Love awards are banking on support

June 8, 2012 | Brenkley News

New LOVE Northumberland awards main sponsor the Banks Group has been visiting some of last year’s successful projects to get a feel for the excellent work that they celebrate.

Banks Group’s community engagement coordinator Emily Hunter visited Widdrington this week to see the work of the Widdrington Station and Stobswood Litter Pickers, who were runners-up in the best ongoing project category last year.

This group of volunteers saw a need for community action to clean up areas of the villages of Widdrington Station and Stobswood and have now been meeting weekly for the best part of a decade with the aim of keeping their area pristine.

Leslie Roberts was one of the original members of the group.  He said: “Following discussions over bacon butties and coffee we asked the council if it could help with litter pickers and gloves – that was sorted out quickly and so we were soon underway.”

As a runner-up last year the group received £100 prize money and they have spent this on a quality and heavy duty barrow that they plan to use to transport bags of litter and particularly any larger dumped items that they come across to a point where the council can pick them up.

“Until now members of the group have tended to make numerous journeys up and down the roads, carrying one or two items each time, and depositing them at a place where the council workers collect them for proper disposal”, Leslie continued. 

“The group felt that a barrow or trolley would enable them to do this much more efficiently.  We will also be able to use it when we find items like bicycle frames which are sometimes left in the park.”

The Banks Group is the main sponsor of the LOVE Northumberland awards for the first time this year and is looking forward to being closely involved in the process.

Emily Hunter says:  “I work closely with local communities throughout Northumberland and I am extremely impressed by the commitment of residents to local causes like this.  It is a great example of a group that is making a huge difference to its local community – work which is too often unseen and goes unrewarded.

“Groups like this are the lifeblood of communities and through our involvement in the LOVE Northumberland awards we are hoping to help to give more recognition to community volunteers.

“The spirit of the LOVE Northumberland Awards matches our own commitment to improving the communities in which we operate, and we’re extremely pleased to be supporting Northumberland County Council in recognising the contributions made by local people in enhancing their county’s environment in the last 12 months.”

The LOVE Northumberland awards are co-ordinated by Northumberland County Council as part of its campaign to improve and enhance the environment of the county.

Andy Rutherford, head of highways and neighbourhood services at the council says:  “We are very pleased to welcome the Banks Group as a key supporter of the awards – a move that will benefit groups and communities right across Northumberland.”

“Keeping Northumberland green and clean is a real partnership effort – where our teams work alongside local communities on areas that are important to them.

“We have established the annual LOVE Northumberland awards so that we can highlight and celebrate the vast amount of effort that goes into improving and enhancing areas of our beautiful county for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.”

The awards are also being supported for the second year by the Co-operative’s Northumberland Area Committee as well as a number of Northumberland based companies and organisations.

More information about the LOVE Northumberland awards and how to enter can be found at   The closing date for applications is Friday, June 8.

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