A Nottingham councillor who went ‘above and beyond’ has won a national award to recognise her efforts for the vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Councillor Salma Mumtaz, who represents Basford, scooped a Covid-19 Hero accolade as part of the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) and CCLA Councillor Awards 2020 last night.

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

Councillor Mumtaz, pictured, won 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 was 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. 

Councillor Mumtaz said: “I felt very honoured to be nominated for this award, given the fantastic work being carried out by fellow councillors across the country, so I am delighted to have won it.

“In such a difficult year for so many people, it has been humbling to see communities come together and look out for each other. It is likely that everyone has been affected by Covid in some way, either directly or indirectly.

“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 vulnerable people are supported through this difficult period.” 

Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “I’m so pleased and proud that Salma has won this award in recognition of her tireless efforts during the pandemic.

“As local councillors, we are community champions and Salma is a great example of a new councillor doing that in a particularly difficult time. She has found time to help out while juggling a job in the NHS, so this award is richly deserved.”

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of the LGIU,said: “We are incredibly proud to unveil the winners of the 2020 Councillor Awards. These councillors showcase the best of local government, those who have gone above and beyond to serve their communities during a hugely challenging 2020.

“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we have turned to local government to bring us the leadership and support for which they are renowned and they have once again delivered. 

“The winners are all outstanding examples of a councillor’s commitment to their communities – a commitment that has especially shone through this year. Being closest to the people, councillors are vital to ensuring that communities can thrive during periods of hardship. Thank you all for your service this year.

“I would like to extend my most sincere congratulations to Councillor Mumtaz and thank her for her commitment to local government. We look forward to hearing more about her continued accomplishments in the future.”

Kelly Watson, Relationship Manager for Local Government, CCLA,said: “This year has given the awards new meaning. Local government has stepped up to the plate to deliver for communities across the country this year and we are honoured to stand alongside them.

“Life as a councillor can be extremely rewarding – being at the forefront of positive community change. But, of course, it’s also extremely hard work, particularly in the current context.

“The hard work done by councillors and council leaders behind the scenes to negotiate the best outcomes for their communities often never reaches the public eye. Which is why we think it’s invaluable to set aside an evening each year to celebrate those achievements.”