First community champion announced by Northumberland MP

The first Blyth Valley community champion has been announced, as part of the coronavirus scheme set up by the area’s MP.

By Ben O'Connell
Wednesday, 13th May 2020, 11:35 am
Maggie Martin at East Hartford Community Centre (left) and Ian Levy MP (right)
Maggie Martin at East Hartford Community Centre (left) and Ian Levy MP (right)

Maggie Martin, from Cramlington, has been recognised for leading the response of community groups in the town to the Covid-19 crisis.

Through Maggie’s efforts, people who are self-isolating have been supported by more than 100 volunteers, who have been shopping and delivering food parcels. Prescriptions have been collected and gardening jobs carried out.

Volunteers from community groups across Cramlington are matched by Maggie to each task and every neighbourhood is covered.

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Ian Levy MP said: “Maggie has done an absolutely incredible job in Cramlington and fully deserves the first community champion award for Blyth Valley. Bringing people and groups together has made a huge difference to those that have needed extra help in recent weeks.

“The amount of feedback Maggie has received from people that have been supported, and also from their families, shows the impact of her non-stop work. I look forward to meeting with Maggie to hear more and also to thank her personally for everything that she has done.”

Maggie said: “It is lovely to receive the award and I was almost speechless when I was told, which is really not like me. I have just tried to do whatever I can to help and there have been so many people in community groups that have also been involved.

“The best bit has been people telling me about how grateful they are for a ten-minute conversation when a food parcel or a prescription is dropped off. Being able to provide some contact with the outside world has been as important as the delivery.”

Nominations for Mr Levy’s scheme can be made on a rolling basis using the link below – www.ianlevy.org.uk/form/blyth-valley-community-champions – with a weekly deadline of 5pm on a Wednesday ahead of the announcement on social media on Fridays. A special reception will be held for all the champions when it is possible to do so.

However, the leader of the Northumberland Labour Group, Coun Susan Dungworth, who ran against Mr Levy in December, has questioned the scheme.

When it was announced last week, she tweeted: ‘Very nice, but how and who decides which of the 1000s of amazing volunteers in Blyth Valley deserves an award & which don’t? Rather than gimmicks our MP should be challenging his government to sort out PPE, testing, FSM & repayments to local government. 30000+deaths – not a word!’

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