Say a big thank you to your winter heroes!

People in Leeds are being encouraged to take part in this year’s ‘Big Thank You’ campaign which launches this week and runs until the end of March 2020.

The campaign aims to recognise the dedication and hard work of all those across Leeds who go above and beyond to help people during winter and throughout the year. It gives people a chance to recognise the city’s unsung heroes from all walks of life, such as unpaid carers, neighbours and community groups, as well as organisations.

The campaign is supported by the city’s NHS organisations, Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police (Leeds District), British Transport Police and community and voluntary organisations.

When the campaign ran for the first time last winter, over 1600 people took part, thanking everyone from family members, neighbours and work colleagues to refuse collectors, local shops and university tutors.

Rosie Brookes from Morley is one of those who took part to say a special thank you to the neonatal team at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

In 2018, Rosie and her fiancé Paul were expecting their first baby, but things didn’t quite go as they’d planned or hoped.

Rosie remembers: “In February, when I was 23 weeks pregnant, my waters broke and I had spontaneous premature rupture of membranes. I’d had a generally good pregnancy up to that point so it’s safe to say it came as a shock and wasn’t what I was expecting when I went into work that day!

“Ally hung on until he turned 24 weeks. He was born at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) weighing 660g (1lb 7oz). He spent just over 12 weeks in hospital, with about six of those weeks on a ventilator in the intensive care unit. He then spent a couple more weeks at the LGI, followed by several weeks in St. James’.

“As a family, we don’t like to dwell on our situation as we count ourselves to be extremely lucky. We do, however, think it’s incredibly important to continue to thank everyone who has supported us to the point we are at now.

“The Big Thank You campaign is a great way to celebrate one another. People can get caught in the negatives, and often forget to take time to say thank you for when things have gone well.

Rosie, Ally and Paul

“We want to thank Leeds Children’s Hospital, in particular all of the staff across LGI and St. James’ Neonatal Unit. To put it simply, they are the reason we are a family. Without them, we would not have Ally. They have been a constant and consistent support not only to Ally’s health needs, but to our emotional needs as a family.”

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Chair of the Health and Wellbeing at Leeds City Council, said: “We know that so many people in Leeds help keep each other and the city going throughout winter and all year round.

“This can be a tough time for many and demand on services increases, so saying thank you will really help to boost the morale of all those who give their time or work in a service that helps others.

“If you know a colleague, neighbour, friend or family member or an unpaid carer who has gone over and beyond for people, why not say a ‘Big Thank You’ to them – just visit the website

To help spread the word, the team will be attending a number of events over the coming weeks, including this Saturday at

  • HEART Community Christmas, Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre, Bennett Rd, Leeds LS6 3HN
  • Winter Solstice Open Stage and Market, Open Source Arts, Aire Place Mills, Kirkstall Rd, Leeds LS3 1JL

Find out more and say thanks today or use the hashtag #BigThanksLeeds on social media.