We’re delighted to announce that the shortlist for the Community Hero 2021 category sponsored by Gran Canaria has been revealed!
This accolade will recognise one individual agent or one team who has made an exceptional contribution to their local community or communities overseas.
And the finalists are…
Turning a potentially negative situation into a positive, Crowe used her time on furlough to help others, volunteering for local organisations the Calton Heritage Centre and Thenue Housing Trust. She helped with shopping for people who were shielding, packed groceries at a local food bank and delivered shopping to the vulnerable and elderly. Along the way she often stopped to chat with those living alone and spent some time with them, socially distancing in their gardens. In some instances it was the only human contact these people would have and it made a huge difference to their lives during the pandemic.
Having met a wonderful tour guide, Kadek, while on her own holiday in Bali, PTA Davis became firm friends with him and recommended his services to many customers, friends and family. On hearing about his plight when tourism closed down due to the pandemic last March, Davis felt she had to help, despite being a self-employed homeworker with no guaranteed income during the crisis. Kadek, his wife and their young child were forced to leave their family village and head to the city in an attempt to sell cakes door-to-door to survive. Over the years Davis has helped create an account so Kadek’s child can go to university but she wanted to do more. Bringing the issue to the attention of her colleagues, they raised £600 out of their own pockets, which Davis sent to Kadek. It was enough for him to return to his village and to support him for six months.
Having been in the travel industry for 42 years, Dunne wasn’t about to take the challenges posed by a global pandemic lying down. Instead she set about working to ensure the Irish travel industry and her local community were ready to bounce back when possible. Dunne ramped up her efforts on the board of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA), lobbying government for financial and regulatory assistance. As chair of the Association of Women Travel Executives (AWTE Ireland) she worked with the committee to keep people engaged and connected. In addition, Dunne has been an active participant in consortium Travel Centres’ weekly Town Hall events and has joined fortnightly networking sessions with local business people. She has also made a number of appearances in the press and on radio and television – a true advocate for the industry and her local community.
A hero of her community for 20 years, Letham has dedicated her free time to supporting When you wish upon a star, a charity that grants wishes for terminally ill children. In normal years she can be found doing all kinds of activities from washing fire engines to dressing up as one of Santa’s elves and manning a grotto, yet the restrictions of Covid-19 meant she had to get more creative than ever to continue her fundraising efforts. From organising raffles to balancing books by herself live on Facebook and hosting Zoom meetings to remind organisations such as the Rotary Club about the charity, she hasn’t let the virus stop her. Her colleagues use the motto #bemoreDawn and the world would surely be a better place with more people like her in it.
Simmonds’ hunger for adventure and sense of sustainability have merged over her 21 years selling tailor-made holidays and experiences to forge a responsible ethos at her company, Travel Matters. During the first lockdown of 2020, Simmonds devoted her time to several good causes, one of which was the Make Travel Matter Covid-19 Response. She rallied together her industry contacts and raised £1,250 to support the communities Travel Matters works with in south Asia and Africa; providing safe water, better sanitation, food and hope for those in need.