Great grand mum Dena Murphy has scooped a highly prestigious Pride of Britain ‘Community Hero’ award in recognition of her efforts working with offenders on Community Payback.
The 92-year-old, from north Manchester, has earned the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain accolade for the work she does in her neighbourhood.
Community-minded Dena helps run a luncheon club for the elderly and grows veg on an allotment in New Moston. During the pandemic she has helped feed 120 elderly residents a week with fresh food.
While there exists considerable social stigma around offenders, Dena’s view has always been that the best way to stop crime is by supporting those who have got into trouble to make positive changes to their lives so that they don’t reoffend.
The Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company (CGM CRC) supervises people on Community Payback orders made by the courts and in normal years more than 500,000 hours of unpaid work are delivered across the region each year. Dena is one of many volunteers who work with men and women on unpaid work orders, but the only one in their 90s…
Dena, speaking on tonight’s Pride of Britain Show after having received the award from Coronation Street stars Jenny McAlpine and Anthony Cotton, said: “I think it’s the first time in 30-years that I’ve cried.
“I love working in Moston to support people and am very touched by the award.”
CGM CRC’s Community Payback supervisor Richard Walters, who has worked for the company for 13-years, runs a Saturday group of up to 10 service users at the New Moston Allotment. Dena volunteers with the group, showing people how to prepare the soil, sow seeds, care for the plants and harvest them.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted Dena has got this recognition; I can think of no-one else more deserving. It is such a pleasure working alongside Dena and everyone involved in the project looks forward to spending time with her.
“It’s obviously a pain for service users to have to give up their Saturdays to carry out unpaid work, it is a punishment after all. But it is also a way for people to learn new skills, to develop and to progress.
“Dena helps so much because she always gives a listening ear, she takes an interest in everybody’s troubles, and it’s obvious to everyone that she genuinely cares about people. It means our service users actually want to attend the allotment.”
The group has been running in various guises since the 1990s.
Richard said: “Dena puts in a great deal of effort to see that people feel at ease, feel welcomed and to know that their efforts are appreciated.
“There are many occasions where she’s helped people who were down. One man had lost his house and car and was in a bad way. He had almost 300 hours of unpaid work to complete and spent it all at the allotment and he felt that Dena’s support helped him turn a corner.
“Dena exudes confidence. I cannot thank her enough for the role she plays, she doesn’t view people as criminals but rather as people who have the chance to wipe the slate clean and contribute something good to society.”
To see the footage of Dena, please click.