CLAIRE UP FOR PRIDE OF BRITAIN
AMUM-OF-TWO who helps hundreds of vulnerable people across south Wales has been announced as one of the finalists for the Mirror’s Pride of Britain Award 2017.
Claire Day founded Street Life Sarnies (SLS) in 2014, which helps provide people in need with essentials including food, toiletries, clothing and sleeping bags.
The community group helps people in a range of circumstances, from those living on the streets to people and families fleeing domestic violence.
Local residents pledge what items they can donate, while Claire then sorts and passes them on to different projects across Newport, Chepstow, Cwmbran and Cardiff.
Claire is a finalist for the Pride of Britain TSB Community Partner Award, which celebrates people who help others across the UK. The finalists were announced on Wednesday at a star-studded ceremony at The Speakers House at the House of Commons.
Claire, 44, from Chepstow, said: “I’m not a great person for attention or things like that and it’s not just me, it is the whole community, but it nice to have the recognition.
“And anything that gets us more publicity and gets us more donations is always welcome. We’re all just human beings at SLS, trying to juggle it all around life.”
Claire, a special needs teaching assistant, decided to start SLS after visiting a similar programme in Bristol.
She said: “We started in July 2014 and we had been going to a project in Bristol which helped people from out of the back of cars.
“In that July it got really, really busy because in Bristol a lot of these programmes people rely on closed.
“One time there was about 30 or 40 packs [of essential items] and more than 200 people waiting for them.
“I can’t explain how gut-wrenching that was to see. So we got in our car and it was then that we decided to help.”
The early stages of SLS saw Claire decide to post an appeal for donations of essential items on social media, which received hundreds of positive responses.
“By the September we thought ‘we just can’t stop’. It’s all about people wanting to help but they just don’t know how to do it.”
Each year SLS runs a Christmas campaign to distribute shoeboxes full of essentials and presents, receiving more than 1,500 boxes last year. The group is currently planning to launch this year’s campaign.
SLS is supported by thousands of volunteers, including Claire’s 45-year-old husband Bart and her two children.
The Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards, in partnership with TSB, is the biggest national event of its kind.
Hosted by Carol Vorderman, it is broadcast every year in a prime time slot on ITV. The star-studded ceremony will be held at Grosvenor House in London later this month.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who attended the reception in London on Wednesday, said: “The Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards are absolutely brilliant. They reward people who’ve made great sacrifices to help others. They might have completed acts of heroism like pulling someone from a burning car, or it might be someone fighting in their community, for a decent park or youth facilities. Above all, they give people confidence and strength. I get emotional watching the awards, on TV or in person.”
The Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards, in partnership with TSB, recognises ordinary people who do extraordinary things, including children who have overcome aweinspiring challenges, those who have risked themselves to save others, and everyday heroes who have transformed the lives of the people around them.
> Claire Day, pictured with Carol Vorderman, founded Street Life Sarnies (SLS), a project that provides homeless people in south Wales with essentials including food, toiletries, clothing and sleeping bags