About the Annual Achievement Awards
So rarely, however, were the efforts and endeavours of the many people who have dedicated themselves to helping others recognised and celebrated.
The hard work of Stockton’s VCSE sector often passed by, quiet and unheard, which is why Catalyst Stockton instituted the first Annual Achievement Awards in 2010.
Every year Catalyst host many of the organisations active in Stockton on Tees to come together and celebrate achievements, dedication and excellence in the local area.
Until 2013 our Annual Achievement Award ceremony was a part of the Catalyst Conference, but it was decided that the celebration of the volunteering and community sector in Stockton deserved it’s own dedicated ceremony.
Since then, the Catalyst Achievement Awards have been held during Volunteer’s Week, and culminate in an evening of recognition, celebration, jubilation and entertainment at a local venue.
This Year’s Winners
Winner: Friends of Ropner Park
Friends of Ropner Park came together in 2002 as a way to give local people the chance to have a say in the renovation work carried out in Ropner Park, by Stockton Borough Council.
Since the improvements were completed, the group’s main aim is to encourage people to use the park and to ensure that their high standards are maintained.
The Friends all work voluntarily to raise funds to improve the amenities and environment in Ropner Park. Fundraising events take place throughout the year, including the Eid Fusion Festival in partnership with the Community Welfare Trust and the Spring Fair. These events also help to raise awareness and appreciation of the park, and assist in reducing acts of vandalism. The funds raised have been used to install seating by the Bandstand and purchase new plants.
They have also restored the Pavilion and opened the Ropner Park Tearooms. Originally managed by volunteers from Friends of Ropner Park, it has since grown to employ paid members of staff and is run as a not-for-profit imitative to help maintain the park.
Billingham Community Newspaper ◊ Tees Valley Village Halls Network
Winner: Smiles Nursery
Smiles Nursery is a new Social Enterprise which was established to address a real need in Billingham. Billingham Environmental Link Programme (BELP) developed the nursery to address the shortfall of nursery places in their community.
As a not-for-profit venture, any profit from Smiles is reinvested into BELP to ensure the sustainability of the organisation.
Seed funding was raised through the Tees Valley Community Foundation and additional funds were sourced using social funding through Northstar Ventures. This model of funding is new to the Stockton-no-Tees Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise sector. This demonstrates, that if you have a good idea, which will help your community, some creative thinking can inspire your project to achieve its goals.
The nursery allows flexibility for parents by providing extended opening hours. Since its opening, smiles have gone from strength to strength. Positive feedback from parents and carers highlights the benefit brought to the community by this new nursery.
Going for Independence CIC ◊ Labyrinth Holistic Community Cafe
Winner: Raindrops to Rainbows
Raindrops to Rainbows supports new parents with their mental health. Stephanie Addison herself suffered from Postnatal Depression, during which time she found there was very little in the way of support. Stephanie decided to do something about it, through hard work and determination she set up Raindrops to Rainbows to help address this. Raindrops to Rainbows is a safe haven for sufferers to come and talk openly with other like minded people.
They hold a number of peer-led support groups, which are run by parents who have lived experience of perinatal mental illnesses. They have recently launched a new project aimed at dads who themselves have or are supporting a partner through mental health conditions.
Raindrops to Rainbows are linked with Middlesbrough and Stockton MIND. They also work with other organisations to promote better services for Perinatal mental health. Stephanie is an avid campaigner, speaking to groups ranging from health visitors, to students and was invited to the House of Commons to attend a maternal mental health event.
Sporting Chance ◊ Submit2Success
Winner: BELP – The Clarences Allotments
BELP’s (Billingham Environmental Link Programme) The Clarences Allotment Project encourages local residents to come together to learn horticultural skills and grow healthy food. The Clarences have experienced disadvantages over the years, but the project aims to combat this by providing local residents with a free green space where they can socialise and learn new skills.
The site also has a classroom which is fully accessible to community groups who want to develop their cookery skills, as well as their gardening. This facility aims to increase knowledge and upskill residents in healthy cooking, horticulture and food growing. These classes are a real benefit to the whole community and provide invaluable skills.
Labyrinth Holistic Community Cafe ◊ The Wilson Centre
Winner: Kath Sainsbury
Kath Sainsbury is an instrumental force for good in the Asylum Seeker and Refugee Community in Stockton-on-Tees. For many years she has campaigned for the rights and recognition of this community, giving interviews on both local radio and BBC Radio 4, providing a voice to those that have no other.
Her hard work assisting asylum seekers with their asylum cases has meant they have not had to return to their home countries to face life-threatening situations.
She is a person who is deeply passionate about marginalised people in Stockton-no-Tees and recognised as a calming voice of reason. Kath is well known and respected throughout the Voluntary, community and Social Enterprise Sector.
In Addition to her campaigning, Kath runs the Justice First Office in Stockton-n-Tees alongside a dedicated team. Her work at the Justice First Office involves handling a busy caseload as well as managing their volunteers. Kath has been part of the team from the start and continues to work hard for her clients.
Anthony Jones ◊ Stockton & District Advice & Information Service
Winner: Going for Independence CIC
Going for Independence CIC run art classes for people with a sensory impairment, culminating in an annual exhibition that stimulates the senses. Pam Bennett and Sophie Bishop, both artists, teamed up with Focus on Vision to provide classes to people with low levels of vision. Originally just two sessions were intended, but the project proved such a success that Big Lottery Awards for All fully funded the classes for a year.
