Hackney 'unsung heroes' honoured in Mayor's civic awards

Michelle Dornelly pulls a trolley of non-perishable foods from her lockup to her car.

Michelle Dornelly's community food hubs have distributed to the Hackney communities throughout the pandemic. - Credit: Grey Hutton/National Geographic Society Covid-19 Emergency Fun

Residents who provided life-saving care during the coronavirus pandemic have been honoured by the mayor of Hackney. 

This year, the sixth I Love Hackney Mayor's Civic Awards focused on celebrating the community response to the coronavirus crisis with three individuals and three organisations recognised.

The winners, announced this week at a full council meeting, were selected from more than 200 nominations.

Individuals awarded include children's football club coach Alfred Mugabo, chef and founder of local food initiative Poot It In Yer Bag, Elaine Chalmers and Michelle Dornelly, who founded local charity Children With Voices. Michelle set up and has run multiple food hubs throughout the pandemic.

Head coach of Impact football club Alfred Mugabo

Head coach of Impact football club Alfred Mugabo has spent the pandemic inspiring and supporting hundreds of young payers . The club is based in Haggeserston Park. - Credit: Alfred Mugabo

Organisations recognised include E5 Baby Bank, an initiative set up to provide parents in need with clothes, nappies, toys and other essentials, Round Chapel Old Rooms, which has given food and mental wellbeing support to vulnerable and isolated residents, as well as Bangala Housing Association, which provided vital public health information to Hackney’s Bangladeshi community during the pandemic

Elaine Chalmers, founder of local food initiative Poot It In Yer Bag. 

Elaine Chalmers, founder of local food initiative Poot It In Yer Bag. - Credit: Elaine Chalmers

Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville said: "This year, more than ever, Hackney’s unsung heroes have gone above and beyond to provide support to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities."

Winners accepted their awards via video link, but they will be invited to Hackney Town Hall to be congratulated in person at a later date.

Beautine Wester sorts through donations in the back of the Clapton 7th Day Adventist Church, Hackney

Nurse and volunteer Beautine Wester who set up E5 Baby Bank. - Credit: Grey Hutton/National Geographic


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Homerton Hospital and Volunteer Centre Hackney were also honoured at the meeting with Freedom of the Borough awards, the highest honour that a council can bestow. 

Freedom of the Borough awards are given to people and organisations who have provided outstanding services to the borough. 

Bangala Housing Association. 

Bangala Housing Association. - Credit: Bangala Housing Association. 

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Lauren Tobias, Chief Executive, Volunteer Centre Hackney, said it was an "incredible honour" to receive the award.

He added: "Volunteers are like the silent army who often go unseen. So this is a thank you to all volunteers who came together not just last year, but long before and after, to do what they can to help make people’s lives the best they can be.”

Learn more at www.lovehackney.uk/mayors-civic-awards-winners

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