Lodsworth Larder volunteer nominated for Community Contribution Award

A long-serving volunteer at a Lodsworth community shop said she was ‘so pleased’ to be nominated for a national award recognising extraordinary dedication and effort during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lesley Shaikh has been nominated for a community award
Lesley Shaikh has been nominated for a community award

Lesley Shaikh recruited and galvanised a new team of 30 volunteers to replace those who had to step aside owing to shielding and kept the Lodsworth Larder running.

She also organised rotas, managed hygiene and social distancing regulations and, later, together with fellow volunteers, stepped in to run the shop when the manager left.

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Lesley was one of three finalists across the UK for the Community Contribution Award, sponsored by the Hastoe Group, from national charity the Plunkett Foundation.

She was named runner up at a virtual business fete held on Tuesday.

The Community Contribution Award recognises the efforts of an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty during the recent months of lockdown, in order to support their communities.

Lesley said: “I’m so pleased to be nominated for Plunkett’s Community Contribution award.

“The Lodsworth Larder is a fantastic community shop and I am glad to have provided support during such a crucial time.”

The Lodsworth Larder lost 85 per cent of its volunteers, 23 out of 27 regulars, due to shielding.

Only four volunteers remained and they were determined to help the shop stay open throughout the crisis and serve the rural community.

Lesley had been a part-time volunteer at Lodsworth Larder for many years, and also ran Lodsworth Local Care together with another volunteer, Liz Smillie.

Local Care worked closely with the Larder to make sure that isolated and disadvantaged residents were able to access deliveries of groceries and household essentials, and that hygiene best practice was put in place quickly at the Larder to ensure the safety of staff and customers.

James Alcock, Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation, which helps rural communities tackle challenges such as social isolation and poverty by supporting enterprises, congratulated the finalists for showing ‘extraordinary dedication’.