12 deeds of Christmas – Your Community Stars
12 Community Stars, living in Karbon communities, have received a special thank you this festive season, thanks to our 12 deeds of Christmas.
The annual campaign is our way of celebrating both the good neighbours and community heroes living and working in the areas we cover - those individuals or groups who have gone the extra mile to help others and deserve a big thank you.
2020 has been a year like no other and has really highlighted the power of community spirit. To help us celebrate these stars we asked you to nominate and you didn’t disappoint.
We’ve absolutely loved hearing about all the amazing work that’s been going on in our communities and it was difficult to whittle the nominations down to just 12, but we got there.
So without further ado, here are this year’s 12 (in no particular order as we couldn’t possibly rank them)
Residents at Castle Court - Linda, Peter, Ernie and Valerie.
4 residents who live at Castle Court, our sheltered scheme in Annfield Plain, Linda, Peter, Ernie and Valerie, were nominated by Castle Court’s scheme coordinator, Deborah Kennedy.
“These residents have been doing a great job at Castle Court cooking in their own flats for 25 or more other residents and delivering meals at least once a week. It has made some of the residents’ day just seeing a friendly face with a nice hot meal.”
We really felt this gesture of kindness, which has made such a difference to those around them, deserved some recognition. This year has really shown the importance of neighbourly kindness and these four really do fly the Good Neighbour flag.
Bacmans Community Ltd
The pandemic has made us really grateful for the work of local charities and organisations in our communities. Bacmans Community Ltd has been a real community hero this year and was nominated for a good deed by Angela Price, who told us how amazing they are and how they have gone above and beyond to support residents across East Northumberland.
With this in mind we were delighted to be able to recognise all the team's hard work and help support their plans for for coming weeks to help make sure the families it supports have a special Christmas.
£75 of the award from us is going straight towards funding the Christmas hampers they are putting together and the final £25 they have given to one of their volunteers, Gillian, who received a special shout out from Angela in the nomination.
Courtney Ashe, from Stanley, has really supported her community this year. Courtney, who is just 17, volunteers at PACT House, working front of house dealing with food support enquiries, distributing community meals and crisis support, collecting donations with the man with a van and dropping off support to other community groups.
She was nominated for one of our 12 deeds by Darren McMahon, PACT House trustee. “Through the lockdown months Courtney has grown in confidence and she’s began to realise she is stronger and more able than she gave herself credit for. It’s been quite amazing to watch her bloom into a fine young woman and she is an example of what potential many people have inside. She could have easily been left and written off in her teenage years but has instead addressed her needs and put her life on a positive track, all whilst supporting her community.”
It’s been so wonderful to not only hear what a difference Courtney has made in her community, but also how it has benefitted her and helped build her self-confidence.
The winner of our fourth deed really encompasses what it is to be a good neighbour. Kindness, friendship and support. Holly Avery, received a couple of nominations for our 12 deeds, both from neighbours who clearly think the world of her.
Ben told us, “Holly started a Facebook group for the residents here which has really brought everyone together. Everyone talks daily on there now, about anything from security to asking for help with things, alongside lots of general neighbourly chat. She also collected in all of the pumpkins from the estate (with the help of said Facebook group) and took them all to the animal sanctuary. I think she definitely deserves a thank you.”
Rowan added: “Holly has turned a new build housing estate into a community where everyone waves at each other and stops to chat, where everyone is able to offer a helping hand or lend a tool/bottle of milk/batteries. She has put soul into the estate by introducing everyone who moves in and making people feel comfortable enough to participate. A true hero.”
Our Community Connector for the area, Jess was delighted to present Holly with a thank you and a £100 Love2Shop voucher.
Sonia Hewitson and the Langley Park Community Garden volunteers
When Sonia and Community Garden volunteers set out to provide the local community with an outside space they could enjoy, no one could have anticipated just how important that garden would become as the country went into national lockdown.
Sonia and the volunteers were nominated for one of our good deeds by Lynne Vickers who told us, “Sonia and her group of volunteers have turned an old, dilapidated community garden into a beautiful place. Children of all ages go along to help and learn about wildlife in the garden and us older folk just love to go along and sit and watch the world go by. This group are always fundraising, not just for the community garden but they also raised enough funds for 3 defibrillators for Langley Park.”
Sonica told us the £100 would either go towards supplies for the garden or something for the volunteers.
KIND Community Support Group
In response to the pandemic, local communities have sprung into action. Neighbours are looking out for each other and lots of informal support groups have formed to support people in need.
One such groups is KIND Community Support Group in Fencehouses. The group volunteers have worked so hard throughout the pandemic providing emergency food parcels to those in the community that are vulnerable and in need of help.
