Banburyshire Advice Centre and Adderbury Stores are Unsung Heroes of the coronavirus crisis

Banburyshire Advice Centre and the Adderbury Stores are two of the latest organisations to receive Unsung Hero awards from Banbury MP Victoria Prentis.

Andy Willis BCAv who is founder and head of Banburyshire Advice Centre
Andy Willis BCAv who is founder and head of Banburyshire Advice Centre

Mrs Prentis has been receiving nominations from the public after an appeal for information about individuals, businesses and other organisations that have made extra efforts to help during the coronavirus emergency.

Two of the latest awards have been given to the Banburyshire Advice Centre, run by Andy Willis BCAv, and Deepa and Dave Bansal who have kept Adderbury Stores open throughout the pandemic.

The advice centre has been helping people by phone during the lockdown. As people have become involved in furlough, redundancy and having problems with benefits, the advice centre's work has been more important and more valued than ever.

Deepa Bansal of Adderbury Stores with the Unsung Heroes award she and her husband have received from Victoria Prentis MP

With the recession and an impending unemployment crisis the services of Mr Willis and his volunteers is sure to be in huge demand. The centre offers advice and help through trained advisers who are well versed with the complicated forms for applications and appeals.

Mr Willis has been working in this field for over a decade and has been awarded a British Citizen Award and a Honorary Masters Degree from the Open University. The charity was set up 2016 and operates out of two permanent advice centres in Banbury as well as Hanwell Fields Community Centre during normal times. The centre can be contacted on 01295 279988.

Deepa and Dave Bansal from Adderbury Stores have been given their Unsung Heroes award for all they have done for the community during lockdown.

Mrs Prentis said: "Thanks for all you have done for the residents of Adderbury by continuing to provide food and supplies during this incredibly difficult time."

Banburyshire Advice Centre's Unsung Heroes award certificate

One Adderbury resident said: "They certainly deserve this recognition. They have completely revitalised our village shop, organised deliveries and gone out of their way to help everyone during the crisis. Nothing has been too much trouble for them and they see their job as being to provide service to the community, which they definitely do and always with a smile."

Mr and Mrs Bansal took over the shop last December and were building it back up steadily when Covid-19 struck. They commuted from Northampton every day, going to the Cash and Carry on their way home to get supplies people had asked for.

Their efforts during Covid have been described in Adderbury as 'legendary'.

Mrs Bansal said she hoped villagers would make shopping at the village store their 'new normal'. "We are so delighted with this award and thank the lovely people of Adderbury for supporting us," she said.

Mrs Prentis has been calling on the people of North Oxfordshire over the past few months to nominate their unsung heroes who have been doing all they can to help others during the coronavirus outbreak. She has received nominations from lots of constituents, with people putting forward friends, neighbours and local community groups.

Everyone nominated has received a letter from Mrs Prentis, together with a certificate as a sign of her appreciation and she hopes to invite some of them to Westminster at a later date when restrictions are lifted further.

“It has been brilliant to hear about how people have helped others. From collecting prescriptions to delivering shopping, providing advice to cooking meals, we are really lucky to have so many unsung heroes living among us in north Oxfordshire.”

Anyone who wants to nominate their own unsung hero should send further details to Victoria via: [email protected]