UNISON is recognising unsung heroes for their contribution to the community by launching lifelike action figures of council workers
Each ‘everyday action hero’ figure comes complete with outfit, props, and comic strip designed by a renowned Marvel artist
The limited-edition figurines include a community care worker, lollipop lady, librarian and refuse worker
The union is raising awareness of the important role local councils play in providing essential services
Care workers, crossing wardens, librarians and refuse workers – they’re among the unsung heroes today (Thursday) being recognised for their role in our communities.
UNISON, the UK’s largest union, has immortalised these neighbourhood stars as realistic action figurines, recognising them for their tireless work delivering the local services day after day that many either take for granted or fail to notice.
The exclusive superhero figures have been created with advanced 3D printing technology in the exact likeness of specially chosen council workers from English and Welsh local authorities.
The collectibles come complete with fully moveable limbs, dressed in their work outfits and feature accessories that mimic the real-life tools of their trade.
UNISON’s four ‘everyday action hero’ figures are:
Residential care worker Denise who is dressed in her uniform and carrying a service tray
Crossing warden Sandy head-to-toe in fluorescent colours, complete with the familiar ‘lollipop’ stop sign
Librarian Emma accessorised with a trolley of books
Refuse worker Richard equipped with a mini wheelie bin.
Each limited-edition action figure is housed in an individually designed box featuring comic artwork bringing the character to life, based on the duties of each of the workers.
Designed by renowned Marvel artist Will Sliney, the packaging and an accompanying cartoon strip detail how each of the workers – like so many council staff – are everyday heroes in their local authority areas.
Crossing warden Sandy Cox said: “It’s absolutely amazing to see myself in action hero form. The figures are so lifelike.”
“Workers like me love what we do, and I’m so proud to make an important contribution to the community.“
UNISON hopes the creation of the action figures will encourage the public to think more about the vital role council workers play in their local communities and appreciate them more.
UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Council staff are incredibly passionate about their roles at the heart of communities. But all too often their contributions are overlooked, which can be frustrating for key workers who just want to do all they can to help others.
“For many local authority employees, demands are increasing while council budgets are squeezed. Turning them into action heroes is a great way to put the focus on their superhuman efforts.”
Around 1.3 million people work in local government across England and Wales. Councils provide a vast range of services including planning, waste collection, environmental health, libraries, parks, youth work and social care.
Notes to editors:
– Images are available here.
– Participants in the project were:
Sandy Cox, 56, lives near Doncaster and has been a crossing warden for Rotherham Council for nine years. She has also been a dinner lady at Maltby Lilly Hall Academy for twelve years. She said: “I don’t think people fully realise all the valuable work councils do. It’s like when you see swans gliding along but underneath there’s furious paddling going on to keep things moving. I really love my job and I’m very proud to do what I do. I’m so passionate about road safety and I think there’s a lack of understanding about it for many younger people. There’s no longer a focus on the green cross code, which is why we’re so essential. And I’m not just helping the children across the road. I’m also helping the parents, the carers and the grandparents. I can’t stop looking at my action figure. It’s amazing. It’s like I’ve been turned into a Madame Tussauds waxwork and shrunk!”
Emma Braker, 35, lives in Birmingham and works for Birmingham City Council at Sutton Coldfield library. She’s been assistant library manager for four years and prior to that she was a library assistant for twelve. She said: “I feel really passionate about the importance of libraries. Their significance is so often overlooked. There’s a stereotype that we’re there to stamp books but really, we act as a hub for loads of different services. It’s anything and everything. We could be lending an ear when people are having problems or providing IT support. They might need information about the local area, tourism advice or even help with the answers to their crossword puzzle. You never know what’s next, but I love it and I am very loyal to the library service. Because we’re front-of-house staff we do sometimes find people come to us with their frustrations. We have to be mindful of the situations they’re in and what they may be going through. We try to be as helpful and kind as we possibly can and point them in whatever direction they need to go. I think the figure is brilliant. I’ve shown it to family and friends, and they think it’s fantastic.”
Denise King, 40, lives in Dunstable and works for Central Bedfordshire Council providing residential care for adults with profound disabilities. She initially studied nursing but had to stop her training because of a health condition and moved into social care. Denise has completed two apprenticeships while at the council. She said: “I really love my job and I really like to help people. Even if I’ve had a really tough day I can look back and know that I’ve made a positive difference to other people’s lives. I think often there’s a view that everyone just expects council services to keep moving but they don’t really consider the people who make them run smoothly. It’s important they’re recognised.”
Richard Brace, 33, lives in Neath and has worked for Neath Port Talbot Council for more than nine years. He began as a litter picker, moved into the recycling team and after getting his HGV licence four years ago went on to bin collections. He said: “I think people just take council workers for granted and it’s like we’re working in the shadows. But once they talk to us and get an understanding of what we’re doing, they appreciate us more. There’s a lot of lifting and it’s hard work. We’re under a lot of strain both physically and mentally, because we occasionally get a hard time from some members of the public. But I really enjoy what I do. I absolutely love the action figure. It’s been a lot of fun working on this.”
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors. For more information visit unison.org.uk.
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The article Council workers assemble … ‘everyday action hero’ figures launched by UNISON first appeared on the UNISON National site.