Not in the same league as the doctors, nurses and other frontline workers who have been saving lives during the pandemic of course, but in the most recent round of the South Derbyshire Awards both Melbourne Assembly Rooms and our manager Andy Heafield have been named as South Derbyshire Community Heroes.
Andy was picked out in particular for his work in running Melbourne Market, which is hosted in the MARs car park every Thursday morning. As his nomination says:
“Andy is always looking for new ways to engage with the community. He started a weekly market for the community of Melbourne, which has been going for around 7 months now and is still proving very popular with the residents. They feel safe shopping outdoors and love the social side that the market brings into their lives. I’ve had it commented to me many times how enjoyable a trip to the market is and to catch up and see familiar faces. Some people are still very uncertain about going to the shops so the market has been a great comfort. Long may the market continue.”
The Assembly Rooms have stayed open for as many groups as possible whenever the rules have allowed. Jane Carroll, chair of the MARs board, said “We opened up as soon as we were able so that initially children’s groups could restart. The board agreed our role was as a community centre first and foremost although we could have claimed more money in compensation if we had closed completely. We are welcoming other groups back as soon as they are able to function safely.”
A small bonus of the initial lock down was that we were able to bring forward the improvement works in the Main Hall so you will return to a lighter, brighter space with excellent new lighting resources.
Even More Heroes
We can add another hero to the MARs role of honour, Board Member Margaret Gildea was singled out for recognition for her pop up book stall. As her nomination says:
“When the libraries closed due to Coronavirus, Margaret asked people to donate books and jigsaws for her to sell on her garden wall for donations, also delivering to those who were housebound. She has raised over £4,575 for Feeding Britain, a charity which provides meals for hungry children. She has also assisted children develop their reading skills and brought hours of enjoyment to individuals of all ages. For many this was of great value for their mental health. She deserves to be recognised for the sheer amount of effort she has put into this project for the benefit of others.”