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Civic awards

National lockdown: Stay at home. You must not leave your home unless necessary. Find out what you can and cannot do.

We've now announced all our winners - thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination, and huge congratulations to our winners and runners up! Check out our virtual awards ceremony!

Citizen of the Year award

Winner: Susan Gill

Susan founded the Homeless Café and Hub in central Middlesbrough, where she and her army of volunteers serve up hot meals 5 days a week to homeless and vulnerable people. The Hub also has showers, changes of clothing, and gives away personal hygiene supplies.

Susan works with many local agencies, and completed Naloxene training which reverses drug overdoses and recently saved a homeless man’s life.

The hub assists the homeless in Middlesbrough to turn their lives around and there are currently 20 volunteers at the café on a rota basis. Susan has also established links with the local prison service where inmates close to their release are allocated a volunteer place at the café.

The café and hub currently cater for and serve up to 100 clients daily, and is supported by local businesses and food chains who donate surplus supplies.

Susan is passionate about providing a service and helping the most vulnerable in society, and in her own time, Susan takes them to hospital and visits till their release, and has gone as far as to arrange 3 homeless funerals.

Watch the video of Susan Gill getting her Citizen of the Year award!

Runners up:

  • David Gee
  • Dean Moore

Sponsored by Middlesbrough Council

COVID-19 award

Winner: Philippa Donegan

PIPSCO was created by Philippa Donegan, a disabled mum from Middlesbrough, in her spare bedroom, in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Philippa supports families and individuals who are either shielding or vulnerable, and ensures they receive food parcels and care packages on a regular basis throughout the pandemic.

The project has now grown and is supported by a team of volunteers who go shopping, deliver parcels, pack parcels, and make emergency deliveries as and when needed. As the situation has evolved, so has the PIPSCO programme and they now accommodate for emergency food parcels as well as emergency referrals.

Not only is this project incredibly well organised, but Philippa also includes extras such as books for children, recipe cards for families to accompany the variety of food in the parcels, and also include treats such as baking parcels for children and homemade hand sanitisers for adults.

Everyone involved in this project has given 100% to make it work, protect the vulnerable, and ensure the most in need get the help they require throughout this crisis.

Philippa is a truly amazing 'superhero' who definitely should be recognised for the outstanding and selfless work she’s done throughout COVID-19.

Runners up:

  • John & Irene Kabuye (Ubuntu)

Sponsored by Middlesbrough Council

Helping People to Improve their Educational and Vocational Capability (business) award

Winner: Vicky Scott (Holiday Inn Express)

Holiday Inn Express work in partnership with Project Choice, offering work placements to young people (16-25) who have learning difficulties, autism, and/or disabilities.

Vicky Scott (Guest Services Manager) has gone above and beyond in supporting a vulnerable young lady with learning difficulties, helping to gradually build her confidence and develop her social skills and independence.

This has resulted in the young lady now having the confidence to travel independently to and from work, independently complete tasks required in the workplace, and have the confidence in herself to socially interact with staff and guests.

We have witnessed so much development in the young lady, Vicky has ensured she has been included and made to feel a valuable team member.

Watch the video of Vicky Scott getting her Civic Award!

Runners up:

  • ITEC (North East)
  • Recovery Connections

Sponsored by Teesside University

Helping People to Improve their Educational and Vocational Capability (community) award

Winner: Unicorn Centre

The Unicorn Centre is a purpose-built riding facility for the disabled located in Hemlington and opened in 1998. The Centre offers riding therapy and opportunities for learning, training and achievement to over 200 disabled adults and children from the Tees Valley. A strong contingent of local volunteers assist with riding sessions for the disabled participants each week.

The Unicorn Centre is a natural fit for volunteers who have experience with horses and ponies, but equally it welcomes volunteers without any equine experience as full training is given.

Volunteers at the Unicorn Centre can take part in a variety of tasks ranging from horse care, to supporting disabled participants during their riding sessions, fundraising, gardening and general maintenance as well as many other roles.

The Centre also runs an award-winning Supported Volunteer Programme for young people with additional support needs. Over the years, many of the volunteers have gone on to gain employment through the varied and important skills they learn at the Centre. Past volunteers and learners have progressed into employment within both the equine and care industries, and into further education.

