Stockton-on-Tees' local heroes honoured
The unsung heroes of Stockton-on-Tees have been thanked for the positive difference they make to local communities.
In his final engagement the outgoing Mayor, Councillor Mohammed Javed, commemorated the winners of each of the seven Civic Award categories at the Council's Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, 26 May.
Councillor Javed said: "So many people in our Borough have stepped up to support others during what has been a particularly challenging year.
"The high standard of nominations was a reminder of the strong community spirit that we're so proud of and we had to award some joint winners this year.
"It was an honour to recognise these exceptional people and thank them for the positive difference they make to our communities."
Alfie Smith - Young Person Award
Throughout 2020, Alfie, 14, delivered positive letters to his neighbours, wrote two poems, and ran a cake stall raising £180.05 for the NHS. Alfie has been diagnosed with septo-optic dysplasia, a visual impairment, a pituitary hormone deficiency and autism. Although he's had to overcome many barriers, he always thought of others and worked hard to spread messages of hope.
Sam Grogan - Young Person Award
At 15 years old, Sam has gone above and beyond to support others. During the past year he provided takeaways for key workers including hospital, police and school staff, delivered PPE and raised an incredible total of £4,440.78 for local charities. Sam also hosted virtual events to lift community spirits and holds monthly giveaways with help from local businesses.
Julie Cooper - Service to the Community - Individual Award
Julie runs The Last Post and The Don Bar War Memorial Museum and Veterans Hub which is home to a range of war memorabilia. But more than just a museum, it provides a warm welcome to veterans, serving personnel, families and anyone else with a connection or interest in the Armed Forces.
Reverend Martin Anderson - Service to the Community - Individual Award
Reverend Martin Anderson is not only the Vicar at St. Mary's and St. Michael's Churches but also a key community figurehead for the Norton community. During the pandemic he organised volunteers to help deliver food parcels and collect prescriptions. He is working with Bright Minds Big Futures to make Norton environmentally friendly and supports The Forge, a newly opened eco-friendly shop.
Bright Minds Big Futures (BMBF) - Service to the Community - Groups and Organisations Award
Bright Minds Big Futures (BMBF) is a nationally award-winning youth-led movement, working to make the Borough a great place to grow up. Among their achievements they have used social media to support the health and wellbeing of young people during the COVID-19 pandemic, took ownership of an allotment with Cultivate Tees Valley to grow produce for the local community, and secured funding to purchase mobile water stations to reduce single-use plastics.
The Low Hartburn Residents' Association (LHRA) - Service to the Community - Groups and Organisations Award
The Low Hartburn Residents' Association (LHRA) works tirelessly to make Low Hartburn a wonderful place to live and bring the community together, from supporting residents to organising family fun days. Previously the association raised funds to purchase a defibrillator for the community and at Christmas time organised for Santa to visit and give gifts to children in the area.
Irene Jessop, Irene Jessop Funeral Service - Service to the Community- Business Award
During the pandemic, Irene has innovatively used her business to boost morale. At Halloween, she transformed a hearse into an eye-catching spectacle of colour and light and at Christmas it was transformed into the famous Hogwarts Express from Harry Potter which brought fun and positivity to the community.
Fiona Joseph, The Pop Up Shop, Yarm - Service to the Community- Business Award
The Pop Up Shop Yarm was set up by Fiona to help bring small businesses and customers to Yarm High Street. While the shop was closed due to the pandemic, Fiona looked for other ways to support the local community and linked up with local charity Little Sprouts Health and Wellbeing to transform the space into an essential food hub, donation and collection point. When restrictions lifted, the Pop Up Shop continued to collect food donations for Little Sprouts and supported their Christmas Hamper Appeal.
Footsteps - Health and Wellbeing Award
A partnership between Eaglescliffe Medical Practice and Hartlepool and Stockton Health, Footsteps Youth Wellbeing Health Service is a one-stop shop where young people across the Borough can access a range of free, confidential advice and support if they are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing. Since opening its doors, the service has helped 580 young people to find support that meets their needs.
Gail and Mark Walker, Teesside Dementia Link Services - Health and Wellbeing Award
Gail and Mark have worked tirelessly to support people affected by dementia, their carers and families. As well as emotional support via phone calls and socially distanced meetings, during the pandemic they offered remote services such as dropping off craft packs, shopping for families, picking up prescriptions, and even made fish and chip deliveries on Fridays!
BTC Sunday Lunch Volunteer Group - Health and Wellbeing Award
BTC Sunday Lunch Volunteer Group serves hot meals to people in Billingham and delivered over 4,000 meals to elderly and vulnerable residents between May 2020 and January 2021. The volunteers have built great rapport with their regulars, many of who welcomed seeing a friendly face for a chat.
Cultivate Tees Valley (CTV) - Green Award
Cultivate Tees Valley (CTV) is an environmental organisation that works to grow food security and transform unused land into spaces where food is grown. CTV has a real passion for improving the lives of the people in Stockton and also uses art to revamp derelict spaces, up-cycling items that would normally go to landfill and educating children in youth centres across the Borough.
Flo Graham - Green Award
Eight-year-old Flo Graham is a young environmentalist striving for change in her local area. As well as picking litter on her daily walk to school, Flo is the face of the Council's 'Recycle Like Flo' campaign and features on recycling and refuse wagons, helping to spread important messaging around being green and recycling. She is passionate about the environment and making her local community a better place to live.
Jean Savage - Carer/Foster Carer Award
As a Supported Lodgings provider, Jean cares for young people aged 16 and over who are unable to live at home but are not ready to live independently. She supported a young person with a learning disability for over two years, offering practical and emotional support throughout. Jean's invaluable support helped to build their resilience and self-esteem enough to move into independent living.