Great Britain

County Durham Together Awards celebrate Covid's unsung heroes

THE Northern Echo has teamed up with Durham County Council again to shine a richly-deserved spotlight on the unsung heroes of the Covid pandemic.

And, fingers crossed, this year’s The County Durham Together Awards will be the real thing – instead of the virtual event that marked the inaugural awards last year.

The awards, at Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham on Thursday, December 9, 2021, will celebrate the individuals, groups and businesses who have played a key role in supporting the county’s communities over recent months.

It’s your chance to nominate those who have gone that extra mile to make things better for others in the community.

John Hewitt, Durham County Council’s interim chief executive, said: “The previous 18 months have been challenging for everyone, but it has also been incredible to see how people in County Durham have rallied together and supported each other.

“Our communities are what make County Durham such a fantastic place, so we are delighted to be able to recognise those who have gone above and beyond to support and care for others.

“The County Durham Together Awards will recognise the best that the county has to offer and we look forward to celebrating those who have helped make a positive difference throughout the pandemic.”

Northern Echo editor Karl Holbrook said he was delighted to be backing the awards again and thrilled at the prospect of a live event.

“We know just what a challenge the pandemic has brought for the many communities the Echo is so proud to serve,” he said.

“We all know that it’s the people who make this such a wonderful place to live and work and it’s a real pleasure to recognise these true local heroes who do so much to help but demand so little in return.

“We now all have a chance to say a proper ‘thank you’ for the selfless work that they do.

“Hopefully we will be able to lay on a glittering awards ceremony to showcase all the great work that has been going on. Our pages are always filled with individual acts of kindness and it will be great to celebrate that on the night.”

Nominations can be made via the link below:

Nominations can be made in the following categories:

* Unsung Hero: Someone who, by giving up their free time, has made a significant contribution to other people’s lives or to their community.

* Key Worker of the Year: An individual who was a nominated key worker during the coronavirus lockdown, playing a vital role to public health and safety. It could be a person who went above and beyond the requirements of their role to provide support to those who needed it most, under the most challenging circumstances.

* Public Service Award: A public service team or individual making an outstanding contribution to the community in which they work. We want to hear about people who have gone above and beyond to provide a vital service for people in the local area.

* Volunteer of the Year: A volunteer who has continued to help others during the coronavirus lockdown, playing a vital role in helping others.

* Carer of the Year: Someone who has cared for someone during the coronavirus lockdown or played a vital role in helping others. It could be an individual who has existing or new caring responsibilities or someone who is employed as a carer who went above and beyond the requirements of their role to provide support to those who needed it most.

* Community/Voluntary Group Award: Community or voluntary groups who have a significantly positive impact on individuals or groups of individuals during the pandemic. We are looking for evidence of how this work has made the community a better or safer place to live. The category is open to all charities or voluntary organisations and community groups.

* Health and Wellbeing Award: Groups or projects which promote the improvement of health and wellbeing within their communities. It could be an initiative which promotes healthy lifestyles, or provides support to help people stop smoking. It may be a project which offers advice, counselling and support for those with health issues. The category is open to all charities or voluntary organisation, community groups and individuals.

* Environment Award: An individual or organisation which has made a positive contribution to the environment during the pandemic, this could include the physical environment as well as helping to protect our climate.

* Visitor Economy Award: An individual, organisation or business who has played a vital role in helping to promote the county as a safe and great place to visit for staycationers, supporting the hospitality and tourism sector during the pandemic and to help visitor economy. It could include being an advocate for the county or parts of the county, innovation in the visitor offer or recognise entrepreneurial skills.

* Small/Medium Sized Company of the Year: A small or medium sized company (with less than 250 employees) which has supported individuals, communities or the voluntary sector during the pandemic. It could be through providing support in kind, doing deliveries to those shielding, or providing equipment to help protect key workers.

* Large Company of the Year: This award will go to a large County Durham company (with more than 250 employees) that is judged to have helped support the greater good during the pandemic. This could be by producing/providing equipment to key organisations working during the pandemic to care/support those at greatest risk, or by releasing staff to undertake voluntary work, providing funding or other in kind support during the pandemic.

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