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Manchester student named Local Hero of the Year

21 Dec 2012

A Manchester student has been named Local Hero of the Year after a nationwide hunt for the UK's top community champions.

David Ward

David Ward, a postgraduate in the School of Mathematics, was picked out as the star of his local community in Manchester having been involved in a string of projects with individuals with learning disabilities, children from difficult backgrounds and the homeless.

Since 2008, David has been volunteering with Student Action Manchester, a volunteer organisation at The University Students’ Union.  It is a student led group that aims to integrate students with the local community. 

David was named Manchester’s Local Hero by an independent panel of judges in a competition run by Coca Cola. As part of his prize, the Coca-Cola Christmas van came to visit his home, delivering a trophy and a hamper full of goodies, including shopping and theatre vouchers and an iPad mini.

David is one of the co-ordinators for the Ladybarn Project, which involves providing activities for a group of teenagers with learning difficulties from around south Manchester.

He has arranged a number of trips to theatres, cinemas, restaurants and constantly finds new innovative ways to make his project even more successful.

His achievements also include completing a 55-mile sponsored walk on three occasions to raise much needed money for the project.

Away from the Ladybarn Project, David has organised Student Action’s homeless outreach projects which involve taking food and hot drinks to the homeless in the city centre.

David also finds time to volunteer at a Saturday club run by the Catholic Fellowship for people with learning disabilities.

Lindsay Gilbert, Head of Volunteering and Community Engagement at The University of Manchester, said: “David’s energy and enthusiasm has been an inspiration to the other volunteers.  David supports other volunteers by offering information and advice to help facilitate other projects. He always displays a high level of competence which puts all the other volunteers at ease. Student Action would not be in the strong position it is today without David’s amazing work.

“David never recognises what he does is so special. He is a purely selfless person and contributes positively to the community above and beyond what would normally be expected.”

David said: “I really don't think that I deserve it, however, it is nice for the work of Student Action as a whole to be recognised.”