The group were nominated for a good deed by Cllr Alan Bell who wanted the group volunteers to know how grateful he is for their dedication and thank them on behalf of the local community. Our Community Connector Paul paid the group a visit to deliver their £100 Love2Shop voucher, which they plan to spend on more provisions for the project.
We absolutely love hearing about the effort that individuals in are communities are going to help those who need it most.
Earlier in the year, we heard about Anthony Wright and everything he was doing to support during the first lockdown. He used his time unselfishly to provide free food parcels and hot meals to vulnerable families and the elderly around his local area. Each day he dropped off parcels and went door to door to ensure everyone was OK and managing to get food.
So, when he heard about Anthony again, we were determined to give him the recognition he deserves. Anthony was nominated by Steve Walton who said: “This bloke took it upon himself to feed the most vulnerable and elderly people with the community through the profits his cafe made or donations from the public. No one who asked for help went without, no one!”
It’s not often we get the opportunity to reward the Good Neighbours in our communities, which is why we love the 12 deeds of Christmas campaign. And this year the recognition is more important than ever.
Sandra Evans, who lives in Great Lumley, was nominated for a good deed by her neighbours, Stella and Ray Austin, who wanted her to receive a special thankyou in return for everything she’s done this year. Ray told us: “Sandra has done shopping for a number of people in Great Lumley over the last few months and still does a weekly shop even though she has resumed work herself. Nothing has ever been too much trouble for her.”
Sandra was delighted to have been nominated and we hope the £100 thankyou will give her the opportunity to treat herself this Christmas.
Happy Faces, a group providing inclusive social activities for children with additional needs and their siblings, has been a real saviour for lots of families in and around Prudhoe, who have really struggled through the pandemic.
Despite not being able to meet due to restrictions and lockdowns, the group has continued to offer support where possible to its families, which has helped make the past year that bit more manageable.
The group was nominated by local councillor, Gordon Stewart, who wanted to thank one of the group’s founders, Amanda Carr, for her dedication and for always going the extra mile. Gordon told us: “At this time the pressures put on the groups families is greater than ever before. Happy Faces, through Amanda, has had to change its way of operating but has been innovative at every point in providing vital support for families of children and young people with additional needs. Amanda and her wonderful daughter, who lives with additional needs and medical issues, are always so happy and cheerful which is great to see.”
We were delighted to not only celebrate the group but also to recognise Amanda, who’s hard work makes Happy Faces the wonderful support network it is.
When it comes to being a Good Neighbour Scarlett Duke from Hadston, really proves there is no age limit. Scarlett, who is just 6 years old, has been collecting for those less fortunate than her and has really helped her community out.
As well as litter picking and making hampers for the keyworkers, she has collected lots of food for Hadston House food bank. She is now on a mission and has collected over £2000 in gifts for children in Northumberland who may not receive any presents this year.
What a fabulous little girl and to show how grateful we are for her hard work, we got on the phone and managed to get Santa here to deliver her special present.
Thanks to both Ashleigh Duke and Samantha Hood for your nominations, it really made our week meeting Scarlett.
Russ Greig and the volunteers at The Miners Lamp Café and Community Hub
Russ Greig is the Project Coordinator for the Miners Lamp Café and Community Hub in Eastwood Park and alongside the volunteers there, Russ was nominated for one of our good deeds for the outstanding community support they have given to people of West Wylam thoughout the pandemic.
Due to the crisis, the cafe has seen a significant increase in requests for help with food, particularly from the elderly and single parent families in the area who have been left without support networks, and the team really stepped up to the plate to offer a lifeline.
The cafe expanded its food bank and was distributing food aid parcels, containing fresh produce and toiletries, on a daily basis across Prudhoe, Wylam, Mickley, Ovingham.
Our Community Connector for the area, Denise, paid Russ a visit to deliver his well deserved thankyou and recognise all his and the team’s hard work. You’ve made a real difference to many people’s lives in your community.
Hazelrigg Community Centre
Our final good deed was a given, not only because of the amazing work they’ve done to support the community through the pandemic but because of the sheer number of nominations they received all singing their praises.
The group of volunteers who run Hazelrigg Community Centre work tirelessly to support the village and make it a great place to live, and through the pandemic the team have gone above and beyond to make sure those struggling get the support they need.
Phrases such as ‘Without them we wouldn’t be a community’, ‘Perfect example of community spirit and selflessness’, ‘A true village gem’ and ‘A god send through this pandemic’, really showed us how much they mean to their community.
One nomination from Leanne Finneran really made us smile. It said: “They really did get us through the lockdowns and I can’t thank them enough for the help they gave me. They are just the best and I feel so lucky to live in a little village like this and have a community like we do.”
We were delighted to be able to name them one of our Community Stars for this year and to show them how grateful we are for everything they do.