Nominate your local hero or heroine to give them the recognition they deserve

Do you know someone who goes the extra mile for your community?

Someone who raises money for good causes, helps a neighbour with shopping or volunteers at a charity shop?

Now is your chance to say thank you. We are asking readers to nominate their local hero or heroine so we can give them the recognition they deserve.

They don’t have to have done something outstanding – just contributed to helping their community.

It may be someone who runs the Neighbourhood Watch or has baked cakes for good causes.

They may have done a sponsored walk, tended an elderly friend’s garden or helped out a local church, temple or mosque.

They could be aged nine to 90 and live anywhere in Britain. They may, for example, be a cub scout leader, a brownie, girl guide, or run a sports team, a WI or a drama club.

If you know someone who has made your community a better, kinder place we want to hear from you.

Mum’s litter pickers spruce up neighbourhood
A small act of kindness by a mum has helped transform the Moss Side area of Manchester.

After having her first baby, Hafsa Mekki began to think more about where she lived.

Fed up with litter on the streets and in parks she began a weekly clean and soon realised her interest in caring for the community was shared with many others.

Hafsa said: “People would ask are you part of a group or do you work for the council? When I said that I just do it myself, it was clear they were keen to get involved.”

This inspired her to set up the Moss Side Eco Squad – residents who join up for group litter picks.

Despite facing the November lockdown just two months after setting up, the group picked up 189 bags of rubbish by December, smashing their target of 100 bags.

“I hoped it would be a once a month, but then the pandemic happened and things stopped for a while,” Hafsa said.

“When it opened up again and we realised the rules of what you can and can’t do, I thought we’d have less interest but we had more.

“People still went on solo litter picks and it gained momentum.

“A lot who joined had wanted to do something like this for ages.”

Hafsa also runs the Moss Side Eco Warriors Instagram account as an online community which also gives information on waste disposal.

She says since the pandemic, litter has got worse, due to PPE and takeaways.

But Hafsa says this hasn’t disheartened volunteers:

“In some areas there has been a significant difference. People are less likely to drop rubbish in an already clean area. It’s not just about making the street clean, it’s about coming together and being part of the community.”

Souper scheme giving meals to the vulnerable

On a mission to prevent the elderly from being forgotten about during the pandemic, the volunteers of the Soup and Dumplings scheme, run by Joyce Osborne and Ken Ivy have become a life-saving force.

They provide weekly hot meals on the doorstep for more than 70 vulnerable and elderly people in for Birmingham’s Caribbean community.

It is the brainchild of three charities, Kajans Women’s Enterprise Ltd, Our People Our Legacy and Aurora B Friendly Association, known as KAO.

And it is not just food the team have provided assistance with.

Ken explained how the group have been the difference between life and death, being on hand to call an ambulance for an isolated, elderly woman who had fallen ill at home in Erdington.

He said: “We saw through the letterbox that inside the lady wasn’t moving.

“We called an ambulance”

Fortunately we were able to get in touch with her relatives and everything is ok.”

Many of the people they help are the Windrush generation who helped rebuild Britain after the Second World War

“The Windrush era did so much for the community and what is the reward? Some of them are alone,” Ken added.

“Our community does not have a social health system, no elders home where people like them look after them.”