Get in­volved and help us toast our un­sung heroes

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MANCH­ESTER coun­cil is ask­ing lo­cal peo­ple for their help to find the city’s un­sung heroes and com­mu­nity cham­pi­ons by throw­ing open nom­i­na­tions for this year’s Be Proud Awards.

The Be Proud awards cel­e­brate lo­cal peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions who do their bit to help make Manch­ester a bet­ter city for ev­ery­one.

The win­ner of last year’s top ac­co­lade, The Pride of Manch­ester Award, was the Fir­bank Pub and Kitchen in Wythen­shawe. Land­lord Si­mon De­laney has been speak­ing about what the hon­our meant to the pub and the im­por­tance of giv­ing back to the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“We have had an amaz­ing year in 2016. We won the Best Com­mu­nity Pub of The Year at the Great Bri­tish Pub Awards and thought things couldn’t get any bet­ter but then we found our­selves in the town hall sur­rounded by amaz­ing peo­ple.

“We were pre­sented with the Be Proud award for Busi­ness in the Com­mu­nity which was fan­tas­tic but when we went on to take the Pride of Manch­ester tro­phy, wow – I had goose­bumps.

“The award has in­spired us to get even more in­volved with the lo­cal com­mu­nity and has let peo­ple know we’re here to help. It shows that a busi- ●● ness can be­ing fo­cused.”

Si­mon hopes the ef­forts of ev­ery­one at the Fir­bank and the recog­ni­tion they’ve re­ceived will help change the per­cep­tion of pubs and the role they play.

He said: “There’s a stereo­type of pubs as a thorn in the side but we’re a real com­mu­nity space, peo­ple don’t just come in for al­co­hol but to so­cialise and en­joy a good cup of tea or a posh cof­fee.”

The Fir­bank prides it­self on their mix of clien­tele and have signed up to the Age Friendly Manch­ester cam­paign, they run a lunch club ev­ery Thurs­day.

Orig­i­nally in­tended for thrive while com­mu­nity older res­i­dents, the lunches have started at­tract­ing younger peo­ple too – who found they en­joy the sto­ries of their older neigh­bours.

The Fir­bank is also com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing jobs to Wythen­shawe res­i­dents as Si­mon ex­plained: “We only em­ployee peo­ple from M22 and M23 post­codes that have been long term un­em­ployed or are young with very lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence.”

There are now plans to start a com­mu­nity shop to help ad­dress food poverty.

Nom­i­na­tions for this year’s Be Proud Awards are open un­til Sun­day, Septem­ber 10. To nom­i­nate your lo­cal heroes, go to www.manch­ester.gov. uk/be­proud.

The Fir­bank col­lects its award last year

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