Peterborough girl recognised as ‘lockdown hero’ in Openreach awards

Falak Shezadi donated pocket money to fund 100 meals

A 9-year-old girl from Peterborough has been presented with a Community Connectors Award by digital network provider Openreach in recognition for her support of vulnerable neighbours during lockdown.

Falak Shezadi (pictured above) received the award after she decided to donate her pocket money to provide meals for vulnerable local people. She funded more than 100 meals. Falak was nominated by Peterborough MP Paul Bristow.

Openreach launched the Community Connectors Awards in 2020 to recognise individuals and groups for their work supporting local residents and vulnerable neighbours during lockdown. More than 130 nominations from MPs across the UK were judged by the panel including Openreach engineers and former Culture Secretary, Baroness Nicky Morgan of Cotes.

Clive Selley, Chief Executive of Openreach, said: “We were inspired to launch the Community Connectors Awards by the efforts of our engineering team. The stories received from across the country have been inspiring and show how many people are working to make a difference and support their neighbours during lockdown.

“Falak hasn’t sought recognition but is a wonderful example to her community. I’m delighted and very grateful to be able to thank her for everything she continues to do to support the vulnerable in our society.”

Falak said: “Thank you very much for my award. I’m honoured to receive it. When I was donating my pocket money, I didn’t think I’d receive any award.”

Paul Bristow MP, who nominated Falak for the award, said: “I want to say congratulations to Falak, who’s been named one of Openreach’s Community Connectors. This nine year old Peterborough girl donated her pocket money to a local foodbank, helping during the Covid-19 pandemic. She makes me proud of Peterborough.”

As key workers, Openreach engineers have connected numerous field hospitals up and down the UK within days, also performing vital maintenance to keep families and businesses online and in contact during lockdown. Members of the engineering team have also camped out in remote parts of the UK to ensure local connectivity and volunteered in their spare time – performing roles including as delivery drivers for NHS blood supplies.

Openreach has a large training school in Peterborough, supporting more than 3,300 of our engineers who live and work across the East of England.