Woman of Rochdale 2023 – Jenny Kennedy

Date published: 29 April 2023

Jenny Kennedy has been named as the 2023 Woman of Rochdale at the annual luncheon at Rochdale Golf Club on Friday (28 April).

Jenny, 70, was named the latest Woman of Rochdale by last year’s winner, Sarah Fitchett.

Announcing the winner, Sarah said: “The winner of the 30th Woman of Rochdale award is someone who her nominators say works tirelessly on projects that are close to her heart and is always giving of herself to support the community, and for this, she deserves the recognition.

“She has been described as ‘an amazing woman’ and ‘the woman who gets things done’, having a proven track record of helping vulnerable people, such as those who are in socially vulnerable positions and struggling in times of hardship. Others mention that she is there faithfully serving the community through the provision of equipment, meals, and food parcels.

“By participating in fundraising, she has gained overwhelming support enabling her to raise thousands of pounds for charities, whilst also supporting individuals, families, and groups, providing emergency support and setting up Go Fund Mes for families and individuals in need.

“Others have nominated her for her fundraising efforts in many areas from supporting the foodbank, community centres and community cafes to working to enable very sick children to spend more of their time left with their families

“This person has dedicated her time to so many young people and is still helping them today with her involvement with a local boxing group.

“Kindness is the Restoration of Hope……and she is the driving force. Despite her own health, currently not being the best, she continues to generously put others’ needs before her own.

“So today I would like to announce the winner of Rochdale’s 30th Woman of the Year; congratulations to Jenny Kennedy.”


Jenny Kennedy (left) being presented with the rose bowl by last year's winner, Sarah Fitchett
Jenny Kennedy (left) being presented with the rose bowl by last year's winner, Sarah Fitchett


Jenny, a former youth worker of over 30 years, was described in her nominations as “selfless and kind” whilst ‘going out of her way for anyone with no gain.’

Others described her as “the Queen of Heywood” and “a true legend of Heywood’s community.”

Many nominations cited her work as a youth worker, helping troubled teenagers and being a source of inspiration.

Jenny founded the Heywood Youth Link non-profit organisation, a one-to-one mentoring service for young people aged 10 and up. The service aimed to get young people back into education, training or employment as well as guide and support young people through any issues they may be facing.

Jenny is a very active member of the community, having founded the Restoring Hope charitable group for local causes with fundraising postman Steven Kay a few years ago. Through this, thousands of pounds have been raised for the local foodbank.

Through Restoring Hope, Jenny has also helped those in need or less fortunate in many ways, from sourcing furniture and renovating houses for struggling families or those who have fallen on hard times, be it clothing or food. Restoring Hope has also contributed towards repairing St Luke’s clock tower, and supported the family of Callum Riley after his death.

Jenny also runs a food pantry and works with the community café from Darnhill Library, as well as giving up her weekends to help those in need, from children, families, elderly and people living alone without any judgement. 

Last year for her 70th birthday, she asked for donations so she could host a big Christmas day dinner, which fed over one hundred people.

Jenny has also recently helped set up a boxing programme at Back of the Moss Community Centre for young people to help reduce antisocial behaviour in Heywood. She also regularly collects in Morrisons.

The luncheon is held annually for Springhill Hospice in celebration of the Women of Rochdale and was sponsored by Mike Goldrick Window Blinds this year.

It honours the woman who, initially through public nominations and then by final analysis by the ‘Women of Rochdale’ Committee, is considered to have contributed the most to the community of Rochdale.

Other nominees this year included Kimberley Ashworth, Ellen Wintle-Yates and Danielle Burke.

Toastmaster for the day was Alan Calow whilst guests were entertained by violinist Ola Brewster, a caricaturist and singer Aleya Mae.

Performance Doorset Solutions sponsored the entertainment and Recruitment Solutions sponsored the raffle.

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