COMMUNITY CHAMPION: Individuals from around the district who take action to improve the lives of their fellow citizens, for example through campaigning for good causes.

TIRELESS work in helping members of the Ukrainian and other Eastern European communities in Keighley is what has earned Irene Cyhanko a place in the shortlist as community champion.

Mrs Cyhanko is always eager to help.

She organises and runs fortnightly lunches for the elderly where they have a proper cooked meal, and do things like seated exercises and play bingo.

She also organises the European Well Being Cafe which takes place every four weeks.

Mrs Cyhanko also acts as translator for the community and helps Ukrainian elders with forms and paperwork.

She also looks out for changes in their health as many of these people live alone.

Despite not being in the best of health herself, Mrs Cyhanko never lets it stop her from running the events she does.

At the European Well Being cafe Mrs Cyhanko gets the elderly attendees all up singing and dancing.

She motivates and encourages.

Recently she broke her foot and despite being on crutches with a cast on her leg this hasn’t stopped her maintaining the dinners and cafe for the older people of Keighley.

WHEN a project is being carried out in Esholt, near Shipley, chances are that David Harrison will be involved.

Mr Harrison has a number of volunteer roles within the village of Esholt.

He has taken on board the Council’s People Can aims and has been a force for change and improvement for the village.

He is chairman of Esholt in Bloom which was awarded the Gold Medal for the spring judging of the Yorkshire In Bloom competition.

The group has established a small greenhouse in the village and members grow their own flowers for this competition and organised community cleans-ups for this competition, including painting in the village.

Mr Harrison has also organised a group of volunteers to manage the Esholt car park opening and closing times.

Asking people to leave the car park in the evenings and taking responsibility for opening and closing the car park every day has reduced anti-social behaviour, flytipping, graffiti or the car park being taken over by travellers.

As well as this, he has supported the implementation of a defibrillator in the village pub.

To support the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race he organised a group of volunteers to paint the play equipment in Esholt Park in the Tour’s colours including buying the appropriate paint required for play equipment.

VOLUNTARY group the Anand Milan Centre was started more than 10 years ago by Bhagwan Mistry to get like-minded older people to come together on a self-help basis.

He initially started the Centre group from his home and subsequently the local church let him use the community hall for meeting sessions for the members of his community.

He has helped organise many activities and trips, including overseas, visits and trips to the seaside for the members over the years and ensured older people had the opportunity to integrate with other members of the community.

The centre provides activities like keep fit sessions, art and craft, musical events and other such activities which the older people find stimulating.

The centre also holds advice sessions on a number of subjects from health and well being to home safety and general awareness on many other issues.

Mr Mistry recently celebrated his 81st birthday and yet his commitment and passion for running the Anand Milan Centre continues.

The centre provides freshly cooked healthy meals to its members three times a week and also sends meals to disabled members who cannot leave their homes.

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