VOLUNTEERS who have gone above and beyond to help others during the Covid-19 pandemic have been honoured at an awards ceremony.

Dudley Council for Voluntary Service (DCVS) and Black Country Radio hosted the Covid Heroes Awards last Thursday (October 22) to thank and pay tribute to those who have given their time to selflessly help people in need during the coronavirus crisis.

Winners included Don Hirst and his team at The Dudley Arms pub, where more than 2,000 meals were prepared over lockdown while the pub was shut to ensure residents were catered for. They won the Business with a Big Heart Award, while Abrar Ahmed of One 4 You Services Ltd was highly commended.

Shona Gilsennan – who was visible and responsive in multiple communities from day one of lockdown – took the Kindness in a Crisis Award; while highly commended awards went to Zyllah Moranne-Brown from Black Country Radio for managing the station’s community response during the height the pandemic, to Esther Olivier who worked with vulnerable people; and Lottie Woodward, who provided an online presence and support for those at risk of domestic violence.

Andrea Childs and Carly Grandini-Williams were given Covid Community Champion Awards for providing light relief and laughter by recreating famous art on social media; while the group award went to Sedgley Coronavirus Support.

Rose Cook Monk and Phil Aliband were named Covid Superstars for their exemplary efforts to supporting vulnerable people and communities during the pandemic.

Michelle Smith won the Faith in the Community Award, with Springs Church including Hope House being highly commended.

Young Covid Heroes Awards, celebrating how young people stepped up and went the extra mile, went to Katie Davies, of Halesowen BID, who worked hard to support people in Halesowen Town Centre during the pandemic and to Alex Griffiths, volunteer with Black Country Radio, and who also worked at Russells Hall Hospital on Covid wards, providing vital support to seriously ill people, during the height of the pandemic.

Black Country Radio, which provided provided public information on air and online as well as running a Community Hotline which took more than 500 calls from vulnerable people in the borough, was acknowledge by a Special Board Award by Dudley CVS.

Keith Horsfall, chairman of Black Country Radio, also added: "To be able to be of help to so many people during what has been a difficult time just shows the importance of local radio. We are delighted to receive these awards which acknowledges the effort put in by all our volunteers, but in particular Zyllah Moranne-Brown and Alex Griffth’s who contributed so much and made such a difference."

Other winners of this special Board Award included Dudley Library Staff, Citizen’s Advice Dudley, Black Country Foodbank, Saltwells Food Hub, Stourbridge Covid Group, Arise Churches, Hope Church, Just Straight Talk and Dudley Council’s Pleased To Meet You Helpline.

Individuals were also acknowledged including Chris Szygowski, Kim Humphries of Dark House Food Bank and Councillor Joe Roberts.

Andy Gray, chief executive of Dudley CVS, said: “This years awards needed to recognise and select the outstanding contributions that were made supporting those most vulnerable in challenging times. It is truly inspirational to hear how local people have made such a difference to the communities across our borough during the Covid-19 pandemic."

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, Dudley Council's cabinet member for health and adult social care, added: "We quite simply could not have got through lockdown without the tireless efforts of an army of volunteers who quickly mobilised to help the most vulnerable during lockdown.

"Delivering free school meals, helping the elderly, you name it, they stepped up and did what was required.

"I felt thoroughly humbled watching the Covid Heroes Awards, seeing so many amazing people who've supported others through these dark days.

"DCVS and Black Country Radio did such a fantastic job hosting the event.

"My heartfelt thanks go out on behalf of Dudley Council to winners, nominees and all participants. Every one of them was a winner and every one of them was amazing.

"They should all be proud of their achievements and for making the Dudley borough a very special place."