Earlier this year, UK residents were asked to nominate ‘hero’ tradespeople in their area who have gone above and beyond to help their community with their generosity. From those nominations, SGS Engineering shortlisted seven finalists for a public vote.
In the end, James Anderson, from Burnley, received a huge share of the votes (70%), and will collect a £1,000 cash prize. Three regional finalists will also each receive a £250 cash prize.
Anderson has devoted his personal and professional time by setting up D.E.P.H.E.R, a free service designed to help elderly and vulnerable people struggling during the cost-of-living crisis. His work came to the attention of actor Hugh Grant, who donated £10,000.
In 2021, D.E.P.H.E.R and Anderson were awarded a Points of Light Award by the Office of the Prime Minister.
Visitors to the D.E.P.H.E.R Facebook group frequently see examples of Anderson's generosity, including free boiler repairs and installations for people in need, free emergency plumbing support for elderly and vulnerable people, and even purchasing shopping for homeless people.
Speaking upon receiving the award, Anderson said: "Thank you very much for nominating myself and D.E.P.H.E.R for this fantastic award, it is overwhelming, and it is humbling.
“From a business point of view, the people we help may not be family, we may not be blood, but we will continue to treat them as family, and we will always be here. As long as we have the power to deliver (our services), you will never ever be alone, and you will never be in the dark.
“This is for the people that we supply, the people that we offer support services to, and awards like this give us further power to help them.”
Anderson said that 'a lot of families’ would benefit from the £1,000 cash prize.
Band of Builders is the first runner-up, together with Ash Haynes from Bruno’s Eco Services, Swansea, Wales, and Darren McGee from DMG Services Group, Bellshill, Scotland.
Band of Builders is a volunteer group of trade professionals who have raised thousands of pounds and have been supporting local people by completing work for free.
Haynes responded to the cost-of-living crisis and the isolation brought on by the pandemic by offering to do gardening, cleaning and landscaping work for free, for those in need. He also offered up the time to talk to anyone who needed some company.
McGee runs DMG services, a Scottish roofing company who have gone above and beyond by offering free repairs for elderly people, and apprenticeships for unemployed people in the local area.?
Dave Gordon, General Manager at SGS Engineering, commented: “Congratulations to James and the three regional runners up on their fantastic work and their well-deserved prizes – to choose to go out of your way to be kind and generous should be applauded by people up and down the country.
“Last year, we created the Local Hero Awards to highlight wonderful work done by thoughtful plumbers, builders, electricians, joiners, gardeners, and mechanics who often go under the radar when performing generous acts that help people in their community.
“We again thank the tradespeople who were nominated for their great work, and congratulations again to James, the runners up, and the other finalists who deserve their recognition.”
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