The Northstar Centre wins council accolade

The outstanding contribution county council staff make to the lives of people across Northumberland has been recognised at this year's Excellence Awards.

Monday, 25th September 2017, 08:49 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 10:43 am
Northumberland County Council staff award winners.

A prestigious awards ceremony was held in the Pavillion at the Alnwick Garden and guests included finalists, council leaders and event sponsors Potts, Carillion, Bond Dickinson and Northumbrian Water.

Peter Jackson, council leader, said “Our judges had an incredibly tough task choosing the winners from so many high-calibre nominations.

“The good work that goes on right across the county is often not sufficiently recognised but I am happy to show our appreciation on behalf of residents all over our county.”

Berwick’s Northstar Centre, which offers 27 adults with learning, physical and health-related disabilities a range of opportunities, won community project of the year.

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A citation read out at the ceremony stated: ‘The team of 14 staff work with clients to encourage them to make choices for themselves, experience working environments, improve and maintain health and physical well being and take part in activities that are therapeutic and stimulating. These activities include business and work opportunities in the service and through sales and promotional events around the town.

‘The Northstar Centre has a modest and successful photography and jewellery business that produces a wide range of gifts for the tourism industry and exhibits every year in the town. The team also encourages clients to engage in performing arts.

‘Self-esteem and confidence building are paramount for clients to have a full and active role in their own community and this is done by developing innovative opportunities to show what people can do and achieve.’

It continues: ‘The team strives to overcome obstacles with the clients rather than for them and encourages clients to focus on their abilities, developing a presence and promoting themselves through roles within their own community. Changing attitudes, educating and promoting ability are their aims and have led to improving the service that the council offers to people with varying needs.’

The award winners were: Careers Guidance Team - Outstanding Team of the Year Award; Christine Crawford - Outstanding Employee of the Year Award; Occupational Health Service & HR - Outstanding Partnership Working Award; Martin Lindores and the Asylum Seeker & Refugee Team - Diversity in Practice Award; Emma Troup - Outstanding Apprentice of the Year Award; Ellie Cooper and Rebecca Harding - Outstanding Learner of the Year Award; The Northstar Centre - Community Project of the Year Award; John Hunter - Innovation Project of the Year Award; Hexham Refuse Crew E Route - Customer Service of the Year Award; Vicki Atkinson - Excellence in Leadership Award; Dave Pears - Lifetime Achievement Award; Bill Brown - Outstanding Dedication Award.

A surprise Leader’s Choice Award was also presented on the night – this went to the Apprenticeship Ambassadors; Martin Lillico, Lewis Mills, Leon Craggs and Sam Hogg.

In June 2017, Northumberland County Council launched a recruitment drive for 160 apprentices, making a £1.75 million commitment to providing great opportunities for young people in the county. To support the recruitment the Apprenticeship Ambassadors became the faces of the campaign, and their images appeared on buses, at train stations, on display stands and on literature. The ‘We’re Making it Work’ recruitment campaign raised awareness of the County Council’s Apprenticeship Programme, which offers apprenticeships from entry level to Degree level.

By learning and developing in their own fields, they have grasped a firm understanding of the apprenticeship process and developed the perfect skills to front the campaign, promoting the County Council as an ideal place for young people to start their career journey. There has been great deal of very positive feedback from a wide range of stakeholders and applicants regarding how and why they felt that the image and campaign had resonated with them.