Manchester’s community heroes were feted for their determination to make the city a better place to live at the annual Be Proud Awards ceremony.
The ceremony, held in the Great Hall at Manchester Town Hall on Friday 24 November, hailed some of the incredible people who have made an outstanding contribution to Manchester - helping to improve people's lives through their pride in what they do.
Awards were presented in categories including Community Project of the Year, Neighbour of the Year and Young Achiever of the Year.
And this year, a special category was included to honour the people and organisations who stood tall and helped local communities to pull through in the wake of the Manchester Arena attack.
After considering the nominations for this special category, judges found it impossible to choose a single recipient and instead bestowed seven Special Recognition awards.
Four of the seven Special Recognition awards were given to those who bravely helped the casualties in the immediate aftermath of the attack, making the selfless decision to run towards danger. These award recipients were:-
· Doctors Matthew Burrows, David Dolan and Vyki Wijeratne
· Emergency Training Ltd
· Platform staff at Manchester Victoria station
· Showsec Ltd
Three more special recognition awards were given to people and organisations who sought to support and comfort those who were affected by the attack, helping to bring communities together in the subsequent hours, days, weeks and months. These award recipients were:-
· Beth Clarke
· Nicholas Franklin
· The Khizra Masjid mosque
After an introductory speech from the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Eddy Newman, the special recognition awards were presented by the council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Nigel Murphy.
Councillor Nigel Murphy said: “When we reviewed the nominations for this year's Special Recognition award, it instantly became clear that the sheer range of extraordinary contributions from individuals and organisations across the city meant there was no way to choose just one recipient.
"Whether it was through demonstrating incredible courage by helping those in need at the scene of the attack, or by showing exemplary compassion for those affected in its aftermath, these people truly represent the best of Manchester and the awards underline our gratitude for their remarkable response at the city's hour of need."
Following a gala dinner for award nominees, the winners of twelve further awards were announced by Eamonn O’Neal and the council’s Director of Neighbourhoods, Fiona Worrall.
Out of these twelve winners, the ‘Pride of Manchester’ winner was selected as the Miners Community Arts and Music Centre.
Louis Beckett collected the award – presented by the council’s deputy chief executive Sara Todd and Robert Briggs, of the Manchester Evening News - on behalf of the centre in Moston.
Louis was integral to the transformation of a former working men’s club into a thriving community hub, which now hosts a café, gallery space, function room, community garden, sports room and even a 70-seat cinema.
Councillor Nigel Murphy said: “Through their desire to help others and their positive, can-do spirit, tonight's award winners and finalists are all making a massive difference to the places they call home, day in, day out. They thoroughly deserve to be recognised as true champions of their communities and the Be Proud awards show just how much we appreciate the way in which they make Manchester a better city for everyone around them."
The Be Proud Awards ceremony is made possible thanks to the sponsorship of a range of partners - Biffa, Manchester Airport, Manchester Arndale, One Manchester, Redgate Holdings Ltd, Rowlinson Construction Ltd, Southway Housing, Wythenshawe Forum and Wythenshawe Community Housing Group.