It gives us great pleasure to be able to share with you the winners of our 2021 Community Awards. Below, you can find out who the winners are, and the nominations they’ve received from their community.

It has been another year of great change, and one that has had a real effect on the people of Barnet. But once again, our community has stepped up to support their neighbours, going above and beyond to make sure everyone is as safe and well as possible.

We’ll be celebrating our Your Choice Barnet service user and carer awards separately this year, at a dedicated event in the summer. Your Choice Barnet is celebrating its tenth birthday this year, and those celebrations will be a great opportunity to shine a light on those who make so much progress in their lives every day.

We hope to be able to meet in person for our 2022 awards, and make them something to remember.

Good Neighbour Award: Anne Flynn

Nomination one: Outside of her normal working hours Anne looked after me when I had covid and other illnesses. She is always there to support me and all the other residents

Nomination two: Anne should win an award as she is a very caring individual who goes the extra mile, always putting people before herself

Nomination three: Anne is an outstanding member of our community who is very caring and goes the extra mile for the community she looks after

Nomination four: Anne is our warden but a friend also, she goes out of her way to help everybody. There will not be another Anne.

Nomination five: Anne is such a helpful person. No matter what the circumstances, she always puts the residents needs first, she is caring and goes the extra mile, not just for my mum but for all the residents

Nomination six: When I first moved to Little Larkins I felt nervous and vulnerable as I was on my own. Anne made me feel more than welcome and helped me settle in. Words cannot express my gratitude for such a kind and caring person, we are very, very lucky having her as our warden.

Nomination seven: This lady is number 1 with a can do attitude.

Voluntary Sector Group or Charity of the Year: F.U.S.E.

Nomination one: I worked with Harriet as part of a project trying to support parents in the local community and as her youth club has parents come through it she offered to help. I was touched by how she went the extra mile all the time to facilitate our work and to reach and support as many parents in her community as she could. She would come up with ideas and always think about the particular needs of the parents who lived on the Grahame Park estate. The programme took place F2F as despite covid restrictions still
being present Harriet still attended and made all the parents feel comfortable. She clearly had an excellent relationship with them and with their children and always had a smile on her face. I feel she is one of those people who do so much for the community and a lot of it is in the background and unseen so they don’t always get recognised, but it is actually
people like Harriet who make so many people’s day and who help people to engage and feel included, seen and heard!

Nomination two: Throughout Covid-19 FUSE has been continuous in providing support to children and young people that live in Grahame Park, West Hendon and Stonegrove. Providing youth cub provision, trips away, homework club support as well as supporting families most in need with essential food supplies. Like many I have been impressed by how

Group of the Year: Barnet Walking Football Team

The Barnet Football Walking Team has 140 players up to 86 years old, who are given the chance to play again in a safe healthy environment. It’s not just football, they have a walking group, curry club that finds a different venue every Monday, a cycle group and they work with Colindale Community Gardens growing produce for the local Colindale foodbank.

They are the first walking football team to hold training sessions in respect to the LGBT community, and were recognised by the Middlesex FA as grassroots project of the year for their fundraising and community care fundraising for Mind mental health in Barnet, for who they raised £500 during lockdown.

They have worked with Dementia Club Barnet and with local food banks, helping them restock by having food collections at training sessions. They also raise money for crisis for Christmas every year at their session and have already arranged to look after players who are unwell with shopping etc and have created a family atmosphere where they care for each other’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.

The walking football sessions are run with respect to all. No matter their ability they are inclusive of everyone. I nominate Barnet WFT For their endless passion for community wellbeing. They also worked with Mesut Özil for the warmer winters project delivering food to those in need last Christmas. They are not just a walking football team, their latest project will be as brand ambassadors to Barnet FC and are hoping to visit schools in the Barnet area introducing the fun and passion of football.

Volunteer of the Year (Over 25): Michelle Baiden

Nomination one: Michelle is a volunteer cook for the FUSE youth club in Grahame Park. On Friday evenings and during school holidays Michelle preps and cooks delicious healthy meals, providing the children and young people with a hot meal. Michelle is a local resident who knows how important it is for children and young people to have a hot home cooked meal, and enjoys giving her time to this excellent project in Grahame Park

Nomination two: Michelle is a volunteer at the F.U.S.E. youth project – Grahame Park. She has consistently given up her Friday evening for the last 3 years to support the youth club by cooking food for the young people that attend each week. Michelle even gave up her time to cater to the children and young people during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. despite having her own health challenges. She is so appreciated at the project she always cooks with a smile and everyone there really loves her food.

Volunteer of the Year (Under 25): Zakaria Boutafala

Zak chose to give up his own time to help with a food bank through this tough year. The attitude he showed to continuously help was amazing and a great gesture!

COVID-19 Inspirational person of the year: Shanker Modha

Shanker has provided care to the community for many years, and he has done this in many different ways. Prior to lockdown he was giving the service of music entertainment in old peoples’ and care homes. Bringing joy and cheer during times of festivities… he brings others along with him and inspired a number of others to support him in this charitable endeavour. He feeds the homeless in large numbers; providing blankets and tents and raised thousands of pounds for the local school (Cromer Road in Barnet). He is thus-far an unsung hero in Barnet with upwards of 40 years of service within the community.

He annually helps the Rotary Club of Barnet in enabling the elderly to receive their Christmas Dinners. Markedly since lockdown he has provided after funeral prayer service on Zoom for bereaved families that have lost family members to COVID-19, and he does this for absolutely no charge… it has been a relentless task and he has not stopped since the very beginning of lockdown; he works day and night to bring people together and in servitude he finds solace and fulfils a sense of duty that he feels very deeply. He does not flounder in his efforts, nor does he tire. He is a beacon in the community and never seeks recognition nor praise for his hard work; yet he so deserving of both. Which is why I would like to nominate him and his efforts.