Wednesday 6th October 2021 – O2, in partnership with internationally renowned interior designer and entrepreneur, Kelly Hoppen CBE, has revealed the joint national winners of its Everyday Heroes competition, rewarding individuals and businesses who made a difference to their local communities over the last 12 months.
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 by flexing and adapting their businesses to support communities.
The winners, who each receive £5,000 cash, came out on top after a panel of judges and the public read about their tenacity and the wonderful work they have done to help support their local areas. The winners are:
Emma Rigby, Love Your Doorstep, Enfield, London
Emma used her extensive local network of volunteers, neighbours, charities and businesses built over the last 10 years to manage and organise an immense operation which saw them deliver hundreds of food packages and meals, transport medication and recruit over 600 volunteers in the region to ensure everyone in the Enfield Borough had access to support they needed.
Yasin El Ashrafi, HQ CAN CIC, Leicester
Record studio boss, Yasin, has shown his commitment to helping support young musicians and creatives in the Midlands over the past year, providing internships to 14 people who lost their jobs due to covid. As well as that, Yasin has extended the mentoring services that HQ CAN CIC provide to offer it to more people in need as he continues to build a real network and community of creatives in the region.
Kelly Hoppen CBE, interior design entrepreneur and former Dragon said: “It’s been a real joy hearing the stories of these amazing business leaders who are so committed to supporting the community around them. The fact there are two joint winners shows just how difficult judging the superb finalists’ entries was! Emma and Yasin couldn’t be more worthy of the honour.
“Emma’s tenacity, drive and passion is clear. She was determined in her mission to keep the community supplied with food and medication, and what was especially great to hear was the sheer volume of volunteers who came forward at such speed. Equally, Yasin was instrumental in keeping the arts accessible to the young people of the Midlands. His company brought so many people together and helped provide a space for creatives at a time that this industry was somewhat neglected.”
Emma notes that the money will really help them continue to support the local businesses and individuals who get so much out of the service: “It’s been a real team effort to keep things going over the past 18 months and it’s reaffirmed the sense of community and connection we’ve all needed to lean on at some point. I’m delighted to have received this recognition.”
When asked, Yasin said how delighted he is to have been crowned a national winner: “It’s been a hard year for everyone in the team as we’ve conquered technology, lockdown and disconnection. Technology has proved invaluable in ensuring we are able to continue delivering quality support and care to the most disconnected in our community and winning the £5,000 means we’re now able to secure even more equipment for our young creatives to continue doing what they love.”
Jo Bertram, Managing Director, Business & Wholesale at Virgin Media O2 and judge said: “Hearing from all of the small businesses and learning about the sheer level of support and joy they brought their communities over the last year has been truly inspiring.
“Small business leaders really are the backbone of local communities around the country so to hear of their determination and motivation to keep serving their local customers is heart-warming. Emma and Yasin are examples of individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, utilising technology in order to ensure they’re offering the best level of support. They show how a sense of community really has been a lifeline for many of us.
“O2 has always helped provide small businesses with the technology and digital expertise to help them flex and adapt, improve connectivity and strengthen security, and this is more important than ever as we continue to adjust to life through the continued pandemic. We’re incredibly excited to crown the overall winners and give them a helping hand to continue doing their great work.”
The tools available through O2 Business can help firms continue to adapt and grow their business as the UK continues to head out of lockdown. As flexibility continues to be more important than ever, customers can choose the ultimate flexible package with tariffs that give them the control and confidence to suit their evolving company needs.
The market-leading suite of flexible solutions includes automatic data rollover and flexible tariffs so customers can flex their data allowance up and down each billing cycle. As well as flexible add-on business apps such as Microsoft Office 365 so customers can stay productive no matter where they need to work, plus a range of business contract lengths, from a rolling 30-day plan, through to three years.
O2 Business packages also offer greater network security, with experts on hand to help with any technical issues.
To find out more about the national winners’ stories, visit https://www.o2.co.uk/business/everyday-heroes
To learn more about O2 Business, visit ttps://www.o2.co.uk/business/why-o2/flex-your-business
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Notes to Editors
Five regional winners were chosen from a selection of the best entries by a panel including independent judge Gavin Ellis, Director and Co-Founder of the charity Hubbub, and judges from O2: Jo Bertram, Managing Director, Business & Wholesale at Virgin Media O2; Allie Lawson, Head of SMB Brand & Marcomms; and Sandeep Raithatha, head of 5G, New Product Innovation and Wayra Engagement at O2. National winners were subsequently selected by the public via Twitter and the above panel, joined by Kelly Hoppen.