Leave No One Behind in Lymm
1551. Kirsty James
Kirsty James, from Cheshire, is a leading member of ‘Leave no One Behind In Lymm’, a community group set up in response to the pandemic which operates a meal scheme and organises essential shop deliveries and prescriptions, friendly phone calls for those isolating, a postal service, as well as emergency energy top-ups.
At the start of the outbreak in March 2020, faced with the closure of the community and business centre she manages, Kirsty took the decision to reposition it overnight as a much needed logistical and admin hub for the COVID-response plan in her village, and has since led the coordination of food deliveries to vulnerable people across the area, supported by a team of 40 volunteers. The centre under Kirsty’s management became the location for food and NHS care pack donations, the production of thousands of leaflets, and the management of the fundraising campaigns. The initiative has been recognised by councils and media as a key support campaign in the area and has led to multiple sub-projects and legacy projects. In May, Kirsty devised plans to provide further support for the elderly, isolated and vulnerable, as well as benefitting local businesses and organisations, by establishing a meal scheme which comprises family foodboxes for the financially challenged and Sunday hot meals for the elderly and vulnerable.
Kirsty is also the founder of multiple charitable projects which have continued to support local people through the pandemic. She set up ‘Think Family Matters’ in 2016, which delivers family wellbeing events and activities via local schools on the themes of internet safety, health, finances and mental health, and has continued this year in a virtual capacity with anti-bullying week online assemblies and radio interviews with young people. In 2017, she also co-founded ‘SoupOnTheGo Crowdfunding’, a fundraising mechanism for community projects, which has seen hundreds of pounds and promotional awareness generated for grassroots initiatives. In 2019, Kirsty set up a new charity, ‘Lymm Sanctuary Hub and Business Centre’, which offers business support and community projects including dementia support, affordable counselling, IT recycling, adult language classes, elderly IT enablement, parenting, healthy eating and bereavement support. She is currently actively involved in a 12 Days of Christmas Gifts campaign, overseeing the supply of presents and messages to local people in need.
In a personal letter to Kirsty, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I wanted to thank you for your wonderful work at ‘Leave No One Behind in Lymm’.
“You are the beating heart of Lymm with all that you have done for so long, from your usual dementia and bereavement support, to the local recycling project and anti-bullying classes in schools.
“When the pandemic struck, along with your team of 40 volunteers, you ensured that everyone in the village had meals and prescriptions. Even in this difficult year, you have given out Christmas presents making sure that no one is left behind in Lymm.”
“I’m absolutely delighted to receive this award. It recognises not just months, but years, of hard work and sacrifice by so many people across a variety of projects. I feel privileged to accept it in acknowledgement of their commitment and contribution. It is also quite humbling to be featured alongside so many other amazing people and projects.
“Behind any volunteer project, there is always a strong team and beyond them are supporters, donors, funders, sponsors, suppliers and more importantly friends and family. They too become local heroes for the love and support they offer to the “visible” volunteers. My voluntary work has only been possible because of the support of my own family, particularly my teacher husband and three kids who over and over have simply accepted that ‘Mum has stuff to help folk with’.
“The strong teams and community spirit I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing during my voluntary work epitomise the wonderful side of humanity that we have witnessed more than ever in 2020. It is a privilege to work alongside so many dedicated and inspirational people and in delivering services to others, we have all benefited from new friendships and community partnerships that have carried us through challenging times towards brighter futures.
“I dedicate this award to the wonderful volunteers, supporters and partnerships behind the following organisations – Leave No One Behind in Lymm (Lymm Meal Scheme, Lymm Radio Kids Live at 5, Christmas Gifts), Lymm Sanctuary Hub and Business Centre, NetRun, Think Family Matters, SoupOnTheGo Crowdfunding, Silk Elephant, Lymm Churches Together, Lymm Radio, Movement WA, Warrington Foodbank, Lymm Round Table and Cheshire Community Foundation.”