These are the finalists for The Outstanding Contribution to Earliest Years of Life Award, sponsored by Better Start Bradford.

The finalists for this award are Michaela Duffy, West Yorkshire Scouts - Bradford Squirrels, and Danuta Petrie.

Danuta Petrie

Danuta was nominated by volunteer colleague and friend Vicki Jubb, who described her as a “true inspiration”.

Vicki said: “Danuta has played an important role in the lives of so many young children in Bradford. Initially as a teacher in Bradford, then as a special needs teacher at St Edmunds Nursery.

“During her retirement, Danuta has helped establish and run Bradford Baby Bank, a charity which supports vulnerable young families providing essential items to babies and children under five in Bradford.” 

Danuta said: “I could not have predicted that most of my career would have been in Early Years. Every day was full of new experience, new challenges, and complete job satisfaction.

"In retirement I continue to support the vital development of young children but in a different way through my role in Bradford Baby Bank.

“Should I be so lucky to be given the award I wish to say that I have always been part of a team, whether in a school or now within Bradford Baby Bank. The wonderful team at Bradford Baby Bank is vital in supporting so many families in Bradford and I am very proud to be part of it.”

West Yorkshire Scouts - Bradford Squirrels

Bradford Squirrels were put forward by County Youth Commissioner for West Yorkshire Scouts Toby Hammond.

He said: “We have started over the last two years opening new provisions for four to six year olds called Squirrels in Bradford, to help young people gain skills for life at a time when it matters most and where it’s most needed.” 

He said: “The one hour session each week is a brilliant opportunity for young people to take their first step into being part of Scouts. The sessions are packed with outdoor activities, fun, games, badges, laughter and so much more to help our youngest members learn the skills they need for life. 

“We have opened Squirrel dreys in some of the hardest to reach communities in Bradford.

He added: “We now have over 12 Squirrel dreys running weekly sessions to our young people in Bradford which is well over 288 young people taking part in our session each week. This is some of the best/ fastest growth in the UK for Squirrel Scouts.” 

After the group reached the finals he said: “It is a real pleasure for all our amazing squirrels volunteers across Bradford to be recognised as a finalist for the Community Stars Awards.

Michaela Duffy

Michaela Duffy was put forward by her partner Kyle Whitaker who said: “She’s fantastic and always wanting to go the extra 110% even on her off day.”

He described her as an outstanding member of the community centre where she works, and said she also ran a playgroup and had helped develop a group for children with disabilities. 

He stressed she “just absolutely loves the community she works in”.

Michaela said she was overwhelmed to have been nominated - let alone made it to the finals. She thanked everyone who had voted for her. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: QR code to vote for Bradford's Community Stars Awards finalists for 2023QR code to vote for Bradford's Community Stars Awards finalists for 2023 (Image: Newsquest)

Finalists for Bradford's Community Star Awards

For 2023's awards, there are 10 categories in total.

Click the category to find out more about each finalist

How to vote

To vote for your local hero, please visit or scan the QR code.

Voting will end at midnight on Tuesday, November 21.

Speaking on the selfless work highlighted in the awards, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford Council, said: “We are fortunate that across the Bradford district we have many kind, compassionate and generous people who make a selfless contribution to their communities and have a huge, positive impact on our district. 

“There are some absolute stars in our community and it is great that these awards shine a light on these brilliant people and give them the thanks and recognition that they deserve.”