ON Friday, November 24, we will celebrating the 11th annual Pride of St Helens Awards.

In last Thursday’s paper (in shops now) we published a 16-page supplement profiling each of the shortlisted nominees for this year's ceremony.

Throughout this weekend and next week ahead of the event at the Totally Wicked Stadium, we will be sharing our categories of nominees with you.

Here are your nominees for Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group Pride of St Helens Award – Community Impact category sponsored by Accord Wills.

Domestic Abuse WA12

St Helens Star: Emma and Debbie, from Domestic Abuse WA12Emma and Debbie, from Domestic Abuse WA12 (Image: Submitted)

AFTER both experiencing domestic abuse, survivors Emma Haselton and Debbie Taylor set up a charity called Domestic Abuse WA12 offering support they didn’t necessarily find when they were in the same situation.

Those leaving an abusive situation need support to help us leave and to ensure they and any potential children can be kept safe for them to rebuild their lives. After finding that available services were hidden or limited, not available to them or that there was a long waiting list they launched their own survivor-led support to help others in their recovery and journey to freedom after initially starting separate groups.

Since establishing in January 2022 they work voluntarily and are self-funded. When asked for rationale for nominating heroes, one person who nominated the charity said this: “When I first heard of Domestic Abuse WA12, I was at rock bottom, in the never-ending spiral of domestic abuse, “But when I sat in a room with two women who had also been through domestic abuse, I was listened to and validated.

“Now with support from them both and other members of the group I have built up my confidence again and now starting a degree.” They have certainly made a mark on the community in their first year and are worthy finalists for the Community Impact award.


Kellie Kean

St Helens Star: Kellie KeanKellie Kean (Image: Submitted)

FORMER Neonatal and Infant Feeding nurse of 15 years and mum-of-two Kel[1]lie Kean realised after the birth of her first child that she wanted to offer support to other parents to give them the best start possible.

After realising there was little to no support for her when she was on her own motherhood and feeding journey with her children, she decided to use her knowledge to offer a safe haven to other parents and founded Pitter Patter Tots in Eccleston.

It launched in 2019 and is a safe, relaxed and friendly environment where mums, parents and babies can spend precious time, learn skills, meet others and gain the support that might be needed throughout their pregnancy and postnatal journeys.

She has worked hard to complete the required training in all of the classes, which include baby massage and yoga, pregnancy and postnatal yoga, as well as support in infant feeding, tongue tie, colic and reflux.

Then last year, after being asked for more specific help with infant feeding, she opened Pitter Patter Clinic where she offers advice and also has other practitioners such as a women’s physiotherapist, a children’s physiotherapist, a clinical psychologist and a speech and language therapist as well as dietician input all available to people in St Helens and beyond.


St Matthew’s Pantry

St Helens Star: The team at St Matthew's PantryThe team at St Matthew's Pantry (Image: Submitted)

MUM-OF-TWO Sam O’Keefe started St Matthew’s Pantry two years ago after seeing the level of need in the area, and since then many volunteers have joined the cause.

The pantry in Thatto Heath was launched because Sam, from Prescot, says she “felt a calling from god to feed his people”. The pantry is a volunteer-led, affordable food shop for £4 per week, in a bid to help those in most need in the community. Anyone can access it and nominations cited how much it has helped in times of crisis.

However, despite this, Sam said she was shocked when the group were nominated for a Pride of St Helens award. She added: “I could see what was happening in the area and felt a calling from god to feed his people.

“But it is not just me, I have a fantastic team of volunteers who all work together to do what they can to help this community and I’m very proud of everything we do.

“We are shocked but incredibly humbled that people felt it right to nominate us for this award as we do what we do because we want to help others, so for others to feel compelled to nominate us means a lot. “It’s lovely knowing that the pantry is getting that recognition