AND THE WINNERS ARE

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Paul Yates – Middlesbrough Powerchair Football Club

WON £2,000

Paul is the single father of Adam, who is 12 years old and has cerebral palsy. Paul recently took on the role of Chairman at Middlesbrough Powerchair Football Club and he makes Powerchair football possible in Middlesbrough. He attends every training session, stepping in to help coach or referee, and is always on-hand to help players transfer, mend equipment and generally help with the day to day running of the club. Paul helps the club raise much-needed funds, even climbing the O2 in London! Paul has adapted specialist chairs so that players who need specific seating can play effectively.

He runs the club alongside his own huge parental responsibilities and a full-time job. Paul ensures he is always there to listen, to help, to understand and he is making a massive difference to the lives of the players and their families. He puts the lives of his son and the club’s players before his own. He is always first there and last to leave at training sessions as well as any fundraising events and has made a huge impact on all members of the club.

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Julie Cooper – The Don War Memorial Museum and Veterans Hub

HIGHLY COMMENDED - WON £1,000

Julie Cooper is responsible for running the Don War Memorial Museum and Veterans Hub that makes a difference to so many people. For years the bar in Stockton-on-Tees has honoured the memory of those who have given up their lives while serving in the armed forces. It’s a place where people can meet up, honour fallen friends and comrades from all current and former conflicts.

Julie regularly hosts events to raise money for charity as well as reunions and get-togethers. The Don Bar is renowned due to its transformation into a unique tribute to British Armed Forces heroes and an impressive 70,000-plus poppies glued to the bar’s walls and ceilings. The bar’s display also includes flags, war memorabilia and thousands of photos of soldiers who have lost their lives. The Hub is open to anyone young or old of any ethnic or religious orientation. Julie also raises funds for military charities, and raises awareness of conditions affecting veterans, those serving and their families, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological conditions.

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Anthony Olaseinde

WON £2,000

Anthony is a security professional who now dedicates his time to raising awareness of knife crime and how communities can help prevent it. He offers free workshops to local schools in Sheffield through his ‘Keep Sheffield Stainless’ campaign. Anthony and a team of volunteers work to create a safe place for those affected by knife crime to come together, and to reduce the number of knives on the street. The project collective talk to youngsters about knife crime, the impact of carrying a knife, how to handle confrontations and conflict resolution.

Keep Sheffield Stainless also offers a free knife/weapon collection and disposal service in and around Sheffield. Its volunteers work to reduce knife crime by safely collecting weapons in an agreed location – while following police guidelines and documenting all collections.

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Toni Mella

HIGHLY COMMENDED - WON £1,000

Over the last 30 years Toni has struggled with addiction, mental health and a disability. After turning her own life around she now dedicates herself to helping others.

Toni is the founder of community project Helping Hands, a shining example of unity within the community. The project supports homeless people in Leeds and is making a huge difference to those less fortunate on the city streets and surrounding towns and villages.  Toni can often be seen out in the city centre several times a week to feed and clothe the homeless. She uses her own money to buy fresh food, and then cooks over 250 meals every week for those that can’t afford to feed themselves. Toni still struggles with her own mental health and disabilities, yet is always there to give compassion and support to those that need it.

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Shane Darbey

WON £2,000

Shane donates his time, use of his van and his staff, to help those in need for free. He supports people and families in times of need after house fires, urgent house moves and even those just setting up homes for the arrival of a new baby.

Shane’s vans are well known for their involvement in many charity and voluntary events. Alongside this, he continues to raise money for charities dressed as a Star Wars character and can often be seen up and down the country most weekends raising money for many different charities dressed in his Stormtrooper outfit.

He has also set up the Moon Gazer project, which aims to recycle items that will help to produce food for people in need and the local community. The project grows its own fruit and vegetables to help sustain the needs of local people. Last year Shane donated more than 25 food hampers to people in the local community, all provided by him to help families struggling at Christmas time. This year as part of the Moon Gazer Project he hopes to double the number of hampers and have more people and staff helping him support local people.

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Tracie Pal

HIGHLY COMMENDED - WON £1,000

Tracie is an active member and fundraiser in her local community. She set up Solihull Jobs, a website with over 28,000 members which aims to help local people find employment. Within six months the it became highly successful helping many people into new roles. Local employers can advertise their roles for just £20, helping local businesses keep costs down and with all monies raised donated to local groups and projects.

