Mark’s work with children lands him latest West Leeds hero award

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Mark Armitage

With only a few weeks left to run, the West Leeds Local Hero initiative is nearing its end for this year. So only a few more winners left to announce…..and this week’s shout out goes to Armley resident Mark Armitage, writes Katie Lowes.

Mark was nominated by his partner Jo Foster. She described the work he has done throughout lockdown supporting the children and families he works with as part of his role as a teaching assistant at the East SILC in Oakwood.

Alongside his “day job” of working with children on site, he also delivered work packs to around fifty children from across the city and sent video messages for the ones that were struggling. Jo added:

“He makes sure the children are safe and educated but also that they have fun too. He has comforted and reassured them. He talks about their achievements and sings their praises. A lot.

“I frequently catch him at home on his laptop looking for things that he knows they will like. And all this whilst he -like lots of us- has been at times terrified and bewildered about the pandemic and lockdown. I know there are scores of education staff out there -cooks, cleaners, personal care staff, escorts, break time assistants, admin, TA’s and teachers…and of course I thank them all.

“But I particularly want Mark to know that his huge efforts and commitment to providing safety, structure and some sense of normality for the kids has not gone unnoticed.”

On hearing he was a winner, Mark said: “This has been the most challenging time of my career but you don’t go into this wort of work unless you have the best interest of the children at heart. But hearing this news has put a great big smile on my face!”

The awards are run by Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves. She added: “Huge congratulations to Mark. His commitment to the pupils and families in his care is inspiring and he is a worthy winner of this weeks West Leeds Hero award.”

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