• Among the winners are Cannon Hall Farm, who kept the nation entertained with educational videos during lockdown, and a pub owner who used her wholesale supplies to help those in need
  • O2 rewarded winners who’d gone the extra mile for their communities during the lockdown
  • Winners received £1,000 and a top of the range smartphone

O2 has revealed the winners of its Everyday Heroes competition, rewarding individuals and businesses who made a difference to their local communities during lockdown.

The initiative, which sought to help businesses during this difficult time, saw hundreds of members of the public nominate deserving small businesses and enterprises who’d gone the extra mile.

The winners, who each receive £1,000 and a top of the range device from O2, are:

Rob Nicholson, Cannon Hall Farm, Barnsley

Rob’s team at Cannon Hall farm used their technological know-how to run Facebook Live videos showing their different farm animals, educating children on keeping animals and giving a behind-the-scenes look at what it means to run a farm. Those who nominated the farm said the lockdown videos had made a positive contribution towards their mental health.

Alison Slee, Braunton, Devon

Alison runs a hardware shop in Devon, and delivered essential hardware supplies to those who were unable to go to the shops themselves.

Suzy Keeping, Northampton

Suzy owns two pubs, and used her wholesale food contacts to deliver food to those in need. Network connectivity helped Suzy to harness the power of the local community in setting up her delivery service.

Emma Phillips, London

After hearing that NHS workers were finishing long shifts with nothing to eat while the supermarkets were barren of food and other essentials, Emma led a team that offered food to nurses and other medical staff, raising £1.7m in the process and delivering hundreds of thousands of meals.

Claire Thorne, Kinver, Staffordshire

Gift shop and café owner Claire set up a hotline to deliver food, prescriptions and other essentials in her community – even setting up a dog walking service.

Suzy, 25, said she was delighted to win the award: “I was really surprised and humbled to win O2’s Everyday Heroes award. I wasn’t a key worker, I wasn’t doing this every day, I was simply just trying to do my bit and help others. It’s an incredibly nice gesture that someone recognised me.

“Mobile played a pivotal role [in setting up the service]. It meant we were on call 24/7 and there were five or six of us on a WhatsApp group answering calls/messages. It meant that we were contactable straight away.

“Whether it was phone calls or FaceTime, or simply a text message to keep families updated, it was so important in bringing families closer to their loved ones who weren’t able to be there in person.”

Allie Lawson, Head of SMB Brand & Marcomms from O2 Business and judge, said: “The winners of O2’s Everyday Heroes competition are thoroughly deserving – it was impossible not to shed a tear as we read the hundreds of nominations from members of the public, and it conveyed the sheer heroic effort people have made to improve the lives of other people in their communities.

“The effort from small businesses during this incredibly tough time could not have been more impressive. Their can-do attitude shone through. Even though our winners’ businesses may have suffered during lockdown, they refused to give up, and instead channelled their efforts into helping the most vulnerable.

“O2 has always helped provide businesses with the technology and digital expertise to enable flexible working, improve connectivity and strengthen security, and this is more important than ever as we learn to adapt during the pandemic. We hope the prize offers a small helping hand to those who have made a huge contribution.”

Our first Everyday Hero is Suzy Keeping, watch her story in full here: spkl.io/SuzyHero

To learn more about becoming an O2 Business, visit http://www.o2.co.uk/business.

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 Notes to Editors

The winners were chosen from a selection of the best entries by a panel including independent judge Gavin Ellis, Director of the charity Hubbub, and three judges from O2: Allie Lawson, Head of SMB Brand & Marcomms; Nicola Green, Corporate Affairs Director; and Tracey Herald, Head of Partnerships and Social Impact.

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
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