A volunteer who set up a sustainable food exchange initiative on the Isle of Wight in response to the Coronavirus pandemic has received Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s daily Points of Light award.
Holly Maslen, from Bembridge, created the ‘Green Island Veg Economy’ (GIVE) Facebook Group – enabling more than 7,000 people across the Island to share their surplus home-grown fruit and vegetables with the most vulnerable during the pandemic.
Holly was inspired to set up the initiative at the start of lockdown to help foster a community spirit and assuage fears over food shortages, as well as a way of building on the Isle of Wight’s UNESCO Biosphere designation in 2019 by promoting a culture of self-sufficiency. Several stalls are now in place across the island for residents to drop off and pick up surplus produce.
Johnson: Sown the seed of community action
In a personal letter to Holly, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“With your ingenious Green Island Veg Economy, you have sown the seed of community action allowing thousands to share their home-grown produce and help nourish the most vulnerable in society.
“I hope that your brilliant initiative continues to flourish for a long time to come.”
Maslen: “Incredibly surprised, but honoured, to receive this award”
Reacting to the Prime Minister’s announcement, Holly said:
“I am incredibly surprised, but honoured, to receive this award. ‘Green Island Veg Economy’ was set up in response to the uncertainty we all faced during the pandemic.
“I felt it was important to help make communities more self sufficient and at the same time create a new economy which didn’t involve money.”
The Prime Minister’s UK daily Points of Light award was first launched in April 2014 to recognise outstanding individuals making a difference where they live.
Holly is the 1446th person to be recognised. As the UK unites to fight the spread of coronavirus, the award is focusing exclusively on people serving their community through the pandemic.
Well done to Holly and all who have embraced the GIVE culture. We’ve been following the Group since its very beginning and have loved seeing the immense community spirit. Ed
News shared by Jake McBride on behalf of Dept for DCMS. Ed