Scarborough woman crowned UK Smile Maker for her service to local community

Rainbow Centre manager Trish Kinsella has won a nationwide competition for bringing a smile to Scarborough during the coronavirus pandemic.

Friday, 12th February 2021, 2:15 pm
Trish Kinsella has won Specsavers UK Smile Maker

Trish was nominated for the Specsavers UK Smile Maker award for being a vital support system to people struggling in Scarborough.

The support Trish and her team at the Rainbow Centre offer has been deemed ‘second to none’ and integral to helping people make significant changes in their lives, supporting the reduction of re-offending and helping to maintain stability in service-user’s lives.

"I was overwhelmed to discover that I had been nominated," Trish said. "I had no idea about it and to win is just amazing. We just do the work we feel is needed and get on with it, but it is so kind and the whole team are also really pleased."

Trish sat at one of the busiest desks in Scarborough

The centre was initiated 25 years ago by local vicar, Bob Jackson. Having worked there since 2000, Trish has seen the centre grow into a fundamental support system.

Trish said: "We are so much more than just a food bank - we are a drop-in community support hub. We help those who have lost their job, who are homeless, young families who struggle to make ends meet, the bereaved, those struggling with alcohol and addiction, and we even provide everything down to school uniforms which are purchased with the help of the Amicable Society.

"I absolutely love the work I do. It’s my passion. As manager, I oversee the work we do – but it is a full team effort, I can’t take all the credit. We aren’t a big team, but we are a brilliant team.

"We could not do what we do without the staff, volunteers, partner agencies, supermarkets who donate food, fundraisers and those who donate other items.

Happy to help wherever she's needed.

"We aren’t heavily funded, so we rely on the kindness of people. Especially our volunteers, they don’t have to do it, but they know there’s such need for our help and support."

Covid-19 saw many challenges for Trish and the Rainbow Centre, but it didn’t stop the vital support that the team offer.

Despite the initial food shortages and struggle to buy goods, the centre and its team still managed to provide 1,200 food parcels to those in need over Christmas.

Trish said: "The Covid-19 restrictions have been really tough on us. But, it’s been a learning curve and we never closed as there’s too much of a need.

"We adapted and did food deliveries instead and still saw clients in a safe way – even though the centre didn’t resemble its usual self – our gardens, showers, TV room and other facilities had to close.

"We struggled to get food at first with the panic buying and the delivery slots were all taken. Thanks to the generosity of supermarkets who donated food, we came through it and were even still able to deliver vital necessities."

As well as receiving the Smile Maker award, Trish won a one-to-one video call with celebrity father and son TV and radio stars and ITV Sunday Best presenters Martin and Roman Kemp, as well as £1,000, which she will donate to the centre, and a glasses voucher to spend in her local Specsavers store.

"This year has been tough but people like Trish, who has been so generous in her commitment to the Yorkshire community, make such a positive difference," said musician and actor, Martin Kemp.

"We were thrilled to be able to virtually meet Trish, learn about her incredibly inspirational work and say thank you for her service making people smile."

Capital Breakfast host and presenter Roman added: ‘It’s been fantastic being able to read all the stories of community heroes throughout the country. Seeing people coming together to give back to others in a time we need it most has been inspiring.

"Trish is a very deserving winner and my dad and I loved chatting with her about their incredible work in Scarborough. Hopefully we made her smile in return!"

Peter Rooke, retail director at Specsavers Scarborough added: "The Specsavers Smile Maker competition has done a wonderful job of shining a light on those who have continued to make us smile when we have needed it most. I couldn’t be more thrilled that Trish has been crowned one of the winners – she is a true community hero."