A HARDWORKING community group have received double praise for their efforts to support the borough's lonely and vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

Over recent months the Supporting Sisters organisation has been carrying out a range of actions to provide help to people across Bury.

This has included delivering food parcels and meals to vulnerable residents, as well as supporting mental health, hosting virtual coffee mornings and tackling loneliness in young and old alike.

In recognition of their incredible work, Supporting Sisters recently received a letter of thanks, on behalf of The Queen, from the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, and another from the High Sheriff.

Samia Farid, the group's chairwoman, also received a High Sheriff Recognition Award for her "outstanding activity and services to the community".

In his letter, Sir Warren J Smith, HM Lord Lieutenant in Greater Manchester, said Supporting Sisters' contribution to tackling the pandemic 'would not be forgotten'.

He added: “What you have achieved by sourcing and delivering food parcels to the most vulnerable members of the community in the borough of Bury has made a tremendous difference to the recovery in Greater Manchester."

Dr Eamonn O’Neal, High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, added his thanks in a letter praising the group's ‘thoughtful service’ to the people of Bury and the region through their 'exceptional work recognising the effects of loneliness and lack of integration'.

He also invited members of the group to attend a High Sheriff event after the end of lockdown to 'celebrate appropriately'.

Supporting Sisters was founded in May 2019 to boost the mental health and wellbeing of people in the north of Bury.

It also aims to raise awareness on hate crime, help overcome extremism and domestic violence, and support and build cohesion, integration and resilience in the community.

The coronavirus outbreak and lockdown created a new set of challenges for the group, but members of Supporting Sisters jumped into action.

From April they began making and delivering food parcels and hot meals in the Moorside area, on a weekly basis.

This quickly grew to provide support throughout the entire borough.

During lockdown the group have also tailored 300 face masks, which were donated to key workers, and set up weekly virtual coffee mornings to bring together women from across Bury.

They also turned their attention to men’s mental health and brought struggling people together to restore a community garden in Moorside.

And they then hosted a socially-distanced street interfaith Breaking of the Fast event, and a Great Get Together outdoor event in memory of the late MP, Jo Cox.

Last week, they prepared and delivered 80 care packs ­— containing items including scented candles, face masks, hand creams, cups and refreshments ­— to women across the borough who have been accessing their services during the pandemic.

To further help tackle racism Supporting Supporting hosted two virtual workshops in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

And this week they delivered a Remembering Srebrenica event to raise awareness on the genocide that took place in Bosnia 25 years ago.