Twenty-one people and groups have been recognised by the Wealden Chairman’s Community Awards for their outstanding help, neighbourliness, contribution and service to individuals and the community throughout the Covid-19 lock down period and beyond.

“It never ceases to amaze me how the people of Wealden pull out all the stops when their friends, neighbours and the community need assistance in times of trouble,” said Councillor Pam Doodes, Chairman of Wealden District Council.

“So much assistance was given, great and small, without fuss and bother.  From keeping in touch with people living alone, food shopping, cooking and delivering hot meals, letter posting, dog walking, making over 1,000 face masks, organising Village Volunteer Groups. Even an online theatre group was formed which was not only hugely enjoyed, it also taught young people new skills!”

“This fall out from this pandemic has emphasised the importance and value of local community, our church family and local shops.

“The spontaneous reaching out we have witnessed since March has been so comforting to us all.

“I feel immensely proud to live amongst the generous people of Wealden.  Huge, grateful thanks to everyone for their kindness, thoughtfulness and unfailing and continuing help to others.”

Nine individuals and 12 community groups will receive special Wealden Chairman’s Community Hero awards. The Chairman is looking forward to meeting all the recipients and presenting their awards when she travels to their communities in December. The Roll of Honour will be displayed at the Council Offices and on the Wealden website

Our Wealden Community Individual Heroes are:

Kelly Ellis, Cuckmere Valley: the Pastoral Minister, for her shopping trips and keeping in touch with everyone.

Kate Harris, Frant: supporting local need from her well-stocked village shop and providing a lifeline to villagers through shopping deliveries.

Margaret Taylor and Family, Fletching: raising more than £5,000 for St Peter & St James Hospice by making face coverings.

Linda Graham, Hartfield: a tireless contributor to the local community with her support for older people and help with transport.

Dr Annabel Emslie, Hellingly: setting up a WhatsApp group for the village which brought the community together and led to other activities.

Pippa Cross, Herstmonceux: setting up the local parish support scheme from day one, organising the helpline and deliveries, then helping re-shape the service as lockdown eased.

Lee Boyce, Ninfield: caring for the dogs and cats of vulnerable owners on top of many hours volunteering for an animal charity.

Daniel Brookbank, Pevensey: cooking 30 Easter lunches and then organised 30 VE celebration packs for residents who were shielding.

Tony Green, Rushlake Green: extending the facilities of the village store to meet the needs of local residents including deliveries to those isolating.

Our Wealden Community Group Heroes are:

The Cuckmere Support Network, Alfriston: continuing to support local people who are shielding, taking more than 258 phone calls and delivering 180 prescriptions.

Supporting Crowborough, Crowborough: 24 co-ordinators and more than 100 volunteers providing support to the town’s residents.

Local Community Watch, East Dean and Friston: providing free, confidential and informal help to residents which has built lasting links and friendships.

Hailsham Active, Hailsham: providing exercise opportunities online and then socially distanced classes to support physical and mental wellbeing.

Happy to Help, Heathfield & Waldron: the brainchild of Charlotte Ward of Kings Church; has delivered food, prescriptions and matched volunteers to those feeling isolated.

Hope Cottage, Hooe: The farm shop delivered groceries to those isolating and introduced a hot meal delivery service and much more.

Lily Lovett Theatre Group, Laughton: a Zoom-based theatre group encouraged children to act, write and sing culminating in a 40-minute online show this summer.

MAYFACS, Mayfield: Mayfield and Five Ashes Community Services mobilised volunteers to support more than 150 people, and published a magazine to keep people entertained during lockdown.

You Raise Me Up, Polegate: organised online meetings and drop in sessions for bereaved families and others needing support and advice.

Rotherfield St Martin, Rotherfield: the local charity for older people focussed on preventing loneliness.

Uckfield Food Outreach Box Service, Uckfield: with a pressing local need for food deliveries, volunteers have liaised with local farms and a supermarket to provide more than 300 food boxes for isolating households.

Carillon Cottage, Wadhurst: the community information centre mobilised a large number of volunteers to help with groceries, prescriptions, delivering meals and hospital visits.