A member of a church in Selsdon who helped co-ordinate her community’s response to the first coronavirus lockdown has been named as a winner of a special volunteers’ award from the Mayor of London.
And no sooner was Jaz Potter told the news that the award comes with a £5,000 prize than she handed the cash over to the local community group to enable it to continue its work with the elderly and vulnerable.
Potter, from Croydon Jubilee Church, helped to set up the Selsdon covid-19 Support Group which between March and July this year provided more than 400 emergency food bags, more than 2,000 weekly ready meals (delivered by volunteers and the local Fire Brigade), and created a network of street champions helping neighbours in every road in Selsdon.
The support group also made in excess of 5,000 “befriending” telephone calls to elderly and vulnerable residents in Selsdon.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, described the efforts of Londoners to create safer, stronger and more resilient communities in the face of the global pandemic as “incredible” which offered “a ray of light in some dark times”.
The Mayor’s office received hundreds of nominations, most of them providing inspirational stories of the dedication and commitment of London’s volunteers.
Potter was named as a winner in the “Crisis Response” category, which the Mayor’s office said, “included all volunteering that enabled an organisation’s reach to be extended across the wider community to support the most vulnerable people during the crisis”.
After receiving news of her award, Potter said, “This award is really for the hundreds of residents who came together and helped support the Selsdon community this year.
“The work has not stopped along with our friends at Selsdon Contact and working with Croydon High School, we have just finished delivering Christmas food hampers and bags to elderly, lonely and vulnerable residents across Selsdon. Many of the street champions are still operating and helping out neighbours where they can and we are still holding the odd virtual quiz.”
Andy Stranack, the Conservative councillor for Selsdon Vale and Forestdale, added his congratulations for Potter and her team’s hard work. “I am so delighted that Jaz has been recognised by the award,” he said.
“What she is too modest to say is that she has donated the £5,000 prize money back to Selsdon Contact so the vital community effort can continue.
“We are all aware of the financial trouble that the council is in and the problems with covid-19 keep coming.
“However, the way that Jaz and the team worked to get the private, voluntary and public sector together to help the most vulnerable in the community shows that Croydon can still be a great place to live and should be an example to all of us.”
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