A Harrogate-based opticians has launched a campaign to find the area’s most loved community champion with the opportunity for individuals and organisations to win up to £1,000.

Bayfields Opticians & Audiologists – which has a practice on Parliament Street – launched its We See You Community Champion Awards after it found that 84 per cent of people in the local area believe local heroes and keyworkers add more value to society than celebrities or influencers.

The same survey found over two-thirds (68 per cent) have lost respect for people in the public eye after many flouted lockdown rules during the pandemic.

When asked to name their top three local heroes from the last year, 67 per cent of people in Harrogate said they most admire the work of NHS staff; 41 per cent said emergency services (police, paramedics, fire service) and 28 per cent said supermarket staff.

Over a quarter (26 per cent) respect what teachers have done since March 2020, and 16 per cent are grateful for delivery drivers. Social care workers, postal services, waste collection services, public transport operators and cleaners all scored highly too.

The research, which questioned 2,013 people across the UK, was carried out by Bayfields Opticians & Audiologists to find out how the pandemic had impacted people’s outlook on life.

In Harrogate, it found that two-fifths of people think there is more of a sense of community where they live now compared to before the pandemic and 45 per cent have seen people be more kind to others. A fifth have signed up to be a volunteer during the pandemic, and over a quarter (27 per cent) have donated more money to charities to help others.

To celebrate Harrogate’s local heroes who have gone out of their way to help people over the last year, Bayfields has launched its We See You Community Champion Awards.

Commenting, Kirsty Franks, director of marketing & communications at Bayfields Opticians & Audiologists, said:

“The last year has been a struggle for us all, but through the difficulties we’ve all faced there have been some wonderful acts of kindness. We carried out this research to see how the pandemic has impacted people’s outlook on life, and it’s touching to see how much people value their local heroes and the sense of community spirit in their area.

“With 22 local practices across the UK, including in Harrogate, we work hard to integrate into these local communities and we’ve seen first-hand just how much people have gone out of their way to help each other and show kindness during the pandemic. With spring around the corner, many of us are looking ahead to more positive times, but hopefully we can continue to show appreciation to those special people in our day-to-day lives.”

The Bayfields We See You Community Champions Awards celebrates heroes who have gone out of their way to support people in their local area during the pandemic. Whether it’s a local teacher, fundraiser, volunteer, NHS worker or delivery driver, people can nominate their Community Champions via the website here: https://www.bayfieldsopticians.com/why-bayfields/news/we-see-you/

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