THERE are just days left to nominate those amazing people who helped the community through one of the worst years we have ever faced.

The challenges of this difficult year have shone a light on the important work of our health and care professionals as they continue to fight through an unprecedented public health situation.

Here at the Bucks Free Press, we want to make sure their contribution does not go unrecognised - so we have launched the Buckinghamshire Health and Social Care Awards to say a big thank you.

Inspirational workers have been on the frontline at the heart of our communities day and night, selflessly supporting people across the county.

Communities have clapped and shown their appreciation where they can, but these awards are an opportunity to highlight the outstanding achievements of talented teams and dedicated individuals and to show support for unsung heroes from across the health and social care spectrum.

While entries have been flooding in from those keen to show their appreciation to everyone from pharmacists, GP practices, volunteers and carers, there is still time to nominate if you haven’t already.

To do so, all you need to do is go online to before April 6, choose the category you would like to put someone forward for, and fill out the short entry form.

Finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges and the winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony broadcast live on our Facebook page in May.

One of the categories for the new awards recognises ‘Unsung Heroes’. Another champions volunteers.

One charity that has helped thousands of people in the past year knows all about the values of those amazing community heroes.

One Can Trust food bank provided 9,310 parcels to families during 2020 – up from 5,603 the previous year.

But they wouldn’t have been able to do that without the invaluable help of a team of 179 volunteers and around 300 Street Heroes (including school children and two dogs) who collected food from their neighbours.

Charlotte stepped up when her dad, who had been a volunteer for three years, had to give up during the first lockdown:

“I wanted to help cover all those who couldn’t continue to volunteer.

“I think I’ve covered every job, helping sort the food in the warehouse, putting it away, refilling the packing room, packing the bags and delivering the bags to the families.

“I’ve made some lovely friends and my children have both joined in too. My daughter set up as a Street Hero last summer and my son now helps out in the warehouse.

“We all believe the One Can provides an invaluable service to our community.”

Seventeen-year-old Keyaan Hameed has done almost 30 drops to the food bank’s warehouse, so far, and is the charity’s youth ambassador. He said: “More and more people were in need due to loss of jobs, so I decided to become a Street Hero. I put a notice on my community page and the response I got was beyond words. I’ve carried on for almost a year. It’s the least we can do.”