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Vote now for ‘Community Stars’ helping children get off to the best start

logoPeople in Bradford are being urged to vote now for one of the three wonderful volunteers shortlisted for the first ‘Early Years’ Award at Bradford’s annual Community Stars, supported by Better Start Bradford. The new award recognises people who give their own time to go the extra mile helping families to get children off to the best possible start in life in the Better Start Bradford area (Little Horton, Bowling and Barkerend and Bradford Moor wards).

Better Start Bradford is appealing to everyone in the area to vote by Friday 2 December, to show local early years volunteers how much their work is valued.
Vote here or using a form in the Telegraph & Argus.

The shortlisted entries for the award are:

Salhia Ahmed – Salhia volunteers with Bradford Doulas, who provide non-judgmental, tailored, practical and emotional support for women in later pregnancy, during and after birth. As well as herself being a mum of three and studying law, Salhia volunteers time to support women to make positive choices, including some suffering from challenging circumstances like domestic abuse and postnatal depression. Aliya Fazil, Bradford Doulas coordinator, says: “She is able to connect with families by building rapport very early on and has been going the extra mile with each case.”

Laura Isherwood – Laura provides support to mums in the Better Start Bradford area as a volunteer befriender through the Perinatal Support Service. She helps mums suffering from low mood and anxiety to bond with their babies, engage with other services and access support. This includes visiting the mum she is paired with in the home to listen, provide emotional support and ensure she does not feel isolated. Waheeda Ghafoor, who nominated Laura, says: “Laura is very calm and understanding and is able to make service users feel comfortable around her.”

Jan Winter (Canterbury Imagine) – Jan Winter is founder of literacy charity Canterbury Imagine, which provides a book each month to under-fives in the Canterbury estate. Set up four years ago, the scheme has seen positive results for children’s literacy and language skills. Jan was nominated by Canterbury Nursery School and Centre for Children and Families, and Midland Road Nursery School. Jackie Bracewell, head of the Canterbury school, says: “Jan had the vision and passion to set up the Canterbury Imagine charity to support learning.”

The Early Years Award category sponsored by Better Start Bradford recognises a person or group:

  • Championing support to expectant parents and families with children under four, and encouraging others to get involved
  • Volunteering in the Better Start Bradford area of Little Horton, Bowling & Barkerend and Bradford Moor, although they don’t have to be working with Better Start Bradford projects
  • Demonstrating enthusiasm, innovation, passion and a can-do attitude
  • Going the extra mile for their community.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony at Midland Hotel on 7 December. The Community Stars Awards are in partnership with Telegraph and Argus, Bradford Council and the community campaign ‘People Can Make a Difference’. See www.peoplecanbradforddistrict.org.uk.

Michaela Howell, programme director, Better Start Bradford, says: “Everyone nominated for this award – and indeed all volunteers working with families across Bradford – should feel proud of the difference they are making.  It’s wonderful to see such an impressive shortlist for this first Early Years Community Star Award, and we’re excited about announcing the winner in a few weeks’ time. This Award is all about recognising how important volunteers are to so many families in our communities, often helping them to get through difficult circumstances to provide the best start for their children. We’re encouraging everyone in Bradford to vote now, to help say thank you to these dedicated and passionate people. And if you think you have what it takes to volunteer with families, please get in touch.”


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