Local heroes

2020 has seen many heroes rise in the community – often from unexpected places. Some are those who have been there all along, doing vital jobs we previously took for granted: carers, delivery drivers, rubbish collectors, teachers and many more – all suddently thrust into the the front line and carrying on regardless. Others are people who have found themselves doing things they perhaps never imagined they would be doing – putting regular concerns aside to help others. There are far too many to name, but we’d like to take a moment to celebrate just a few of them...

The Go-To Guy…

We asked around for people to nominate those who they felt had gone above and beyond in helping others – including contacting every Councillor in Peterborough. Many amazing stories came back, but one name featured prominently: Ishfaq Hussain. Here’s what Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald has to say about him:

‘I hereby nominate Ishfaq Hussain. He has worked non-stop to deliver essential supplies including PPE along with food, cooked meals and medicines to care homes and many individuals across the city. Ishy runs a successful car dealership but obviously this has been closed for quite some time now due to the lockdown and he has made best use of this situation by volunteering in the local community. He’s just quietly got on with it and I think he has got a real sense of personal satisfaction from helping others around him.’

So, on behalf of everyone, thank you to Ishfaq and all like him!

Here’s what other people had to say about his efforts:

I nominate him for being an absolute hero during lockdown. Helping to put together and distribute food to people in need, opening up his business for key workers to be able to get help to travel to work and, in doing all of this, bringing cultures and communities together to create an example of the best that multicultural Peterborough can and should be.’

‘He has helped out many people during the outbreak and has been a pillar for the community. He is a go-to guy for anything.’

‘This man has assisted people from all walks of life, he has inspired others to also help the people of Peterborough.’

‘He goes and above and beyond, he’s helped so many people. He’s been amazing.’

‘Goes beyond what is expected of the average citizen, also feeding 100 homeless people every day for 17 days straight and continuing to do so.’

‘Whilst we have all been in quarantine he has been out helping the vulnerable and less fortunate by providing them meals and food supplies. He is out risking his health by helping people in need.’

‘I went to school with Ishy and even then he was a kind and caring person. He goes above and beyond to help anyone who needs his help.’

‘Ishfaq has been working extremely hard on the front line helping the elderly and vulnerable in our city. He has coordinated with city businesses and individuals to provide hundreds of cooked fresh meals a week! He is Our Corona Super Hero!’

‘He’s worked very hard in the last 8 weeks and collected over £8,000 in donations to distribute to the less fortunate.’

‘Ishfaq has been been the backbone of this city. Since the pandemic the hard work he has put in to make sure so many vulnerable people have food to eat is very commendable.’

‘Every day this man helps, no matter what race, background etc. He treats everybody with the kindness, dignity and respect that we are all equal and deserve. This man is a hero, there have been so many heroes helping in many ways, so thank you to you all.’ 

PICTURED: Ishfaq (left) with Peterboroug MP Paul Bristow

Celebrating the Countywide Co-ordination Hub

Launched jointly by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council to support those most at risk from the coronavirus, the Countywide Co-ordination Hub marked its 100-day anniversary on 23 June

The hub launched in March to support residents identified as shielding and being of the highest risk from coronavirus. Currently there are 19,058 people on the shielded list for Cambridgeshire with 7,653 of these receiving regular help from the hub.

In its first 100 days the Countywide Hub has:

  • Delivered food packages to 2,782 residents. This includes 914 specialist food parcels
  • Attempted to contact, either on the telephone or on home visits, 4,934 people who the NHS believes should be shielding who the Government could not reach. Of these people, contact has been made with 3,732.
  • Referred 762 people to the Red Cross for befriending services
  • Responded to 5,915 calls from residents
  • Responded to 4,791 emails asking for help
  • Delivered PPE to GP surgeries, pharmacies, care homes and elsewhere
  • Launched a website specifically for residents who are shielding to allow them to learn new skills and keep busy whilst isolating
  • Launched a service which supports residents with everyday tasks such as gardening and essential DIY
  • Trained volunteers to work in places such as care homes where staff are in short supply
  • Supported hundreds of carers across the county

Adrian Chapman, service director for communities and safety for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire who is leading the work of the Countywide Hub, said: “We created the Countywide Hub from scratch at incredible pace, to be able to provide the support that so many of our residents needed at that time and still do. None of this would have been possible without the hard work of council staff, many of whom were redeployed into the hub from other council services, our partners including the district and city councils across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are delivering vital support services to their own communities, the support from our voluntary, faith and public sector partners and last but not least the 2,500 residents who signed up to volunteer their time to support the work of the hub.’

To contact the Countywide Hub visit: or

It can also be contacted Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and Saturdays 9am to 1pm on 0345 045 5219.

You can keep up-to-date with any changes to Council services on their websites:

Thank you, DJ Asif!

Peterborough councillor Councillor Asif Shaheed raised nearly £2,300 with a 26-hour music marathon as part of a campaign launched to support struggling UK charities.

His DJ session has now live-streamed on Facebook and he has so far raised £2,297 for SHINE which provides specialist support for people living with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus as well as to families, carers and professional care staff.

‘In my head I had £1,500 as a target. The figure that we currently at of £2,297 has exceeded my wildest expectations and I’ll be forever grateful to all of those that have contributed towards that.’

Donations can still be made at:

School helps frontline workers

Keen to play their part in supporting our critical frontline workers, staff at Queen Katherine Academy in Peterborough put their skills to good use by creating some much-needed PPE.

Teachers combined the old with the new, with Mr Shirley using modern machinery and technology to create face visors, while Mrs Shirley showed her handiwork with a good old-fashioned sewing machine to produce cotton facemasks and scrub bags.

The pair have now produced over 80 individual masks, bags and visors, which have been distributed to palliative care nurses, a GP surgery and local pharmacy.

Community spirit in action

Volunteers in Castor & Ailsworth organised themselves and set up a COVID-19 support group to provide help and assistance to vulnerable people and those isolating during lockdown.

In just five days, Tracey Blackmore, Helen Boulton, Jo Morris, Antonia Pounsett and Gill Vessey, got together (virtually of course), publicised the initiative and held 3 outdoor socially distanced briefing sessions, for the 80+ volunteers who stepped forward.

A big thank you from Aragon Services (refuse collection)

‘Thank you to all the residents of Peterborough for the kind messages of support to our bin men. We are finding cards, message, banners and gifts thanking the crews for their hard work!’

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