A SWINDON councillor is up for a top gong after going above and beyond the call of duty during the pandemic.

Councillor Tim Swinyard launched the Swindon Support group at the start of the pandemic to help isolated and vulnerable people get through the lockdown.

Thousands signed up to form a volunteer army to do shopping for people who were unable to get out, or to call and check in on those who might be lonely.

Now the Conservative councillor for Lydiard and Freshbrook and parish councillor for Grange Park has been shortlisted for the Covid-19 Hero category in the 2020 Cllr Awards.

Coun Swinyard, said: “It was a bit of a surprise. Swindon Support is an online shopping service and mental health support – or if someone is lonely who needs company we provide that.

“I started the service at the beginning of lockdown as a lot of people were struggling so they wanted support or shopping done, so we had teams of people out doing that.

"This is my first time nominated for any kind of award. It was a surprise as it was never for recognition or anything, it’s very touching.

“I had a family the other day who were self-isolating so we did their shopping and we left it outside while taking a lot of precautions.

"Hundreds of people help out so we try and match someone to a volunteer so we are linking people up to make it easier. People can feel safe and confident with someone familiar to help them."

The 34-year old from Grange Park is up against seven other people in this category.

He said: “Around the town and the country there are a lot of people doing great work. I’ve certainly found so many people putting their hands up to help others. I’ve been speaking to a few others about how we can continue this. That spirit of people built up and how we can harness this when it’s over.

"It will be over, it will end, so we need to make sure this goodwill is harnessed to carry on to improve things for the future.”

More than 200 councillors were nominated across nine categories for the national awards, which will be handed out on November 26. They include the coveted community champion, leader of the year and young councillor of the year awards.

For more about Swindon Support see www.swindonsupport.uk