Volunteer Centre Hackney chief Lauren Tobias (right) receives the Freedom of the Borough from Cllr Carole Williams. Photograph: Hackney Council

The sixth edition of the Mayor’s Civic Awards has recognised six recipients for their community contributions.

Over 200 nominations were submitted, including both individuals and organisations.

The recipients were chosen based on their community work over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville said: “There are so many people, organisations and charities in Hackney who quietly transform lives all year round – and these unsung heroes have always made an incredible contribution to our communities. 

“But this year, more than ever, Hackney’s unsung heroes have gone above and beyond to provide support to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

Individuals to receive the award included Elaine Chalmers, the chef behind the local food initiative Poot It In Yer Bag; children’s football coach Alfred Mugabo; and founder of local charity Children with Voices, Michelle Dornelly, who has run multiple food hubs over the course of the pandemic.

Bangla Housing Association, E5 Baby Bank and Round Chapel Old School Rooms won in the organisations category.

Homerton Hospital and Volunteer Centre Hackney were also awarded the Freedom of the Borough awards – the highest honour a council can bestow.

Volunteer Centre Hackney CEO Lauren Tobias said: “It’s an incredible honour to receive this award, considering all the wonderful charities across Hackney who do such great work. 

“It’s a privilege to work in such an amazing borough with partners like Hackney Council, the CCG and voluntary sector who all recognise the importance of volunteering.  

“Volunteers are like the silent army who often go unseen. So this is a thank you to all volunteers who came together not just last year, but long before and after, to do what they can to help make people’s lives the best they can be.”

The ceremony was held virtually, but winners will be invited to Hackney Town Hall to meet with Mayor Glanville and the Speaker of Hackney when it is safer to do so.

Mayor Glanville added: “I would like to give a huge congratulations and thanks to the winners and nominees of the Mayor’s Civic Awards; and to Homerton Hospital and Volunteer Centre Hackney, whose tireless efforts have saved lives and kept people safe throughout the pandemic. 

“These awards and the honorary Freedom of the Borough announcement help us say thank you to residents and organisations who embody Hackney’s inclusive, welcoming and selfless spirit.”

Find out how you can volunteer at vchackney.org/volunteer.

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