I’ve had a very busy couple of weekends – at least by pandemic standards! First, I held a virtual ceremony for my Citizen’s Awards, which recognise those in my constituency who go above and beyond to help each other. As you can imagine, there were many award winners who were nominated for work that they did during the pandemic – whether that was raising money for the NHS, charities or foodbanks, putting on free online classes, doing shopping for vulnerable people, the list goes on – but there were also many who got awards based on the things, big or small, that they do for their community year in year out.
The following weekend was Small Business Saturday. For the past five years I have run Local Business Awards in the run up to Small Business Saturday and each year they get bigger and bigger. This year, we had over 4,000 nominations for businesses across the Denton and Reddish constituency and I think that this was partly in recognition of the extra support that small local businesses have needed in the context of the pandemic and the lockdown. As we all know, Government support for businesses has been patchy at best and there are some industries and sectors that have faced particular struggles, including hospitality and events.
Every nominee for the Local Business Awards is a winner because their customers have taken the time to put in a nomination to recognise their important to the local community. But the awards also highlight the great diversity of businesses that we have here. Among the winners and runners-up in the Denton, Audenshaw and Dukinfield wards of my constituency we had a cosmetics company (Tranquility in Denton), a nursery (Children 4 Most in Audenshaw), a pizzeria (Domingo’s in Dukinfield), a butchers (Halls in Haughton Green) and a florist (Fleur de Fillu in Dane Bank).
In what has been a fairly miserable year, these two celebrations have been a real highlight for me and have emphasised again what I think we all already know, which is that we have a great community here in Tameside. When times are tough, I’m proud to say that we come together and look out for one another. Well done again to everyone who was nominated for either my Citizen’s Awards or the Local Business Awards!