Preston man in running for regional BBC award for efforts supporting vulnerable people

A Preston man who set up a city food bank scheme to help feed the vulnerable at the start of the pandemic has been recognised for his efforts.

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 12:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 12:30 pm

Chris Murray founder of the Here for Humanity CIC organisation has announced he has been shortlisted out of thousands to the top four in the running for the BBC’s Make a Difference award but insists the award would be for all the volunteers who have donated their time through the Covid-19 crisis.

Throughout the pandemic, local BBC radio stations have been recording inspiring stories of people who gave back to their communities, with nominees being judged by a panel and shortlisted in a range of categories.

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Categories include Volunteer of the Year, Young Carer Award, Community Hero, Community Project and the Championship Award, among others that recognise different areas of society that have benefitted as a result of someone's efforts.

Chris, who is nominated in the ‘Championship Award’ for helping tackle elderly people who were socially isolated, said the nomination came as a shock.

He organised food packages to be delivered to the homes of hundreds of elderly people locally during the pandemic, including hot Christmas dinners, as well as hosting a food market for residents at Hanover Court, Tanterton.

The organisation was previously commended by the High Sherriff for Lancashire and given a Community Hero award by former Mayor Coun Borrow for their voluntary efforts feeding thousands of families locally during the pandemic.

Chris Murray has reached the top four shortlisted for the Championship Award

He told the Post: “The BBC started accepting nominations over the past year, and I only found out once we had been shortlisted for our efforts helping support the vulnerable community in Preston.

"It is just amazing to be recognised for all our efforts over such a difficult year. We are the only Preston-based organisation in this category and to be chosen out of thousands of nominations feels like an amazing achievement for all of us.

“We are so excited about this, it is massive. If we win it will really help to get the work of our charity seen on a national stage.”

Chris previously spoke to the Post about his challenging past, which saw him repeatedly reprimanded to custody at HMP Preston following years of crime and antisocial behaviour.

Chris said the award would recognise the efforts of all the volunteers

But at the start of lockdown, he began cooking extra portions of meals for his elderly neighbours who were isolating due to Covid-19 - which soon grew into a huge community charity that has delivered thousands of hot meals and food parcels to local families.

The BBC Make a Difference award aims to recognise heroes from across the county, with entries being sought in a variety of categories reflecting voluntary and charity efforts by local people.

Chris added: "It just feels amazing to be recognised for all we have done, especially for elderly vulnerable people who have struggled the most this year.

"This award wouldn't just be for me, it would be for all the volunteers who have worked by my side through this past year."

Chris previously spent years behind bars at HMP Preston before changing his life

More information about the awards is available on the BBC website here.

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