"I’m in shock! I’d like to thank the team at the NEC for their continued support in both collecting and supplying donations, my colleagues and friends and family. Everyone pitches in to help wherever they can; whether its buying toiletries for the homeless community or lending me fridge space to store surplus sandwiches or my homemade soup, ready for distribution. I may co-ordinate it, but it wouldn’t be possible without all the help people are prepared and happy to give."
With 95 people nominated for the Most Heroic Individual, Tracey Harriott from Birmingham, who works in event catering at the NEC, has been awarded ‘Most Heroic Individual’, for her efforts to create a network of businesses and colleagues to gather and donate surplus food, clothes, bedding and furniture to local charities and community groups.
Tracy was working within her current role at Amadeus’ Starbucks NEC franchise and noticed that at the end of the day there were regularly perishable food items thrown away due to expiry dates. Having just started volunteering in her local community, this got Tracy thinking. She gained authorisation from management at the NEC to gather the food and deliver it to the community projects she was volunteering for. Word quickly spread around the NEC about Tracy’s work and more and more teams across the venue started to offer more and more items. Tracy now not only distributes food left over from the NEC, she has pulled together a network of willing colleagues and local businesses to help gather clothes, bedding and furniture, splitting and delivering all the donations she receives.
Tracey, who manages to juggle all this whilst also being a foster carer, has received glowing praise from the community projects her work has supported.
"We’re absolutely thrilled to receive this very special award. Fish and Chip shops across the country have been at the heart of the community for 160 years. We understand the important role we play in supporting the wider community and our social responsibility to care for our extended family. This really comes from the heart, not just during this difficult year - it’s a long term commitment to giving something back."
Josette Foster, co-owner of Fish & Chips
With just under 50 teams nominated in total for the ‘Most Heroic Team’ award, the team at Fish&Chips @ Weston Grove, a small, family run and community minded fish and chip shop, have been chosen as the winners, for their multiple initiatives to benefit their community.
The team are committed to helping the homeless; for over a year they have sponsored a homeless football team as they believe it gives them valuable skills such as teamwork and reliability, as well as eliminating isolation. They feed the team, sponsor their kit and hold regular collections for them. And that’s not all - they have also employed one of the team and are totally committed to investing in his future. During and after lockdown, each week they fed 40 people in temporary hostels.
The inclusive chippy is the first to be Makaton and Dementia-friendly, and the elderly are invited for complimentary meals to meet up, to stave off loneliness. On VE Day they fed 100 elderly residents fish and chips for free.
Children are invited to meet with their elderly customers to share memories of fish and chips, and they also come to the shop for educational purposes; they take part in activities themed around sustainability, plastic pollution and even power potatoes for science classes. The shop hosts family cookery lessons to promote healthy eating of MSC fish.