A care worker from Bedfordshire is taking a central role in a new national campaign launched today to highlight the often unrecognised work of council workers.
UNISON, the UK’s largest union, aims to show the importance of more than a million unsung heroes employed in local government – including a crossing warden, refuse collector, care worker and librarian – who keep their communities running.
The 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 figurines have been created with advanced 3D-printing technology in the exact likeness of four specially chosen council workers from England and Wales.
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.
Residential care worker Denise King has been recreated dressed in her scrubs carrying a tray of food.
She said: “My whole team are all heroes to me. The example they are as to what a residential worker should be.
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.
Denise, 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.
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.”
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.
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 regional secretary Tim Roberts 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.