TODAY we launch The Bolton News Community Heroes awards.

As we are now starting to rebuild and recover from the coronavirus pandemic, we want to honour those community heroes who have gone above and beyond in the last 20 months.

We want to hail NHS staff, shop workers, volunteers and young people for their care and compassion in such unprecedented times.

We will also want to recognise the everyday heroes and our emergency services as well as those working in business, education and hospitality who have stepped up during the coronavirus pandemic.

Regional editor Richard Duggan said: “To say the past few years have been difficult is an understatement; people were made redundant, parents struggled to provide food for their children, thousands took pay cuts, and some even lost friends and family to coronavirus.

“But even in the hardest of times, there are those among us who go above and beyond for the greater good and to help those in desperate need.

“The Bolton News Community Heroes Awards will recognise those local people who are truly champions, those who are a shining light in darkness.

“We can’t wait to hear more about the inspiring people of Bolton and Greater Manchester who have shown such bravery, compassion and leadership over the past year.

“As the local newspaper, we have been so proud to report on some amazing acts of compassion, bravery and ingenuity and it is only right that we recognise the brilliant people of this region.

“Please make sure you nominate anyone you think has gone above and beyond and helped us all get through these difficult times.”

To nominate a person or organisation, send a brief citation saying what category you are nominating someone for, why you think they deserve the award, along with your name, address and phone number to with ‘Bolton News Community Heroes 2022’ in the subject line. You can even nominate yourself in any category.

All winners will receive a trophy and feature in our showcase Community Heroes supplement in March. The closing date for entries is Thursday February 24.

YOUNG PERSON OF THE YEAR – This award will recognise young people who have shown resilience beyond their years over the past 18 months. They will have carried out voluntary work, performed a carer role in their family or demonstrated independence and maturity while their key worker parents/guardians battled coronavirus.

EDUCATION HERO OF THE YEAR - This award will recognise an individual who works in the education sector from the governor to a site manager and everyone in between. They will have provided outstanding support for their pupils, demonstrated real creativity to deliver learning experiences and inspired youngsters and colleagues with their resilience and positivity.

ENVIRONMENTAL WORKER OF THE YEAR - This award will recognise street cleaners, litter pickers, refuse workers or campaigners who have strived to improve our environment in unprecedented circumstances. They will have shown an understanding of why our natural environment was especially important during the pandemic, demonstrated creativity in their approach to their work to make people’s lives better and maintained a friendly and positive outlook, keeping spirits high.

COMMUNITY CHAMPION - This award will recognise someone in the community, a neighbour, volunteer or friend who has truly ‘stepped up’ and helped others. They will have always put other people first, provided a service or support that would otherwise not have been available and contributed to the wider good in the community.

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR - This award will recognise a business that successfully diversified during the pandemic or a pub or restaurant that went above and beyond to support others in the community, despite the ongoing challenges facing many in the hospitality sector. They may have assisted in the manufacturing of PPE or used their resources to provide meals for elderly/vulnerable/needy, supported their community or shown leadership in adversity.

THE EVERYDAY HERO AWARD - This award will recognise someone who selfless and dedicated in helping others in their day-to-day life. They will have kept spirits high with people they meet, looked out for other people and helped them when they have needed it, whether by helping those who needed extra support during the pandemic or by maintaining a positive outlook.

CARER OF THE YEAR - This award will recognise the carers at home and in the community who have gone the extra mile. They will have shown true compassion towards those they care for, contributed to helping keep their patients shielded from Covid during the peak of the pandemic and demonstrated outstanding acts of kindness.

NHS HERO OF THE YEAR - This award will recognise an NHS hero who has gone above and beyond. They will have shown bravery, courage and resilience in their day to day work, demonstrated outstanding acts of kindness and compassion to families and patients and acted as an exemplary ambassador for the NHS.

TEAM OF THE YEAR - This award is for a team of people who have worked together for the benefit of others over the past 18 months. They may have been working in a hospital department, education setting, business or be part of a supportive community group.

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION - This award will recognise an individual or organisation that has gone above and beyond. They will have dedicated their resources towards the greater good, providing much needed support/services where it has been most needed, shown leadership and courage in their efforts and set a good example to others.