THOUSANDS of Barnsley residents have been put forward for awards thanks to their selfless community work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Barnsley Council is shining a spotlight on the unsung heroes who have gone above and beyond for their communities since March.

More than 4,000 businesses, community groups, voluntary groups, key workers and residents were nominated this year for the one-of-a-kind Barnsley Spirit Mayor’s Award.

Mayor of Barnsley Coun Caroline Makinson said: “We’ve seen some incredible community spirit throughout these difficult times so it’s an honour to be able to celebrate and recognise those who’ve shown true dedication.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who was nominated, and to all those who submitted a nomination. We received a staggering number of submissions for the awards, which just goes to show the amazing work that’s been happening across the borough this year.”

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Stand-out nominations include NHS staff involved with Barnsley Hospital’s antibody testing team, who received their nominations for working extra hours on weekends to facilitate the testing of pharmacists, dentists and care agency staff.

Sheryll Dixon, founder of Penistone Knitting Group, was put forward for making and delivering more than 30,000 face mask extenders to frontline nurses and care home staff across the country.

The extenders have made a huge difference, and the knitting has helped to improve the mental health and wellbeing of many isolated elderly people.

Teacher Michelle Wilkinson was also recognised for organising the production and delivery of food parcels to every family at All Saints’ Academy, Darfield.

While their shop was closed, Natalie and Matthew from HE Payne and Sons, Dodworth, set up a group to organise food deliveries for those who were shielding.

With the help of local volunteers, they delivered food to people who were unable to leave their homes. They’ve also raised donations to support people in the community who have lost their jobs and fell on hard times.

Oakwell Rise Primary Academy supported families who were struggling with isolation, changing circumstances and needing support with food and uniform. The academy delivered food across the community and hosted a ‘swap shop’ for families to bring in clothes that their children had outgrown for families who were unable to afford new ones.

Coun Makinson added: “These people are an example of the incredible community spirit that we have in Barnsley and I am honoured to be able to thank every person that will be recognised for their vital role that they have played to keep Barnsley moving throughout the pandemic.”