Covid-19 heroes

In December we launched our ‘Covid-19 Heroes’ campaign and asked for nominations for those who’ve made a real difference to someone’s life during the pandemic, whether that’s a resident, a volunteer or member of staff.

Our staff, customers and their families got in touch to tell us about those who stepped up over the course of 2020 and made a difference. The nominees all received Covid-19 Heroes certificates. Now, on the anniversary of the first lockdown, we’d like to share their stories to let everyone know how great they’ve been.

In this first part, we look at our non-staff nominees.

Three young Aylesbury estate residents: David Adesina (13), Francesca Harris (18) and Ayo Medinat (19) were nominated by staff member Chris Cotton, who is a community connector working with young people. Chris said "these young residents volunteered their services to help me put together a very different summer programme. We met on Zoom over eight weeks and planned a project which included socially distanced activities (cycling, dance and fitness) and a large online arts and crafts programme (including jewellery making, painting, arts/crafts, crochet). They also hosted a number of online games sessions and David was our host for the bingo night, which involved up to 70 residents."

Mandy Worster, our volunteer programme manager, nominated Zara Sumner, a volunteer in extra care. "Zara became a volunteer at Mildmays after losing her own grandmother just over seven years ago. She loved older people and volunteered with us across our extra care service at least two hours every week, sometimes more. She helped support art sessions, called numbers for bingo, helped prepare for coffee mornings, held trips to local cafes and community gardens and participated in theatre visits to the Christmas panto. Zara selflessly did whatever needed to be done and because of her willingness to always help she was the first volunteer back after lockdown eased."

Sadly, Zara passed away after fighting a long battle with cancer. She will be greatly missed by so many of Mildmays residents.

Our next hero in the non-staff category is Fondo Muktano Gona nominated by our Care Quality Commission compliance manager Bryony Mitchell. "Fondo is the husband of Jackie Millar, extra care service manager at Mildmays. Throughout the pandemic Fondo has regularly supported the service, particularly by driving around London collecting food donations for customers and bringing them back to the service. Donations have included healthy home-cooked frozen food, fresh vegetables, fresh juices and food cupboard ingredients. Without Fondo, Mildmays couldn’t have taken advantage of the donations offered because of transport difficulties. Customers have been able to improve their diets, to help meet food and nutritional needs, and have enjoyed much needed treats and extras that have been offered."

Briony also nominated Jean Curtis, a customer at 6 Mildmay extra care service: "Before Covid-19 Jean would often greet callers and open the door when I visited, but also went to a day centre quite often. Since Covid-19 Jean has supported staff by opening the door to people who visit the service. She always makes sure that people are wearing a face mask before coming into the service and that they use the hand sanitiser by the front door. Jean is my Covid-19 hero because she has helped to keep everyone safe and well by making sure that everyone is using the right precautions."

Thank you to all nominees and those who provided nominations for sharing the good work taking place across the business. Come back next week for more NHG Covid-19 heroes.