Michael Sheen says Pride of Britain awards shine a spotlight on amazing people

Actor Michael Sheen has praised the Pride of Britain Awards for “shining a spotlight on goodness” and called for us all to highlight more unsung heroes in our everyday lives.

The Welsh star, who is an Ambassador for the awards, says he marvels at the way the annual event lifts the nation and warms hearts.

But he believes it has the power to inspire people all year long to counter negative news and start highlighting stories of positivity.

“It is always an incredible experience to be part of the awards, to hear the stories of how ordinary people are changing lives and changing the world,” Michael, 50, whose girlfriend Lara, 25, gave birth to their daughter Lyra in September, said.

“We over-look and under value those who are helping others and it gives us a slightly skewed perception of what is going on in our communities.

"But every year the Pride of Britain Awards shines a spotlight on these absolutely amazing people – and it makes me wish we could do that every day.”

And Michael, who plays an angel alongside David Tennant’s hellish demon in hit series Good Omens , went on: “We need to focus on their brilliance, not on all the darkness. We need to celebrate the good and the positive, not just once a year but every day.”

Michael presented a Special Recognition award to Josh Littlejohn and Alice Thompson alongside film producer and social activist Ken Loach at the Pride of Britain Awards , in partnership with TSB.

Josh and Alice opened a sandwich shop which spread to become a global movement to eradicate homelessness.

The friends set up Social Bite in Edinburgh in 2012 but, when Big Issue seller Pete asked them for a job, they realised the scale and complexity of homelessness in Scotland.

Josh, 33, and Alice, 28, began encouraging customers to buy an extra sandwich or cuppa in advance, for a homeless person and donating profits to social causes.

Over the past seven years, the business has grown to include five cafes and a restaurant, with one in three staff members having experienced homelessness.

They also run Social Suppers which connect 400 vulnerable people every week and have built a Social Bite Village on reclaimed wasteland in Edinburgh. It offers shelter and community support to 20 homeless people at a time, helping them transition from the streets into a stable home.

In 2017 they launched Sleep in the Park which saw 8,000 people raise £4million.

This year the World’s Big Sleep Out will see 50,000 people including a host of celebs taking part in 50 different cities.

Josh said: “Our aim has always been to raise the national conversation on homelessness, to shine a political spotlight on it and raise funds to make a difference.

“We want to encourage compassion and humanity for people in really desperate situations and winning a Pride of Britain Award is a fantastic way to get that message across.”

Alice, who now runs Social Bite’s youth programme and workshops said: “It’s incredible to be recognised and the award validates our efforts to make real and lasting change.”

Michael added: “The the most impressive thing is how committed Josh and Alice are about what they do and how the money they raise is used.

“The fund raising of Social Bite has been absolutely unbelievable and the scale of what they have been able to achieve going from one cafe to a global initiative is incredible.”

The Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards, in partnership with TSB, will be broadcast on ITV on November 5 at 8pm

Source: Read Full Article