Watch the video of the Unicorn Centre getting their Civic Award!

Runners up:

  • Prince's Trust

Sponsored by Middlesbrough College

Improving Employment Opportunities for Residents (business) award

Winner: ITEC (North East)

ITEC NE was established in 1982 in response to a government initiative to establish over 100 information technology centres throughout the country.

The organisation operates a training centre in Middlesbrough and has a contract with the Education Skills Funding Agency to deliver a range of government-funded programmes.

ITEC NE has supported over 1,000 apprentices in the Tees Valley alone, and 150+ employers have benefited from their expertise.

In over 35 years of delivering education and vocational training, ITEC NE has supported over 3,000 people to achieve an apprenticeship, with the vast majority remaining with the employer they started with at least 6 months after completion.

ITEC NE has engaged with and enabled over 2,000 people to be trained in sector-specific subjects, which have enabled the individual to become more employable as a direct result, leading to employment opportunities.

Watch the video of ITEC NE getting their Civic Award!

Runners up:

  • Northern Dales Farmers Markets
  • Recovery Connections

Sponsored by Faithful & Gould

Improving Employment Opportunities for Residents (community) award

Winner: Barbara Smith and Routes to Work

Routes to Work are a team of passionate and dedicated key workers who not only make a footprint in the community but also change people's lives for the better.

Nine key workers work across the community to support the long term unemployed, helping people to gain skills and experience to take steps into employment, and achieving a positive impact. They provide a range of support depending on individual needs, and each key worker is inspirational to the service because they provide one-to-one tailored support. The key worker puts together a plan which helps break down barriers to enable the client to become more confident and gain employment.

They are based in the local community hubs to support local residents. Many of the clients have been unemployed long-term, usually from 18 months to 10 years, and some have never worked at all.

Routes to Work are proud of what they do and, with a sense of pride and achievement, they have supported 138 residents into jobs. They are a team who work together, support each other, and share best practices.

Watch the video of Routes to Work getting their Civic Award!

Runners up:

  • David Gee
  • Volunteers - Open Door North East

Sponsored by TransPennine Express

Improving the Health and Wellbeing of Residents (business) award

Winner: Leon and Adele Pengilley

Leon and Adele run Pendraken Miniatures, and at the start of the Coronavirus crisis, when the lack of PPE became a serious issue, they used their business for the production of vital PPE equipment. They purchased the materials needed from their own funds, and turned their unit over to the production of protective face masks.

The demand became so high that they launched a GoFundMe page to finance the purchase of more raw materials. The laser machines were in operation from 7am to 1am every day.

Together with a small group of volunteers, the PPE equipment was assembled and delivered to care homes, care providers, doctors' surgeries, hospitals, and anyone else who requested them, throughout the Tees Valley, completely free of charge. They took it upon themselves to help out in an extremely challenging time.

Watch the video of Leon and Adele Pengilley getting their Civic Award!

Runners up:

  • Community Ventures
  • Parkway Centre

Sponsored by Everyone Active

Improving the Health and Wellbeing of Residents (community) award

Winner: Ted Docherty

Ted is the (very modest) Chairman of the Teesside Stroke Club based in Middlesbrough. His unswerving support both in fundraising and his time are very impressive, combine this with his determination and you have someone who is an inspiration.

So many people have benefitted from the support of the Stroke Club and have learned to walk and talk again.

No-one says 'no' to Ted, his work is truly outstanding and he deserves recognition at both a local and national level. As well as physical rehabilitation there is also a social side to the club meeting for tea/coffee and a chat.

The club holds regular carpet bowling sessions at a local social club as well as cooking demonstrations. Ted works tirelessly throughout the year to support the club and the people who attend.

Watch the video of Ted Docherty getting his Civic Award!

Runners up:

  • Joel’s Hope – Angela Nichols
  • Natalie Al-Tikriti

Sponsored by Gleesons

Making People Happier (business) award

Winner: Nunthorpe Oaks Care Home

The staff of this care home have gone above and beyond to look after their residents and support each other, as well as brightening up the community.

