The Montgomeryshire Community Awards 2021 took place in a virtual capacity on Friday May 21st. All fifteen finalists were present on Zoom, and were joined by many others who viewed the event via Facebook links. Craig hosted the event, and paid tribute to all those who had gone above and beyond during the past year.
Details of the winners in each category are listed below:
The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented by Angela Owen, Head of Internal Services with Powys Association of Voluntary Services
Winner: Leon Shearer
Leon was nominated for the wide range of support he has given to the community of Abermule during lockdown. Amongst the long list he organised, collected and delivered over 500 prescriptions, set up a regular ‘ring round’ of vulnerable people to check on their welfare, organised online events and online training, streamed videos of past productions by Young Farmers, the School and Drama Society and supported the sixteen organisations associated with Abermule Community Centre. Leon also ensured the Centre and surrounding grounds were well maintained. The village shop had closed and so Leon did a deal with a local catering supplier to deliver groceries in bulk to the Centre. He took online orders, put together the orders himself and delivered door to door on three days each week. Leon also devised ‘Thank Ewe’ Awards – tokens that were awarded to anyone who had done some community minded action in the village. His nominator noted ‘Leon has done all of this work consistently and calmly, and with a sense of humour throughout’.
Key Worker of the Year was presented by Paul Hawthorn, Co-Founder of the Awards
Winner: Amy Coyle
Amy is the Manager of Phoenix Home Care and Support in Newtown and received several nominations from service users and staff alike. Working flat-out over the past year, seven days a week and available at any time of the day or night, Amy has made sure everyone involved with Phoenix has been well supported. As Manager Amy is mainly office based but, in an emergency, will go out herself to help clients. She has been known to go out at 6am and walk through snow and floods to make sure her clients get their medication and care. One of those who nominated Amy noted ‘Amy has worked tirelessly and gone without days off or annual leave to ensure that service continues. She has gone well beyond what is required in terms of hours and commitment.’
Business of the Year was presented by Thom Kennedy, Editor of Powys County Times
Winners: Lewis of Llandrinio
The nomination for Lewis of Llandrinio included many letters of support from local people, praising their pivotal role in the area. ‘The Lewis family and all their staff have been exceptional in their support, patience and willingness to help everyone in the community during this pandemic,’ noted one. ‘It is obvious they go out of their way to help those who have been disadvantaged with the current crisis,’ said another. A family owned and run convenience store, post office and petrol station, Lewis of Llandrinio are at the centre point of the village. Since the start of the pandemic they have introduced new initiatives including designated personal shoppers, a volunteer delivery service and regular phone check-ins with those living in isolation.
Young Person of the Year was presented by Yasmin Bell, Chief Executive Officer of Citizens Advice Powys
Winners: Eva and Ella Martuccio
Eva and Ella from Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant are just 10 and 8. In January of this year they began undertaking regular litter-picks around the village. They have continued to do this every week after school and have collected dozens of large black bags of rubbish which was spoiling the roadsides, paths and hedgerows of the area. In February they encouraged others to volunteer to help them and then set up the group ‘Llanrhaeadr Litterpickers’. This group not only provides a great service to the community, but has also developed to become a vital social group for those who have been isolated during the pandemic. Their nominator said ‘Eva and Ella are passionate about the environment and wildlife and have been an inspiration to so many. The pride they have in the community and their efforts in rain or shine (and even snow!) deserve to be recognised as they are role models to young and old.’
Community Group of the Year was presented by Craig Williams MP
Winners: Powys Covid-19 Vaccination Volunteers
The nomination for the Powys Covid-19 Vaccination Volunteers marks the incredible effort made by local people and partners to deliver the extremely successful vaccination programme in Montgomeryshire. The volunteer programme has been part of a huge structure, co-ordinated by Powys Teaching Health Board. Others should be mentioned alongside the volunteers: pharmacists, nurses, doctors, porters, people in facilities, estates, IT and information, communications, booking and telephony, management, health care support, allied health professionals, healthcare scientists, public health specialists, primary care teams, Powys County Council, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Welsh Ambulance Service, Freedom Leisure, the Armed Forces, local media and many more. Covid-19 is one of the biggest public health emergencies ever seen, and the vaccine gives a glimmer of hope for the future. Hundreds of local people have volunteered their time to make this happen, with tremendous support from Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations. Figures hot off the press on the day of the Awards Ceremony show that in the Newtown Centre 144 people have signed up to volunteer since December 2020. On average the Centre has been open 4 days a week and volunteers are needed for 13 hours per day. This equates to over 10,000 hours of volunteer’s time. ‘An unbelievable effort by a large number of people’ said Craig. ‘They have all worked together to help ensure a way out of this, and a return to some sort of normality.’
A huge thankyou to everyone involved with the Awards, particularly the Judges, Co-Founder Andy Finch, and Powys County Times. Special thanks also went to those who generously sponsored the initiative: Charlies, Express Café Newtown, CellPath, Iceland and MP Foulkes.