As you know, we love shouting about positive peeps! We wanted to go one step further though and recognise outstanding achievements with an award. We had so many fantastic entries and now the votes are in, so please meet your top unsung stars.
WINNER: Verral Paul-Walcott
Our reigning InspoDaily Community Award champion is the incredible Verral Paul-Walcott. This man is on a mission to give the vulnerable a voice, working tirelessly to help homeless people feel supported by providing them with food, blankets, and clothes. Verral works alongside his crew of superheroes, the C86erz Street Team. Together, they hit the streets of London on bike rides to reach those in need – regardless of the weather conditions. Verral, we salute you!!
LITTLE STAR: Heidi Barker
At just six-years-old, Heidi Barker is proving to be quite the philanthropist. She was left devastated after her great uncle Ian was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and decided to embark on an epic challenge – walking 603 miles to raise cash for Alzheimer’s Research UK. The pint-sized fundraiser is now doing a virtual walk from Land’s End to John o’ Groats; the whole length of Great Britain between its two extremities in the southwest and northeast. Heidi is also using the experience as a history lesson and learning about UK culture as she passes through each town with her dad along the way. In addition to this, Heidi also made sure her elderly neighbours were fed during lockdown; baking for them, helping collect shopping with her dad, and delivering fish and chips.
We talk about diversity and inclusion more than ever when it comes to race and gender, but what about disability? The reality is disabled people struggle with prejudice and employment prospects. This is why Nana Marfo is a beacon of hope, as he strives to challenge the mindsets of employers to embrace diversity in the workplace. Nana, who talks openly of his own respiratory condition, is fighting for mandatory disability training in every sector (public, private, and voluntary) to change attitudes. He also delivers talks in schools to educate youth that being disabled does not make you different as a human being, it just gives you an alternative way of living.
What Hollywood stars who have a disability play the lead role? We’re guessing not so many spring to mind given the lack of representation in mainstream media. Isaac Harvey is on a quest to change this narrative with his awesome Wheels and Wheelchairs project; uniting skaters, rollerbladers and wheelchair-users to whiz across London together feeling empowered. Isaac knows firsthand the challenges that life can throw for people with a disability, having been born with limb pelvic hypo aplasia, which means he has no arms and short legs and has to lie down to use the computer with his feet. However, he never let this stop him from taking part in activities, such as skiing or skydiving, and is now passing this message onto others as a motivational speaker visiting schools and businesses to open eyes to people’s differences.
Westhoughton Assist Service
They say there’s strength in numbers and Janet Colley, Darren Handley and Lesley Monks are living proof of the power of three. This dream team joined forces in the global pandemic to help vulnerable residents in their community. No problem was too big or small as they began providing food and emergency toiletries for those in need, while checking-in on folk to provide a friendly ear. Celebrating their flair for fundraising, they also hosted raffles, a teddy bears picnic for kids, and even did Santa visits at Christmas. Sounds like they’re real-life Santa’s elves!
Chris Preddie OBE
It’s not every day you open a letter inviting you to Buckingham Palace. That’s exactly what happened to Chris Preddie at just 24 when he discovered he was to be honoured with an OBE for his outstanding contribution to youth work. Chris began his humanitarian venture as a teen, helping people at risk of knife crime. He evolved to become an international mentor with his Make Dreams A Reality project, which strives to decrease crime by identifying youths struggling to transition from childhood to adulthood and offer them support to avoid the pitfalls that can derail their lives. Chris is a big believer in overcoming ego to unite and says while ‘we are the problem, we’re also the solution’.