People were nominated for a range of awards earlier this year, with categories celebrating everything from being a good neighbour, promoting community spirit, being an eco warrior or inspiring others.
Unfortunately, an awards ceremony planned in April had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and so representatives from the City of Wolverhampton Council and partner organisations have visited the winners to safely present their awards and create an online album to celebrate their achievements, which can be seen at Flickr. The Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Claire Darke has also written a personal message of congratulations to each winner.
Young people who have won awards will be recognised for their contributions when schools reopen in September, including 300 local primary school children who took part in a poetry competition run in partnership with Boomwriter with the theme of unsung heroes. Each young person will receive a copy of a book containing their poem published with the support of Ward Funds.
In addition, 2 new awards, sponsored by the council’s Community Safety Team, are being launched. The Stay Safe Be Kind Community Response awards will recognise a group and individual from Whitmore Reans who have gone the extra mile to support their local community since the start of the pandemic. People can make their nominations at Stay Safe Be Kind Community Response Award.
Mayor Councillor Darke said: "The coronavirus pandemic has brought into even sharper focus the importance of unsung heroes in our communities and so I am delighted to recognise and celebrate all the unsung heroes in Whitmore Reans and the surrounding area who make a positive difference to their community through their everyday actions.
"I also recognise all the partner organisations who are active in this area, working all year round, whatever the circumstances, to meet the needs of local people. This is a great opportunity to celebrate their work alongside that of our many unsung heroes.”
At the same time the awards were launched, a specially commissioned poem by Wolverhampton’s Poet Laureate Emma Purshouse was filmed with Whitmore Reans residents contributing to the reading. The poem, Street Talk, was inspired by people she met in the local area and has now been published on YouTube.
Emma said: ‘I was invited to make a poem about Whitmore Reans using the words and experiences of local people. I spent a few days earlier in the year walking around the area, visiting local groups and organisations and talking to lots of different people to find out what they thought about living there, as well as their hopes and aspirations.
“I’m really pleased that we can now publish the poem they inspired me to write and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.”
A number of organisations have been involved in this initiative including the council, St Peter's Ward councillors, Wolverhampton Community Cohesion Forum, Whitmore Reans Library, Wolves Foundation, Wolverhampton Homes, Gatis Community Space, Wildside Activity Centre, Newhampton Arts Centre, TLC College, Midland Heart, Whitmore Reans Connect, Gloucester Street Community, the African Caribbean Community Initiative (ACCI), West Midlands Police and SS Peter & Paul, St Jude’s, West Park, St Andrew’s and Dunstall Hill primary schools.