Global award for Hastings mum who co-founded local Covid support HEART
Kim Batty, the Hastings-based single parent who co-founded the town’s mutual aid support group HEART, has been recognised for her work with a global award from the international media giant Nationbuilder.
Hailed by the firm as an ‘#Everyday Leader’, Kim set up HEART at the start of the Covid pandemic, recruiting a team of more than 1,000 volunteers to help people during lockdown.
She was awarded a cash prize of $500 and an award of $1,000 from the US firm to support HEART’s work going forward.
“It’s flabbergasting,” said Kim, who now works full-time for the organisation she founded. “It was a complete surprise and quite overwhelming”.
Kim fought off tough competition from community leaders around the world to be recognised by the media software giant. Other winners included a top intensive care surgeon in Chicago, the director of a housing charity for women and children in Los Angeles, and a leading volunteer at PACT in South London.
In just a year, HEART has become one of Hastings’ most active community groups, marshalling hundreds of volunteers working at vaccine centres, as well as driving people to get their jabs, getting supplies for elderly or vulnerable people who can’t get out, delivering food parcels for Hastings Foodbank, telephone befriending and much more.
“I was put forward for the award by my fellow co-founder at HEART, Alastair Fairley,” says Kim.
“He didn’t say anything until I’d won. It’s an amazing recognition but it’s not just for me – none of this could have been done without the incredible support from our community here in Hastings. They’re the true stars.”
Hastings HEART is a grassroots network of community volunteers willing to be called on to help people, organisations and projects across Hastings.
HEART stands for the Hastings Emergency Action Resilience Team and, since its founding in March 2020, has been a leading light in the town’s Community Hub, the network of NHS, Council and voluntary organisations co-ordinating Hastings’ response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
While lockdown is easing, the Hub is continuing its work, addressing key town issues including the vaccination programme, as well as wider social, health, wellbeing, employment and environment challenges impacting the lives of people here.
For more information about HEART, or to request help, please visit their website at www.hastingsheart.com or call them on 01424 235290.