The Duchess of Northumberland helped celebrate the very best in community and voluntary environmental work across the county at a special LOVE Northumberland Awards ceremony last night.
Groups, organisations and individuals were honoured with winner or runner-up awards at the event, across a range of categories, and schools also received awards prizes.
Representatives of a number of highly commended entries also attended the uplifting event at The Alnwick Garden, which was supported by main sponsor the Banks Group and hosted by BBC Look North’s Carol Malia.
Best new project went to Broomley Meadow Project; best urban project to Briardale Community Centre; and best coast or countryside project to Hexhamshire and Slaley Parish Councils and the Friends of the North Pennines for Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers project.
The best young people’s project category was won by Tomorrow’s People for its Amble Works project and the best children’s project by Allendale Primary School for Allendale Village Trail.
The award for the individual whose efforts or commitment help to enrich the environment of Northumberland was presented to three winners this year. Aileen Barrass works within the local community in Blyth, working with young people as a volunteer for over 10 years. Douglas Renton works within the local community in Belford and was awarded for his dedication to Belford Woodland Project. Dennis Peel, a retired Wylam resident, works on a voluntary basis to raise awareness of the impact of invasive plant species to the local environment.
Josephine Butler Primary - Northumberland Church of England Academy, Ashington was the winner of the first Northumberland Schools Recycling Points Challenge after pupils made a life- sized igloo from plastic milk bottles, took part in a litter pick and learned how to reduce food waste by using up leftovers.
The School Sustainable Travel Award, a new category this year, was given to Mickley First and Mowbray Primary schools, who both achieved bronze level.
There was also a new focus at the awards this year with Dot Edwards, Vanessa Braidwood, Barry McWilliam and Amanda Gilchrist who represents Seaton Vale Residents Association, all being celebrated for their work as environmental champions for Northumberland.
The awards were developed by Northumberland County Council through its LOVE Northumberland campaign, with the aim of promoting the work of the council and its many partner organisations, community groups and volunteers who all work towards preserving and enhancing the environment in the county.
Main sponsor of the awards again this year was The Banks Group and development relations co-ordinator Jeannie Kielty said: “The spirit of the LOVE Northumberland Awards matches our own commitment to improving the communities in which we operate, and we’re extremely pleased to be supporting Northumberland County Council in recognising the contributions made by local people in enhancing their county’s environment in the last 12 months.”
Councillor Kath Nisbet, civic head of Northumberland County Council, welcomed everyone to the awards evening. She said: “These awards are about celebrating the fantastic work that individuals and groups do in a voluntary capacity to improve our environment right across Northumberland.
“We hope that all those who were shortlisted for an award enjoyed their visit to the Alnwick Garden – a stimulating place for anyone who is interested in horticulture or the environment.“
Marmax Products Ltd supported the schools recycling points challenge – presenting a picnic bench to the winning school and a sturdy bench to the runner up – both made from recycled plastic milk bottles.
Winning entries received a £250 prize and runners-up £100, with the money going towards their project or other work within the local community. Each highly commended finalist also received a small cash prize.
The Northumberland Schools Recycling Green Points Challenge: Winner, Josephine Butler Primary, Northumberland Church of England Academy, Ashington. Runner-up, Belsay First School.
School Sustainable Travel Award: Mickley First School, bronze; Mowbray Primary School, bronze.
Best children’s project: Winner, Allendale Primary School, Allendale Village Trail. Runner-up, St Andrew’s First School, Lovely Heddon. Highly commended, Croftway School/ICCQ, looking after our neighbourhood project.
Best Young People’s project: Winner, Tomorrow’s People – Amble Works.
Best Urban Project: Winner, Briardale Community Centre. Runner-up, Ellington Allotment Association. Highly commended, Groundwork NE & Cumbria in Partnership for Growing Well at Hospital.
Best Coast or Countryside Project: Winner, Hexhamshire and Slaley Parish Councils and the Friends of the North Pennines, Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project. Runner-up, Swarland Village Action, Swarland Woods. Highly commended, Blyth to Seaton Sluice Links Conservation Group, Protecting the Beauty of our Coastline’ project.
Best New Project: Winner, Broomley Meadow Project. Runner-up: Coquetdale Wild About Club, Philip’s Field Wildflower Nursery and Wildlife Garden. Highly commended, Northumberland Community Enterprise Ltd for Bedlington and Morpeth Community Allotments.
Individual Awards: Winners, Aileen Barrass (Blyth); Douglas Renton (Belford); Denis Peel (Wylam).
Environmental champions: Dot Edwards, Vanessa Braidwood, Barry McWilliam and Amanda Gilchrist.