Some of the causes Tracie has helped include a local bowling club, which was saved from closing, funded specialist fans for a cancer ward at the local hospital and helping to feed and clothe the homeless.
Tracie also raises money to buy food for the homeless daily and donates to other groups. She campaigned to fund the first defibrillator installed in a local village and arranged training for over 30 people in its use.

Tracie arranged a photo shoot to produce a calendar for breast cancer awareness, with the 2020 calendar already raising over £3000. Tracie has also raised £800 for Lyme Aid after someone local contracted the disease. During this time Tracie has also suffered her own health problems but this does not stop her in her pursuit of supporting others.

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Craig Perkins

HIGHLY COMMENDED - WON £1,000

Craig has run Earl Shilton boxing club for over 30 years. The non-profit sporting organisation teaches boxing skills, respect and discipline to both children and adults. Craig has trained over 1,000 children and given his free time at evenings and weekend to teach kids manners, respect and boxing. Many children have turned into wonderful adults and he has coached, supported and developed National Team Members and European Champions. Craig started his club above a carpet shop and in the last 30 years has had to relocate twice.

He works tirelessly to keep the club going and earlier this year he was awarded with the Hinckley and Bosworth Sport and Health Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his dedication and commitment to the club.

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Fiona Allan

WON £2000

Fiona dedicates herself to creating teddy bears and toys so that they have the same medical devices as sick and disabled children and adults. She alters regular bears AND includes all sorts of adjustments including catheters, feeding tubes, nasal cannulas, hearing aids and ostomy bags. Her hard work makes it easier, especially for children, to accept the medical devices that keep them healthy. It makes it less scary and serves as an educational tool. Parents can explain to the child and his/her friends about the device, demonstrating on the bear where pulling and touching the devices won’t do any harm.

Fiona suffers from numerous chronic illnesses which has led to her needing various medical devices herself. She commits to completing bears even when she is very unwell. She also spends a lot of time supporting other disabled and chronically ill people. She helps run online support groups and is often the first person to offer to lend an ear when someone needs to talk. She dedicates a lot of her time giving advice to people who are new to living with devices. She helps disabled people feel represented and her support helps struggling disabled people cope with their conditions.

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Gill Last

HIGHLY COMMENDED - WON £1,000

Gill has undertaken many years of outstanding work for her local community. Based in Dunbar, a small coastal town in East Lothian, Gill offers transport to support individuals in areas where getting around can be very difficult, especially for those on low incomes or in receipt of benefits. Gill helps people to attend appointments, interviews, training courses and more in her own time at her own expense. She is the first point of contact for anyone needing help to find a job or get advice on benefits and housing.

Gill puts out regular requests for house furnishings for the homeless when housing is allocated on social media, and she is also involved in fundraising for local charities taking part in an annual swim in the North sea on New Years day.

Gill is also a volunteer for a local renovation project where young people are taught traditional building skills, which allows them to secure paid employment. Gill does all of this with genuine passion and care for her local community and is hugely respected by all.

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Cody Mcmanus

HIGHLY COMMENDED - WON £1,000

In 2016, 11-year old Cody McManus found out his friend at his local boxing club doesn’t look forward to Christmas because he doesn’t get any toys. This led to the launch of Cody’s Xmas Toy Box, an idea by Cody to give toys to children living in poverty. Cody undertook charity boxing challenges in return for toy donations and in six weeks, £12,000 worth of donated toys were gifted to 550 local children for Christmas.

In 2017, Cody saw how embarrassed his friend was when he didn’t have a bike for his Cycling Proficiency test, so he launched Cody’s Xmas Cycle. He cycled 58K from The Falkirk Wheel to Edinburgh raising enough for 64 new bikes and helmets for children who can can’t afford a bike for Christmas. During the Beast from the East in March 2018, Cody’s igloo challenge saw him sleep outside alone in -3°. He raised £1000 in 24 hours providing lifesaving emergency packs, hot meals and drinks for the homeless.

In December 2018 Cody completed an army assault course in freezing conditions raising money to buy toys for 500 local kids. Cody’s campaigns have made a huge impact raising awareness that many children in communities living in poverty. He has helped around 1000 children and hundreds of homeless in his community, a truly remarkable achievement.