They have held weekly dances to entertain the residents, and they have put themselves and families at risk to support them. They offered residents' families the chance to FaceTime their relatives, and they put on a special celebration for a resident's 80th birthday. They decorated the outside of the home for VE Day and asked local children to design posters for their windows.

Nunthorpe Oaks Care Home is exactly that - a home.

Watch the video of Nunthorpe Oaks getting their Civic Award!

Runners up:

  • Community Ventures
  • Parkway Centre

Sponsored by Ramsdens

Making People Happier (community) award

Winner: Farshid Azizi

Farshid has been picking litter around North Ormesby on a daily basis for hours every day since arriving in Middlesbrough last year. He is passionate about caring for the environment.

He believes, “The earth is not our belonging, received by us from our fathers. We cannot do whatever we will to it. Rather, it is a deposit in our hands to be left a better state for future generations. Every single of us is a global citizen responsible for the environment regardless of where on it we live. This planet is our first home. Its problems are ours. We should do whatever we afford to keep it as it should be. The life of us and all other creatures depend on keeping the nature and the environment clean and healthy.”

He had seen other members of the community out litter picking and wanted to be a part of it. He purchased litter picking equipment out of his own money. He is well known in the community and he is just an amazing person.

Watch the video of Farshid Azizi getting his Civic Award!

Runners up:

  • Richard Williams
  • Susanne Martin

Sponsored by Holiday Inn Express

Making Physical Improvements to our Neighbourhoods (community) award

Winner: Community Champions

The Community Champions Group was formed by Jackie and Keith Young in 2019 with the aim of cleaning up the public spaces in Middlesbrough and enhancing green spaces by planting trees, shrubs alongside painting fences and street furniture. They also tidy up gardens for people with disabilities and elderly residents. Regular litter picks have been held across the town to clean up the local environment and give people a sense of pride and wellbeing.

The volunteers regularly give their time in all weathers to help keep our green spaces clean and litter free. Community Champions also support youngsters taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh programme.

Jackie’s team is planning to work closely with schools in Middlesbrough and is hoping to visit and chat to the pupils on how important the environment is with an ambition to have litter picking equipment provided to all primary schools forming the “Little Pickers” groups in all schools.

The town is a much cleaner greener space because of the work that the group carry out regularly.

Watch the video of Community Champions getting their Civic Award!

Runners up:

  • Friends of Linthorpe Cemetery
  • Friends of Stewart Park

Sponsored by Logic Architecture Ltd.

Making Physical Improvements to our Neighbourhoods (business) award

Winner: Gary Hamilton (Active Tees Valley)

Over the last 2 years, Gary Hamilton and Active Tees Valley have taken over the running of community buildings located in East Middlesbrough. These include Pallister Park Community Centre and Brambles Farm Community Centre, and more recently EMEC (the old Middlebeck Social Club). These buildings have been brought back to life with significant investment and usage.

Local thriving business are now operating from them including Active Tees Valley Dementia Café, Youth Focus North East, The Salon, The Beauty Parlour, Re-educate, Johnson School of Dance along with local schools. Other community activities include judo, dancing, tots sessions, karate, boxing, indoor and outdoor bowls, youth sessions and much more.

The new EMEC will give local people the opportunity of a facility that can cater for celebrations, events, gigs and many other social gatherings. It will also have a local eco-shop which will be open to the community 7 days a week.

Watch the video of Gary Hamilton getting his Civic Award!

Runners up:

  • Tees Valley Wildlife Trust
  • Thirteen (John Woods)

Sponsored by Middlesbrough Council

Read their stories

Read about why all of our winners and runners-up were shortlisted.

If you're struggling to read the PDF, please email


The Civic Community Awards are kindly supported by:

Logo for sponsor Everyone Active linking to their website

Logo for sponsor Faithful and Gould linking to their website

Logo for sponsor Gleeson Homes linking to their website


Logo for sponsor Holiday Inn Express Middlesbrough linking to their website

Logo for sponsor Logic Architecture linking to their website

Logo for sponsor Middlesbrough College linking to their website


Logo for sponsor Ramsdens linking to their website

Logo for sponsor Teesside University linking to their website

Logo for sponsor Transpennine Express linking to their website

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