The shortlist for the Gateshead Awards 2014 has been finalised and we would like you to vote for your winners.
The Gateshead Award recognises the hard work and dedication of volunteers, carers, and everyone else who goes out of their way to make the borough a better place to live, work or visit.
Now in its fifth year, the award rewards those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in one of ten categories ranging from volunteer of the year to sports achiever of the year.
The closing date for votes is Friday 3 October 2014.
Volunteer of the Year
Alison Bellinger – Chair of the Gateshead branch of Arthritis Care Alison ensures the branch is lively with lots of social activities. Alison has championed the Peer Support scheme, which aims to raise awareness of arthritis and help people to manage the condition in their local community. Alison is also a member of the Regional Committee, volunteers at her local church and is a full time carer for her husband.
Iris Dodds – a member of Gateshead Older People’s Assembly Iris’s commitment to working in the community goes beyond her role with the assembly, getting involved with new groups and ensuring older people are kept informed. She has been instrumental in setting up new Friendship Groups which are helping to increase confidence and reduce loneliness for dozens of older people.
Menachem Moscovitch – volunteers at the L’Chu Vonim Youth Centre in Bensham and has done for ten years. He is involved with nearly all activities at the centre including planning activities, supervising homework clubs and supporting club members engaged in fundraising schemes.
Evelyn Parry – volunteers at Blaydon Resource Centre welcoming people, helping to prepare activities, taking an active part in fundraising and other events. Evelyn does not let difficulties with her own mental health affect her rapport with service users and last year she was a finalist in the National Dementia Awards in recognition of her work.
Lesley Somerville – uses her spare time to help young people within the Sea Cadet Unit. She has been Commanding Officer at TS Flamingo since 2007 and when the unit was flooded earlier in 2014 she found alternative premises and ensured the Cadets could continue to operate. Over the last 12 months her cadets have gained more qualifications than previously and have attended more training and community events. They have also contributed more funding than any other unit for a new flagship for the Sea Cadets.
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Voluntary Organisation of the Year
FOGS (Friends of Gibside School) – help to provide funds to support disabled children at Gibside School by raising money for mini buses, equipment, activity days and extra occupational therapy.
Gateshead Interfaith Forum – have delivered numerous school and community based projects that explore faith and cultural diversity within Gateshead giving people the opportunity to work together and learn from the experience of others. Over 1500 young people from local schools have been involved in focused arts projects.
Gateshead People – Speak up for the rights of people with learning disabilities and have developed various ways to do this including the Our Town Our Places map, using iPads to helps others make films about leisure services accessible to others.
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Carer of the Year
Elizabeth Hewitson – cares for her 82 year old mum and gave up her job 14 years ago to be able to help with all her mum’s personal care and emotional support. She is solely responsible for her mums health and well-being and manages this while looking after her two sons.
Benny Jennings – cares for his three siblings and supports them with all practical day to day tasks despite suffering health problems of his own. He has dedicated himself to the welfare of his family for many years and has improved the quality of life for both his brothers and his sister.
Margaret Stanbury – has been a multiple carer for several years giving up her career to look after her disabled son and her parents. Since her son passed away she has continued to provide unlimited care for her parents and is now exploring ways in which she can help support others based on her own experiences.
Shirley Soulsby – cares for her husband who has multiple health issues ensuring all his care needs are met while also supporting her two children who live at home. She has worked with her employers and a local carers charity to raise funds to support carers in Gateshead.
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Sports Club of the Year
Birtley Amateur Swimming Club – has over 150 swimming members aged from 6-18 years and over the last 12 months the club has organised training courses for the club instructors, supported six young people to qualify as National Pool Lifeguards and have completed a course for young helpers to give them an insight in to the responsibilities of working with younger children.
Birtley Young People’s Club – helping young people to fulfil their potential the club has had championship winners in all age groups in the England Boxing Championships and won the prestigious Haringey Box Cup. The club also had a boxer selected to represent England at the Commonwealth Games (Pat McCormack) and two boxers have been selected for the Great Britain Boxing podium Squad.
Gateshead Redheugh 1957 – catering for 20 teams and accommodating 250-300 players the club opened a new 3G pitch last year. The club has also become more involved with the local community – collaborating with a local GP surgery on ‘couch to 5k’ to encourage more people to use the facility, it is home to North East Athletic, a team of recovering alcoholics and is involved in a scheme to help unemployed people back to work.
