Two volunteers who worked with the police during the Covid-19 lockdown have been awarded by the Aston Villa Foundation for their hard work and dedication.
Matthew Bowater and Khallaq Ahmed responded to a request from Birmingham police at the beginning of lockdown. From the moment they signed up, they worked tirelessly to provide food and support to those in need.
Birmingham officers enlisted the volunteers to work alongside the Church of England and Active Wellbeing Society to provide food parcels to vulnerable members of the community who had no food in their houses or no access to a fridge or freezer.
Matthew, who was furloughed from his power company, emptied his work van to use the shelving unit so he could collect more food parcels and make the most out of each delivery.
Khallaq continued to work full time and volunteered around his hours. The 40-year-old contacted the managing director at two local food warehouses directly and successfully encouraged them to donate more food.
Birmingham Partnerships team recognised the hard work by the pair, and nominated them for the Aston Villa Community Champions award. They both received their award at a ceremony at Aston Villa Football Club.
Sgt Michele Birch, from Birmingham police partnerships, said: “We are so grateful to both these men for the time they dedicated to us during lockdown.
“Matthew suffers from an underlying health condition but was so keen to help those less fortunate than himself took extra precautionary measures to protect himself and others.”
“Khallaq went above and beyond for us, he was always one of the first to respond and his work getting more food didn’t go unnoticed.
“We really couldn’t have got through these uncertain times without all of our wonderful volunteers and I am so pleased both these men have both been recognised for their efforts.”
Paisley Hipkiss, Fundraising and Events Co-ordinator for the Aston Villa Foundation, said: “It was great to welcome the Community Champion winners to Villa Park.
“The Awards are a small way of giving back to people who have done some fantastic work in the local community and volunteered their time.
“Normally winners would be able to attend a match but obviously that isn’t possible this year, so we hope being able to come to Villa Park to receive their trophies is a fitting way to honour the work that they have done.”
All donated food was taken to a location in Edgbaston for three day sanitisation before being taken to the food banks.