Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, there have been exceptional people within Inverness City Centre who have taken the opportunity to help those around them.
To recognise their acts of kindness and generosity, and as part of the joint Festive Campaign organised by Highland Council, Inverness Common Good Fund, Inverness BID and Highland News & Media, nominations were sought from the public for individuals, businesses or organisations that went above and beyond to help out others during this unprecedented year.
A judging panel then had the difficult task of choosing the winners from all of the nominations.
The Inverness City Centre Heroes Award winners are:
- Inverness Foodstuff (piectured) which provided thousands of meals to people who are homeless, vulnerable or financially disadvantaged, often those in special need due to the effects of the pandemic.
- Martin Macdougall, a member of the city centre street cleaning team, who kindly gifted books to over 650 children from his holiday fund during lockdown.
- Morrison’s Inverness Community Champions delivered food supplies to many community organisations and food banks. In addition to the company’s own food donations, the team put together food supplies in pick-up packs, which were purchased and then donated by customers and delivered by Morrisons Community Champions to local food banks.
All three winners received a certificate and a £100 voucher to spend in the city centre.
Depute Provost Councillor Graham Ross said: “The people of the Highlands are renowned worldwide for their hospitality and friendliness. In recent times this spirit has never been more necessary nor has it been shown in such abundance as during the current pandemic.
“The City Centre Heroes Awards has highlighted the extraordinary commitment, compassion and real sense of caring for our community shown by so many volunteers across the city. There are countless examples where individuals, community groups and organisations have provided vital services to those most in need during these unprecedented times. As an Invernessian, I am so incredibly proud of the manner in which our city has responded to the crisis and cannot thank everyone enough for all their incredible commitment.
“I did not envy the judges their task of choosing only three winners. Everyone who gave freely of their time or who helped in any way is a hero in my eyes and I am sure in the eyes of the many people who benefitted from their kindness.
“Inverness Foodstuff do so much more than provide a hot meal. They also provide information and advice on health and wellbeing, welfare benefits, housing as well as much needed social contact throughout the year. An incredible service from a hugely dedicated group of volunteers. I have been privileged to witness the service they provide and it is absolutely brilliant.
“Morrisons Inverness Community Champions have been organising customer donations to local food banks. This takes an incredible effort to coordinate as well as once again relying on the generosity of the customers who frequent the store. A fantastic effort from true community champions
“The wonderful gesture from Martin MacDougall I believe embodies the whole essence of being a hero. He did not seek publicity, he just wanted to help young people have a meaningful activity during the pandemic. An incredible selfless act and a very worthy winner.
“I would really like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the volunteers and organisations across the city that have given so much throughout the pandemic and I would like to thank you all for your invaluable work.
“However, we still have some time to go before this is over and we return to a nearer normal daily life and there will still be people who will need some help and assistance thereafter. I do hope you will feel able to continue volunteering and make a difference for our city and its residents going forward.”
Mike Smith, manager of Inverness Business Improvement District (BID) said: “The Covid-19 lockdown and the period that followed were extremely challenging for individuals and businesses alike. However, during this time many people and organisations came forward and made major contributions to the benefit of the wider city centre community. The Inverness City Heroes Awards reflects the outstanding contribution that the winners have made during this period.”
Steve Barron, publisher, Highland News & Media added: “We’re delighted to be able to shine the spotlight of publicity on these well deserving individuals and organisations. The positive impact they have had on the city centre and beyond during this year is something they should all be very proud of. They are an inspiration to all.”