England & Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland Democracy, devolution and governance

UNISON’s Champions Day



The LGIU is proud to support UNISON’s Champions Day, which celebrates local government workers and all they do for local communities and services. We heard from Sarah Pearce, the Assistant National Officer at UNISON leading their Local Service Champions Campaign, who told us a bit more about how it all works and how you can get involved. UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members. They represent people delivering local government services, employed by local councils and private companies.

This Wednesday, 18 October, our Champions Day returns, a day designed to raise the profile of local government workers and highlight how much we appreciate them and the work they do. All year, local authority staff play their part in holding our communities together, supporting us through every stage of our lives – this is the perfect opportunity to recognise and celebrate their contributions. 

UNISON’s Local Service Champions Campaign celebrates and defends local government workers for the everyday heroes they are. Local government has been an easy target for cuts and many councils are facing financial strain. We need our members, their friends, colleagues and neighbours to help us defend it. People working in local services go beyond the call of duty to keep the country going, yet their efforts have often been overlooked. UNISON aims to raise the profile of these unsung heroes and everything that they do, through our Champions Day, but we need your help to get the message out there and we’d like to encourage you to recognise the Champions in your local services.

How to get involved

Refuse workers, environmental health inspectors, youth workers, library workers, care assistants and many more who deliver vital local services, all deserve to know just how much their work is appreciated.

Our Champions Day resource online has some great ideas about how to get involved. Some of them require a little advanced planning, but we have some ideas you can use to support local government as we celebrate them this week.

  • Bring in a plate of treats that can be shared within an office.
  • Look back through customer’s/colleague’s comments about staff and include them in a thank you card, or in a ‘word cloud’ certificate.
  • Contact your local UNISON branch to see how you might profile the work of a couple of your local champions so that the public finds out about the important work that they do.
  • Encourage the chief executive/heads of department to send a thank you note and suggest they plan in a few hours shadowing their staff to help them appreciate the work they do in the coming weeks.
  • Share your own photos and videos of the champions where you work on social media, telling everyone all about the amazing work they do.
  • Use your Twitter and Facebook accounts to promote the day. Follow us on social media for the latest updates and to spread the word – just remember to use the hashtag #ChampionsDay.

Colleagues working in schools can also recognise the work of school support staff in Stars In Our Schools, which is running on 24 November.

If you happen to read after 18 October, it’s never too late to thank a local government worker for the work they do. And it’s never too early to plan ahead for next year.

UNISON’s Local Service Champions Awards 2024.

Keep an eye out for UNISON’s Local Service Champions Awards, which launch on Thursday, 7 December 2023. These annual awards, judged by an independent panel of judges from the local government sector,  give everyone the opportunity to nominate their own local government champion. Follow @UNISONinLG for future announcements!


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