High Peak groups honoured for work supporting community through pandemic – Buxton Advertiser

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A small awards ceremony took place at No 6 The Square Tearooms in Buxton, paying tribute to hard working groups who have stepped up during the past 18 months to help others.
One of the High Peak winners was Sally Depee, founder of Little Cherubs Clothing Bank in Chapel-en-le-Frith, who since the start of the year has helped 500 people to clothe their children in tough times.
She said: “I was thinking about how hard the first lockdown had hit people and when we entered the third lockdown I knew there were people struggling so I decided to do something about it.
“My idea was to just run it during lockdown but there is such a need for a service like this I haven’t been able to stop. In fact we have grown and now the charity has its own premises which is amazing.”
Sally has won an award for herself and one for the charity and says she is blown away by it.
“I was sat there at the awards ceremony sitting next to NHS staff who have put themselves in danger every day and I didn’t feel worthy to win an award but it’s only when you stop and take stock of what has been achieved you realise what has been done.
“Little ones grow so quickly and parents have been struggling to clothe them but Little Cherubs has been there to help people to make people’s lives a bit easier.”
The Derbyshire Beacon of Hope Awards were run by Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council and looked to identify and to express thanks to those groups or individuals who have worked tirelessly to keep our communities safe, and our businesses moving during the global COVID-19 crisis.
Another worthy winner was Madeline Hall on behalf on The Serpentine Community Garden, Buxton.
She said: “After all the trials and tribulations The Serpentine has been through in recent years when we had to fight to keep going, it’s so nice to have been acknowledged for our hard work we have done during the pandemic.”
The community garden has been used to help people with their mental health and been prescribed as therapy from doctors at Stewart Medical Centre to get people outside and meeting others.
Madeline said: “For some getting out and about in our garden has been a lifeline for those whose mental health was struggling with the lockdown and we’re proud we have been able to help.”
Other activities which took place during the lockdown included delivering fresh salad to food banks. Sixty three families also engaged in socially distanced practical science as part of a soil testing project in partnership with Transition Buxton.
Ana Mankiewicz received an award on behalf of the work done at The Grapevine, the charity which deals with mental health issues for people in Buxton.
She said: “In an instant everything we knew last March changed and all our face to face sessions were shut down but people more than ever needed supporting so we knew we had to adapt.”
The Market Place charity set up a text service to check in on people as well as sending out distraction post which contained puzzles and happy post which had a little chocolate bar and a message to let people know they were in people’s thoughts.
Ana said: “We did it because it needed doing and we didn’t want to leave people without a support network but we weren’t doing it for praise.
“We were all shocked to get the nomination but it’s really humbling to have been seen as something supporting our community over the past year and a bit.”
Tony Walker, former High Sheriff of Derbyshire, whose idea it was to set up the awards, said: “What a challenge the last year has been.
“And yet with all the tragedies, suffering and difficulties, some real good has come and we have seen an outpouring of community spirit and many people doing significant acts of kindness day after day for neighbours or community members. New community organisations have sprung up, many people in front line services have put themselves in danger to care for us and to keep us safe.
“Now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel the civic institutions of Derby and Derbyshire think its time to recognise those individuals and organisations who have done things over and beyond what anyone could have ever expected.
“These people truly are an inspiration and are beacons of hope for us all and this recognition scheme is a way to say thank you.”
Other winners across the High Peak included Toni Riley who got her Beacon of Hope award for all her help supporting Buxton Street by Street in the vaccine clinic while on furlough.
Another winner was Chapel-en-le-Frith fundraiser Gemma Ellis who has raised £10,000 during the lockdowns for her Stage Four Deserves More charity. The money was donated to fund research done by the University of Manchester at The Christie Hospital.
Derbyshire County Council Leader councillor Barry Lewis added: “We are delighted to be part of these awards which recognise the work of individuals and groups that have worked tirelessly to keep our communities safe throughout the pandemic.
“Through the awards and beyond, there have been so many examples of the incredible efforts that people and organisations have made to the response and relief efforts across Derbyshire, including in the High Peak, to keep our communities safe and our businesses moving.
“I’m delighted to be a part of it and to be able to personally thank just some of the people involved in the tremendous, countywide effort that has helped to pull us all through.”

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