering them to families on a weekly basis. She continues to support the families who are so grateful for everything she has done!
Ahmal, Hajra and Hasan Arif: Right from the start of the lockdown, siblings Hasan, 22, Ajmal,16 and Hajra, 18, sprang to action and went out of their way to make a huge contribution in reaching out to elderly and vulnerable residents by supporting the Five Pillars Charity to supply essential food supplies. They were instrumental in raising funds from friends and family for bulk purchase of essentials foods. They supported and often led the whole supply chain process to ensure there was enough stock during the challenging COVID-19 situation as it became increasingly critical for a lot of people, especially the elderly.
The trio also helped to collect medicines and shopping for residents. They have greatly supported Five Pillars with helping other families in High Wycombe, as well as helping deliver hot meals to the police and the local ambulance staff.
Good Neighbour - winners
Graham Moore: Graham has been described as a great guy who is always on the end of the phone if you need him.
He always cuts the grass and does general gardening around the Mayorfield House flats. Graham is kind, caring and an ever-obliging volunteer and helpmate to all his fellow residents. If anything malfunctions, he is the man to rectify the situation immediately.
He has transformed the personal and community gardens into a sight to behold. He mows, plants and landscapes tirelessly. The end result is uplifting to both residents and passers-by. Graham is an indispensable member of the community who interacts with his neighbours daily.
Julie Smith: Julie was nominated for all her hard work in the gardens at Barrowcroft Sheltered Housing Scheme making them look beautiful and cheerful.
Michael Veck: Michael is always willing to help everyone at Barrowcroft Sheltered Housing Scheme, he always does at a drop of a hat to assist and is cheerful about it too.
Andy Greig: Andy is a tenant in sheltered accommodation in Marlow. During lockdown he has helped his neighbours with shopping walking several dogs and also helping the family of his elderly neighbour.
Michael O'Connell: Michael is an outstanding neighbour going out of his way to help vulnerable tenants regularly helping a tenant who is too scared to leave her flat.
Helen-Marie Dunn: Helen-Marie has been a big support during the COVID-19 crisis. She has supported residents by collecting the daily papers for a resident self-isolating delivered flour to another tenant who is an avid baker and supporting a vulnerable resident.
David Collier: Always going the extra mile, in working in the gardens at the Barrowcroft Sheltered Scheme.
Garden Awards – winners
Master Gardener – David Wooster
Best Kept Garden – William Banning
Best Small Garden – Rosemary Gray
Best Vegetable Garden - Kim Avou
Best Communal Garden – Barrowcroft Sheltered Housing Scheme