Lancs business heroes honoured in online BIBAs ceremony
The heroes of the Lancashire business community during the coronavirus pandemic have been recognised by one of the county’s leading awards.
The BIBAs Heroes were handed out at a virtual awards ceremony on Friday after the awards’ annual prize-giving was cancelled due to the restrictions in place to ensure the safety of people during the pandemic.
Age Concern Central Lancashire, which has provided services to elderly people for more than 40 years, was named the Business Hero of the Year.
Rachel Haslam, founder of Leyland-based consultancy Team Academy, won the Business Owner Hero award and Claire Thwaite of Burnley-based Cube HR collected the Business Employee Hero prize.
The awards’ trophies were handed out by radio presenters Darren Parks and Jo Lloyd, of Smooth Radio North West, as part of a live webcast hosted by the awards on the day its awards ceremony would have been held.
Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of the awards’ organisers, the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “When we took the decision to cancel The BIBAs ceremony, we knew we could not allow this year to pass without recognising the magnificent achievements of the businesses across Lancashire and those people who make them so special.
“The BIBAs Heroes was our small way of recognising the achievements of our winners and so many other people like them across our county who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic.”
There was also an address from Chorley MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, who hailed the “resolute and committed” efforts of businesses.
He added: “It is vitally important, more now than ever, that we recognise the outstanding achievements of businesses and those individuals who have shown up, stepped up and done the business community proud.
As part of its work during the pandemic, Age Concern Central Lancashire brought in a raft of measures to give direct, immediate support to Lancashire’s older population.
These included a dedicated helpline, adapted dementia services and food parcels.
The charity’s team also made more than 6,000 welfare calls to check in on the wellbeing of service users.
CEO Suzanne Carr said: “We’re beyond thrilled to have won such a prestigious award and be named as Business Hero. Like many charities across the country, we were hugely impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“From creating immediate pathways of support for our service users and members of public, to closing our shops and centres and cancelling fundraising events and activities that, ultimately, allow us to keep going, it has been an incredibly challenging time.”
The award comes as the charity gears up to mark its 40th anniversary next year..