Councillor nominated for national award over pandemic efforts

A Nottingham councillor has been shortlisted for a national award to recognise her efforts for the vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Councillor Salma Mumtaz, who represents Basford, has been nominated for the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) and CCLA Councillor Awards 2020.

The awards, now in their eleventh year, celebrate the contributions of councillors towards their local communities. More than 200 nominations have been received across nine categories.

Councillor Mumtaz has been put forward in the Covid-19 Hero category, which recognises those who have ‘made a tangible difference by making sure that vital services are continued, and going above and beyond to ensure that nobody is left behind during the crisis’.

Her nomination is in recognition of the time she spends volunteering at the Himmah Community Food Bank and Salaam Shalom Kitchen, both in Hyson Green, and Disability Direct in Basford, where she helps tackle food poverty by serving hot meals, delivering food parcels, home shopping and prescription to local people in crisis.

Councillor Mumtaz has worked to help suppress food poverty across Nottingham. This includes deliveries to those who are either self-isolating or shielding, plus a number of people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

These efforts are alongside her role as a ward councillor and her day job as an NHS administrator at the Queen’s Medical Centre. She also worked on frontline services to keep the vital NHS services functioning during the peak of the outbreak.

Winners will be decided by a panel of judges comprised of senior councillors and officers, as well as leading stakeholders from across the public sector. The ceremony will take place virtually on Thursday 26 November.

Councillor Mumtaz said: “The Covid pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge this year and has affected all communities in Nottingham. Even for those who haven’t been personally affected by the disease, there has been a direct impact through changes to their daily lives and restrictions placed upon them.

“But this has been felt most keenly among our vulnerable residents, both socially and economically. Volunteering regularly at the food bank and soup kitchen is only a small thing, but something I wanted to be involved with to make sure those people are supported through this difficult period.

“I feel very honoured to have been nominated for this award, particularly given the fantastic work being carried out by fellow councillors across the country.”

Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “I’m really pleased that Salma has been recognised in this way for her tireless efforts as a local councillor during the pandemic.

“The past few months have been so hard for everyone but by working together, and looking out for each other like this, we can provide the support which is so important to finding a way through.

“Local councillors are meant to be community champions and Salma is a great example of a new councillor doing that in a particularly difficult time. Help on the ground in our communities is vital and I wish Salma all the best for the award announcement later this month.”

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of the LGIU, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has presented this country with a set of challenges that few could have predicted. However, councillors up and down the country have risen to these challenges and stepped up to plate for their communities.

“From delivering food parcels to vulnerable residents and sourcing PPE for frontline workers to finding temporary accommodation for the homeless, local government has kept the country safe and moving.

“Their achievements showcase the best of local government at a time when the country faces one of the greatest hardships of our lifetime. We would like to congratulate all of those councillors shortlisted and look forward to revealing the winners later this month.”

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