From 2014 to 2019 Sharon was president of the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester. She was the sixth woman to hold the role and oversaw a period of modernisation of the organisation and a change in constitution. In 2017 Sharon was awarded a British Empire Medal for her community work.
Sharon began her working life in the Civil Service, working as a clerical officer in social security in 1971 and sickness benefit in 1975. From 1983 Sharon began a career as a youth worker, based in a community centre in Hillock Estate and for North Manchester Jewish Youth Project from September 1995.
As a child, Sharon was an active member of the Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade, which she joined in 1965. In later years, this became another field for voluntary work when she represented Evolve (the volunteering branch of the brigade) on the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester.
Paul went blind when Sharon was 11 years old. This experience began a career in public service as Sharon started to volunteer for the Manchester Jewish Blind Society. Her father had to give up his barber’s shop at the age of 38 due to his sight loss. Because of this, Sharon left sixth form college after two terms so she could contribute financially to the home.
Sharon Bannister was born Sharon Weiner in 1953 in Manchester. She grew up in Crumpsall with her mum Ruth, dad Paul and brother Stephen. Three generations of her family had been born in Manchester, but the origins of the family tree are in the Russian Empire and Holland.