Despite the tremendously tough times we find ourselves in, it is heartening to see that our community will again come together this evening for the 12th annual Proud of Barnsley Awards – which is set to be the biggest one yet!

These Awards provide us with a precious opportunity to pause, acknowledge, and celebrate the outstanding contributions of exceptional people in our Town.

As a local MP, it is a privilege to attend local events and witness the incredible stories of selflessness, dedication, and determination that Proud of Barnsley nominees display first-hand. Whether it's a fundraiser going above and beyond to support a local charity, a teacher making a lasting impact on the lives of their students, or a community initiative helping those most in need, the very best of our community is showcased at these awards.

They remind us that, despite our differences, we are bound together by a collective commitment to making our Borough a better place for everyone lucky enough to live here. In honouring our local heroes, we not only recognise their achievements, but we also reaffirm our dedication to the values they display and that define us as a community – kindness, generosity, and unity.

When we first set up the Proud of Barnsley Awards back in 2012, I hoped that we could come together and celebrate these values and the spirit of people across our Borough. I am proud to say that more than a decade on, we are still going strong and championing the inspirational efforts and spirit of local people.

Never has that spirit mattered more than over the last few years.

These have undoubtedly been the toughest of times; we were hit hard by the pandemic and now face the full force of a cost-of-living crisis. But despite that, the people of Barnsley continue to do the most remarkable things.

This year there are 16 awards up for grabs which celebrate all aspects of our community from exceptional sportspeople to our hospital heroes, and it is set to be a fantastic evening for both the record-breaking 500 people in attendance.

These Awards are only able to go ahead thanks to the wonderful team at the Barnsley Chronicle, staff at the Metrodome, the technical team who ensure that everything goes off without a hitch, and the sponsors who have dug deep to fund tonight’s show despite how challenging times are – thank you to you all.