Darlington community champions - who are the town’s local heroes?

Darlington community champions - who are the town’s local heroes?
24 August 2021

THE countdown has begun for one of the most prestigious nights in Darlington’s calendar as the search gets underway for this year’s community champions.  

Nominations are open for the ‘Stronger Communities Awards, celebrating the best of Darlington’ with awards presented at a glittering ceremony at the Dolphin Centre on Friday 12 November.

This year’s event has 17 categories including public service hero, exceptional volunteer and best business contribution to the community. The awards aim to recognise and celebrate local people whether it be athletes, students, businesses, community groups or volunteers. 

The awards are organised by Darlington Borough Council.

Seth Pearson, director of Darlington Partnerships the council, said: “There is so much to celebrate in Darlington and these awards are designed to bring together all those who enrich the local community.

“We want to hear about people – young and old – who are out there making a difference in all kinds of spheres and who might otherwise go unrecognised. This is all about putting the stars of Darlington on a pedestal so please send in your nominations.”

This year there are three new categories – the Above and Beyond Award, Exceptional Care, and Covid Hero. In addition, a Special Stronger Communities Award will be presented by the deputy leader of the council, Councillor Jonathan Dulston, to a nominee he feels deserves particular recognition.

Cllr Dulston said: “We are looking for nominations from the business sector, education, health, environment, arts, sport, public service, Covid heroes and volunteers.

“We have seen great resilience and determination in communities across the town in the past year. Many people have stepped up to help others since the pandemic began, and our awards are a great way to pay tribute to them, and to celebrate all the good work being done throughout Darlington.

“I know, from personal experience, that there are many exceptional people prepared to go the extra mile for others in our town. So whether it is a friend, neighbour or acquaintance that you want to nominate, please do. I look forward to the nominations and to congratulating the winners. Good luck everyone.”

The categories are as follows:

PUBLIC SERVICE HERO:  The judges are looking for an individual or individuals who have gone far above and beyond their duty, either in a one-off exceptional incident, or consistently in their line of work. Anyone working in a public service role can be nominated. 

EXCEPTIONAL VOLUNTEER: The judges award this to an individual or group showing outstanding commitment in their voluntary field without expectation of reward or recognition. This might be the length of time someone has volunteered, the breadth of responsibility they have undertaken, or the sacrifice they have made. 

EXCEPTIONAL YOUNG VOLUNTEER: The judges will award this to a young person (under the age of 18) or group of young people who have shown outstanding commitment in their voluntary field without expectation of reward or recognition. This might be the length of time someone has volunteered, the breadth of responsibility they have undertaken, or the sacrifice they have made. 

BRINGING SUCCESS TO DARLINGTON: The judges will award this to a business whose extraordinary achievement has been recognised on the regional, national or international stage, adding to Darlington’s reputation. This might be in an innovation or reputation in business, public service, academia or the arts that has put Darlington on the map.

CONTRIBUTION TO THE ARTS: This award will be given to an individual or group who has made a major contribution to the arts in Darlington, either by the excellence of their own performance, commitment to organising activities, or by being role models to others in their attitude to the arts. 

CONTRIBUTION TO THE ENVIRONMENT: The judges are looking for an individual, community group or business that is having a positive impact on the environment through projects or particular initiatives – e.g. improving wildlife habitats, reducing carbon footprint, or enhancing open spaces. 

CONTRIBUTION TO THE COMMUNITY: The judges are looking for an individual or group involved in activities aimed at improving where they live. 

BUSINESS CONTRIBUTION TO THE COMMUNITY: This award recognises business with a passion and commitment to giving something back.  Whether it’s helping a voluntary or community organisation, fundraising for a good cause, or donating time and resources to local communities. 

ABOVE & BEYOND AWARD – Business contribution to Darlington during the COVID-19 pandemic: Whether it’s helping a voluntary or community organisation, fundraising for a good cause. or donating time and resources to local communities, this award recognises a business who has gone ‘above and beyond’ their normal business model and have selflessly contributed their time and effort to others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

VOCATIONAL EXCELLENCE: The judges are looking for an individual (of any age) who has engaged in vocational learning such as a course or apprenticeship that has specialised in a particular trade or discipline and whose achievement has been outstanding. 

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: The award will be presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement that deserves wider recognition. 

EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT: The judges will award this to a student who doesn’t fall into either previous categories but who deserves recognition for the extraordinary effort they have made, or for remaining committed to their learning in the face of adversity. 

CONTRIBUTION TO EDUCATION: This award recognises those hardworking, dedicated members of staff in schools who have been so important to you or a member of your family’s education. It may be a teacher or it may be someone else who works at the school whose exceptional effort of kindness has made all the difference

EXCEPTIONAL CARE: This category celebrates those people whose support or compassion makes a difference to people’s wellbeing. They may be a professional care giver or just a good egg whose help has enabled you, a member of your family or a friend to live a healthy life.

CONTRIBUTION TO SPORT: The judges are looking for groups or individuals who have made a major contribution to sport in Darlington through commitment to organising activities, volunteering, or by being role models to others in their attitude to sport. 

PERFORMANCE IN SPORT This award will be presented to an individual or group that the judges see have excelled in their chosen sport.

COVID HERO: This award celebrated those special people whose extraordinary kindness and effort enabled others to overcome difficulties they were facing throughout the pandemic. It may be someone who lives around the corner helping their neighbours, or someone providing a service that went the extra mile. 

To make a nomination, go to Darlington Borough Council - Stronger Communities Awards call 01325 405757 or email [email protected]

The closing date for nominations is Friday 1st October 2021.

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