Lesley Ansell has always been there for families at Eldon Primary School when they’ve needed it
At some time or another we all need a little help, but might feel too embarrassed to ask for it.
That’s when you need someone like Lesley Ansell, who works at Eldon Primary School in Edmonton as a safeguarding and outreach officer. She’s worked at the school for around 25 years in a variety of roles, but has always been there to lend a helping hand to pupils and parents when they need it.
Lesley has helped find school uniforms, organised breakfast deliveries, signposted struggling families to where they can get financial and housing support, offered help during bereavements and, according to one parent, “often manages to turn tears of desperation into hopeful laughter”.
Lesley told the Dispatch: “I like to support families in need, in all sorts of ways – cooking, budgeting, organising. I think as I get older people start to think I’m their nan!
“Edmonton is an area of high deprivation and there is a lot of different need. It is easy to judge but until you find yourself in that situation, you don’t know what struggles people go through.
“It can be as simple as making a phone call for someone, if they don’t know where to go for help. When they are in genuine hardship and they don’t know how to access funding, sometimes I apply for grants to get them school uniforms and that sort of thing.
“If they don’t have family in the area it is nice to have someone who can be there to support them.”
Lesley was nominated as an ‘Enfield Community Hero’ by someone who didn’t wish to be named, but who has known Lesley through the school for many years and said: “She is on the end of the phone 24/7.
“Having spoken with many mums and dads it’s obvious that there’s no-one who doesn’t benefit from Miss Ansell’s kindness; she judges no-one and her discretion means that very little of what she does gets recognition.
“Eldon [Primary School] has an unsung hero for sure, who quietly goes about helping in so many ways. She is like everyone’s mum or favourite aunt.
“We would like to take this opportunity to shout out for Miss Ansell who does so much for so many. Eldon and its community are a better place with her.”
This article is the latest in our ‘Enfield Community Heroes’ series, sponsored by Edmonton Green Shopping Centre. Dispatch readers are welcome to nominate their own local hero – someone who has gone above and beyond to help support the local community. Simply email your nomination to [email protected].