Durham County Council is searching for unsung heroes who have helped to make a difference to the county’s communities during the past two years.
The council is launching the Recognition of Contribution to Public Health Awards to offer a sincere thank you to the countless individuals, staff members and workforces, who have contributed to the Covid response locally.
Whether someone has made a difference to individuals, organisations, families or communities during lockdown, nominations are open for anyone who has been a shining light during these difficult times.
Cllr Paul Sexton, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for adults and health services, said:
“It is so important to us that we demonstrate our appreciation for all those who have gone above and beyond to support their friends, families, neighbours and communities throughout the pandemic.
“Lockdowns were such challenging times for everyone, particularly those who were vulnerable and shielding. However, we also saw many communities finding ways to come together to care and support those around them during those difficult times and we want those people to know how special they are.
“Although we have already shown some appreciation of the fantastic efforts of our NHS and care workers through the painting of road signs, flower-beds and the lighting up of County Hall, this is a more personal thank you to individuals who have made a huge difference to those around them.”
Nominations can be emailed to PublicHealth@durham.gov.uk and should provide the details of the person being nominated and give an example of their contribution.
A letter and certificate will then be shared to present to the nominee.
One of the first members of the public to receive the award is Jean Little, who runs a newsagents and general store.
Ninety-year-old Jean received a nomination from a community group for going above and beyond for her villagers. As well as getting up at 4am each morning to prepare the newspapers, Jean also stocked a wider range of groceries in her store to make sure the community didn’t have to travel far.
Jean, who then became known as ‘The Covid Queen’ of her community, said:
“It was a huge surprise to receive the award, but I was absolutely thrilled. It means a lot that people have taken the time to nominate me.
“I’ve had the shop for almost 60 years and work seven days a week, but I love being there to help others. I’m always there for people in the village and wanted to continue to be there for them during the pandemic.
“It really means the world to me to have received this award and I would encourage others to nominate people who’ve made a difference to them and make their day too.”