Whickham Fellside Youth Football Club – home to 28 teams over the last 12 months the club has taken over the responsibility of their clubhouse/changing facility at Watergate Park. The club are also looking to enter into partnerships with local groups to share their facilities with the local community.
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Young Achiever of the Year
Rebecca Cruxton – volunteers for St John Ambulance, winning various first aid competitions and attending a number of community events. In the last year Rebecca has been named National Cadet of the Year for St John Ambulance, has given speeches at many high profile events and has helped to raise funds. She has also completed her Grand Prior Award, the highest you can receive as a cadet.
Karl Henderson – Volunteers for several youth organisations including Young Arrows, Gateshead Youth Assembly and Keyfund. He also has a key role with Gateshead Young Inspectors running a group, delivering training, carrying out inspections and helping with applications/presentations. He has continued to take a more leading role with his youth work while also raising his young son.
Kirsty Wilson – Volunteered for a number of years and after volunteering at her sons school as a teaching assistant she is now studying for a degree in humanities through the Open University. Despite having health issues she has also become a parent governor.
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Sports Coach of the Year
Brian Blackburn – coach to new bowlers who wish to learn the sport. He coaches adults and children with many different needs including those with a visual impairment and young people from schools with special needs.
Phil Dobson – Has run the local basketball club from Whickham Comprehensive for over 30 years. In order to expand the club he has fundraised to move to a new venue and has introduced a second team for developing youngsters.
Jan Lawton – coaches two groups of young athletes and manages the young female athletes’ winter athletics team at Gateshead Harriers Athletics Club. As team manager the senior track and field team have won their division in 2013, the female winter cross country team won the Davison Shield and the under 13 girls and the under 15 girls came first at the North East Cross Country Championships.
Tom Millmore – coach at Birtley Athletics Club for over 25 years, offering up to 6 coaching sessions a week so athletes can train around work/study. His dedication has resulted in the club achieving a lot of success over the last 12 months particularly at the National Team Championships (cross country and road relays and the club now have one of the strongest under 17s girls team in the country.
Graeme Rutherford –Head Coach at Birtley Young People’s Club, Graeme shows great commitment to the club and the sport of boxing. Despite suffering health issues he has continued to coach at the club and coached his 100th national champion this year with Pat McCormack winning the England Boxing Senior Elite Championship and being selected for the Commonwealth Games.
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Sports Achiever of the Year
Richard Kilty – joined Gateshead Harriers at 13 and has represented the club at all age group levels. In 2013 he represented Great Britain in the European Athletics Team Championships, winning gold in the 4 x 100 metres and has since been selected for England’s Commonwealth Games Team and Great Britain’s European Championship Team. He also won the World Indoor 60 metre championship at the beginning of 2014.
Chris Parker – involved with Gateshead Storm for 8 years he is first team head coach and is in charge of the under 16’s. The club has won the League Shield, been Grand Final Champions, won the Selby Cup and won the North East Cup at open age and under 15’s. He has also captained the Maltese National Rugby League Team
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Maureen Chaplin Young Sports Achiever of the Year
Amelia Bateman – a talented athlete, currently ranked 8th in the UK. In the last 12 months she has become North Eastern Counties Champion in Pentathlon, Indoor High Jump and Outdoor High Jump, Gateshead Schools Hurdles and High Jump Champion and Durham Schools Junior Girls (Yrs 8-9) Pentahlon Champion.
Calum Johnson – joined Gateshead Harriers 3 years ago and although still a junior athlete has represented the club in national senior competitions for 2 years. He was third in the World Junior Duathlon Championships, 1st in the British Elite Triathlon Championships, 1st in the North of England Cross Country Championships and the 2nd British athlete (7th Overall) in the Edinburgh International Cross Country.
Sophie Merrix – is passionate about running and trains up to 4 times a week. She suffered a stroke when she was 8 years old and despite this has fitted in well with the sprint squad. Sophie has competed at the National DSE finals and the national CP finals.
Lydia Turner – a member of Birtley Athletics Club since the age of 10 Lydia, now aged 17, has won numerous trophies. Over the last 12 months she has won the Junior Great North Run, the London Mini Marathon, the Belgrade Junior European Cross Country Championships GB Team Gold and Team Gold at the National Cross Country Relay Championships.
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