These artistic sessions provide visually impaired people with both the opportunity to create art and become involved in art appreciation discussions. The group also take part in Living Painting sessions. I these the group explore unique tactile pieces of art which include audio description. They have created a number of paintings and sculptures for the exhibition.
Going for Independence support and encourage people’s creativity. They have given this group of people the chance to take part in a new experience, while fostering new friendships. The sessions help to reduce social isolation and help people form valuable networks.
Billingham Carnival Group ◊ United Voices
Winner: Lee Shackleton
Lee Shackleton has been the driving force behind Billingham Juniors Football Club since becoming Chairman several years ago. He commits a great deal of his time to the daily running of the club, organising fundraising events, attending management meetings and representing the club with the Durham Football Association (FA). Under his direction the club have attained the FA’s Charter Standard award and “Charter Standard Development Club”.
Running 15 grassroots teams with over 230 players between the ages of 7 and 18, the club has gone from strength to strength over the past few years. Lee attends as many training sessions and matches as possible to meet and get to know the players and their parents, forming lasting relationships.
The club has recently acquired their own ground which has meant a lot of work behind the scenes for Lee. Securing the ground allows the team the space to accommodate an extra 50 development players each year. Lee is also looking for other sports clubs to use the site in order to increase local sport networking participation.
Zi Shiying Tang Soo Do ◊ JogAwalk
Winner: Elsie McDonald
Elsie McDonald has ran Phab’s local branch for 30 years and Portrack Community Centre for 15 years. In her role at Phab she was always dedicated to her role and would do anything for their members, from taking phone calls at 2am to having them stay with her for weekends and in one case for over two years.
On top of her work with Phab and Portrack Community Centre, Elsie has sat on the committees for Stockton Residents and Community Groups Association (SRCGA) and the Alma Resource Centre, where she later volunteered, teaching arts and crafts. As well as this she has been a part of the NHS Consultation Committee. She also sat as a committee member for Stockton Physically Handicapped Club for many years, and continues to be a member. Elsie was also a founding member of Cleveland Disability Forum.
Elsie is a valuable member f the Stockton Community, she has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to improving the lives of those who live in the Borough of Stockton-on-Tees, through multiple charitable channels.
Chris Hope ◊Paul Thomas
Winner: Luke Nelson
Luke Nelson supports the Team and Tonic Group, which is a coffee afternoon for isolated people in the Stillington and Whitton Parish. His own grandmother is a regular attendee of this group which made Luke aware of the struggles facing this older group of volunteers. He decided to do something about this to ease their physical work.
Before each session e prepares the hall so it is ready for the group by making sure eht tables and chairs are put out and setup correctly. He ensures that the tables are set with the right cloths and crockery ready for when people arrive. In the beginning the group were at a loss as to who was doing this wonderful work, as Luke was never seen to do any of this. He is very modest about his activities and does not expect any thanks or recognition for doing them.
There are other things going on in Luke’s life, which means volunteering is a huge deal for him and he deserves acknowledgement for his hard with within the Tea and Tonic Group. He is a proactive young man who has done all of this helpful work using his own initiation and without being asked.
Ben Halsall ◊ Yacouba Traore
Winner: Luke John Frost
Luke John Frost puts countless hours into making a difference to the people of Thornaby by setting up Thornaby Community Partnership four years ago. Luke works tirelessly to make sure his ideas have a positive impact on the local community.
The partnership has gone from strength to strength; they have recently opened the Community Hub, which is a meeting place for people of all ages and helps to ease social isolation. Through the Adult Learning Zone they offer courses such as cooking on a budget and craft making. Luke also manages the Teesside Youth Zone project, giving the young people of Thornbay the opportunity to enjoy the facilities at the Tees Barrage. In addition, Luke also oversees the Thornaby Community Kitchen and the Point Food Bank.
Luke is also a Community Health Ambassador on behalf of the Hartlepool and Stockton-n-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group, gathering opinions from local people to improve health and social care. he is a passionate and motivated person who aims to make a positive impact in his local community.
Alice Dent ◊ Bernard Bousefield ◊ Lesley Collinson
Winner: Dorothy Rose
Dorothy Rose has been involved with Age UK Teesside for the past 73 years, and i still running activity groups at St Andrew’s Church, Stockton-on-Tees. Now aged 92, Dorothy first became involved with Age UK Teesside’s predecessor,Stockton Old People’s Welfare, aged 19, as their secretary. When it evolved into Age Concern and Tees-wide, she was Chair of Trustees for many years.
Every week Dorothy and her daughter Margaret host a chair-based exercise class and continue to organise social events such as Fish Friday a the church. This monthly event aims to help tackle social isolation in older people.
Dorothy continues to be guest of honour at Age UK Teesside’s Annual General Meeting. In recognition of her lifelong commitment and dedication to Age UK Teesside, and older people in the Borough. The charity named their Middlesbrough Headquarters, “Dorothy Rose House” in her honour. She still attends all major events for the charity and never misses and opportunity to promote their work. Dorothy has and always will be an inspiration to older people.