BLACKBURN with Darwen Council is sponsoring this year’s Lancashire Telegraph Community Heroes awards as a ‘thank you’ to the community and other public bodies for going ‘above and beyond’ during such a challenging period.

We asked you to nominate people who had stepped up during the Covid pandemic and shown amazing courage and selflessness to help others.

We had lots of entries in our various categories and the winners will be announced from Sunday in the run-up to a celebration supplement in the Lancashire Telegraph on December 16 featuring all of those successful.

Councillor Mohammed Khan CBE, leader of the council, explained how he enjoys hearing about people from all walks of life who are giving something back through their work or community volunteering.

He said: “Our people are definitely our biggest asset.

“We have continually seen people go over and above to help others in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and there can never be enough recognition to honour the sacrifices that people have made.

“We are delighted to be the headline sponsor of the Lancashire Telegraph Community Hero awards, which will highlight some of the ways people have shown the best of humanity.

“The way people work together for the good of the town is one of the distinctive features being highlighted in the application for Blackburn to be honoured with city status as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022.

“We have been one of the hardest-hit regions during the pandemic for a number of reasons and this is another way we can promote the town and the vital role our communities play in making it a success.”

Individuals, groups and organisations – such as the council – have adapted during the last two years to help bring some normality, despite national lockdowns, local and government restrictions.

Denise Park, chief executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council, thanked all the local organisations who have worked closely with the council throughout the pandemic.

She said: "It’s important that we recognise how the NHS and police and other agencies have worked so hard together alongside the community and voluntary groups. It’s been a real team effort."

During the pandemic, Blackburn with Darwen Council have praised staff for their hard work through their ‘worker bees’ campaign – highlighting some of the challenges and opportunities staff have faced.

The special local government award will remain open and be announced as part of the council’s own staff awards next year.

Cllr Khan added: “Councils are the backbone of their communities and deliver more than 800 services for people on a daily basis.

“At Blackburn with Darwen Council more than 70 per cent of the staff live in the borough, they deeply care about the place and during the pandemic they never stopped working, often taking on new roles to ensure people got the help they needed.”

“We know that those nominated are just the tip of the iceberg, but we would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone for their selflessness. You are all heroes in our eyes.”

The 10 other categories are:

Young person of the year (sponsored by Hanson)

Education hero of the year

Environmental worker of the year (sponsored by Landfill Projects)

Community champion (sponsored by Pierce Business Advisory & Accountancy Group)

Business of the year (sponsored by the Cross Guns Inn)

The everyday hero award (sponsored by Bryan Lee building contractors ltd)

Carer of the year (sponsored by Chapelhouse)

NHS hero of the year (sponsored by Specsavers Blackburn),

Team of the year

Outstanding contribution (sponsored by Lookers)