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Throughout our 12 deeds of Christmas, we're celebrating the stars in our communities. Those people or groups of people who go the extra mile and deserve a big thank you!
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Each day we'll reveal a new good deed. Click on each door to see what we've been up to!
Ros, who lives in Stanley, was nominated for the 12 deeds of Christmas by friend and PACT House trustee, Darren McMahon, for all the incredibly volunteering work she does for the cafe which makes a huge difference to the lives of others in her community.
"Ros is a real shining star and has put aside her own issues to support others. Since PACT House began nearly 4 years ago, she has been ever present. She is our rock of stability, from taking parents to visit their children in care, to managing our foodbank, to working day in day out to give local people support, care and a better life.
"Ros is selfless in her support, kind and practical. PACT House would not function without her. She collects and collates donations each day, is happy to put on an apron and serve in our community cafe, she is our volunteer treasurer, cleaner and confidant. She is everything an organisation could ever want, honest, reliable and trustworthy.”
To show our appreciation for all her hard work, Ros was presented with a Christmas hamper with an array of goodies, as well as a shopping voucher so she can pick up all her extra favourites.
Ros said: “I’ve been helping out at PACT House for over 3 years now and I love it. I really enjoy the work I do for them, there’s lots of variety and no two days are the same. What keeps me coming back is that whatever it is I’m doing I’m helping someone, which feels good.
“I don’t like to be in the limelight, I don’t do what I do for the thanks, but it is really nice to get something for Christmas. Some of the bits from the hamper I’m going to donate back to the community cafe for the events going on up to Christmas.”
We’d like to say a big thank you to Ros for all the amazing work she does in her community, and difference she makes to many people’s lives.
Ros, you’re a real community star!
Ros with Darren who nominated her for a good deed
Hazelrigg Community Centre
Today’s door is swinging open to reveal a cracking Christmas party, at Hazelrigg Community Centre.
The centre was nominated for one of our 12 deeds by volunteer and Karbon resident, Natasha Paley, who believed the centre deserved a boost to make this year’s Christmas festivities extra special.
Natasha said: “I chose to nominate Hazlerigg and District War Memorial Community Centre as it really is the heart of the community. The group of volunteers do their best to get people together to battle loneliness in the village, and the centre is a safe space for people to come and feel part of a family.
“I am heavily involved in the running of the centre and every year I help organise various Christmas events and fundraisers. Over Christmas we have a number of events happening, including dinner for the elderly, a Christmas fair, and a children’s Christmas party.
“I love to bring the community together and am extremely passionate about where I live and helping others.”
To help give Natasha’s Christmas events that extra sparkle, Karbon funded a turkey, which was used for the yearly coffee morning Christmas dinner, which this year catered for 25, and a heap of selection boxes which will be given out at the kids Christmas party by the big man himself!
Natasha added: “It is nice to have been picked to receive one of Karbon’s 12 deeds as I feel like it gives the centre the recognition it deserves. It is the feeling of being appreciated more than anything.
“We’re really thankful for the donation, it is greatly appreciated and has made a difference as it is one less thing for us to pay for. The centre is a charity and relies on donations. At the moment we’re in desperate need of some building work done so this £100 is a big help.”
We’re proud to be able to offer support to community centre’s, like Hazelrigg, which help keep community spirit alive in the area.
A very special thank you to Natasha (picture below), for all the hard work you do to help make Hazelrigg a great place to live.
You’re a real community star!
Stephen Stewart is a Karbon colleague, and when he’s not busy in his role as a Technical Officer within our Contracts Services team, he is out transforming the communal areas of the village where he lives. Stephen was nominated by his fellow colleague Audrey Dinning, who wanted Stephen’s hard work to be given the recognition it deserves.
Audrey said: “Stephen works so hard in his local community and is dedicated to making sure his village is a lovely place to live. After a hard day at Karbon his evenings and weekends are spent painting planters, cutting any areas of grass, and trimming back trees that get missed, and helping his elderly neighbours, taxiing them places and helping them keep on top of their gardens.
“One of his most recent projects was transformed a rather smelly, run down bus shelter in to a place where it’s nice for the elderly to catch their bus.
“He makes such a difference in the village and it’s lovely to see someone so proud of where they live. If everyone had Stephen’s dedication what a lovelier place the world would be. I cannot think of anyone more deserving!”
To give Stephen the pat on the back he deserves, we turned up out of the blue with a £70 gift voucher for B&Q, along with a bunch bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates.
Stephen said: “Receiving the gifts was totally unexpected and it was really nice of Audrey to nominate me.
“It amuses a few of my close friends when they find out what I’ve been up to in my spare time. Cutting grass, trimming hedges, and now painting the odd bus shelter or stone planter in the village. I find the work relaxing as well as rewarding and the village now looks a little tidier and cared for.
“Thanks to Karbon for the flowers, chocolate and gift voucher.”
We’d like to say a big thank you to Stephen who’s kindness and dedication makes his village a great place to live.
Stephen, you’re a star in your community!
The Happy Wanderers luncheon club
The weekly lunchtime club, which runs from Karbon’s Auckland Communal Rooms in Chester-le-Street, provides a friendly, welcoming, home away from home, for the many elderly residents in the area who rely on it for a warm meal and a place to come socialise and make friends.
Karbon’s Community Connector for the Chester-le-Street area, Paul Hadden, put the group forward for a good deed to say thank you to the volunteers who work so hard to make the group the wonderful place it is each and every week.
Paul said: “This time of year, makes us think of others and kindness and generosity become the watchword of Christmas. The volunteers who run the Happy wanderers luncheon club in Chester-le-Street, personify both of those.
“This Christmas day, as has been the case every Christmas day since the founding of the club over 7 years ago, volunteers will give up their day to put on a Christmas dinner for those without family or friends.
“It is with this particular act of kindness and generosity in mind, I nominated the volunteers of the luncheon club for the 12 deeds of Christmas gift. It may be 2019 but the Christmas spirit of old is alive and well at the Happy Wanderers”.
To help make this year’s Christmas dinner a special one, Karbon put £100 towards the costs, which will provide those who attend with a slap up Christmas dinner and a small present.
Group chairman, Steve Littledyke said: “We’re very grateful for the support Karbon has given us and we're over the moon to have been chosen for a good deed.
“We came to Karbon about 4 years ago having had to move out of our previous location due to increased prices for hire. Karbon was able to offer the group the Wednesday lunchtime slot at Auckland Communal Rooms, free of charge, which meant the club could keep going.
“Now, for just £3 a week each, our members get a 2 course meal, tea or coffee and biscuits, and bingo prizes.
“Some of our members, before joining the club weren’t getting out of the house from one week to the next. The club fills the gap of loneliness and we’re a real little family. The place always has such a buzz which is so good, and there’s so much chatter which only stops for the bingo!”
From both Karbon and the local people who benefit so much from the club, we’d like to say a big thank you to the Happy Wanderers volunteers. We hope the gift will help make this year’s Christmas lunch a great one.
You’re all our community stars!
Michael and Elise Robson
The brother and sister duo, aged 11 and 12, volunteer at PACT House community café on Stanley Front Street after school.
Paula Murray-Barrett from PACT House put them forward to receive one of Karbon’s 12 deeds of Christmas.
“Elise and Michael have attended PACT House since it opened and they are two of the most industrious young people we have ever met. They are both so selfless and kind, they’re our dynamic duo.
“They help in the café as part of our Wednesday night community meal, pre packing food and toiletry parcels for distributions. They volunteer at our kid’s kitchen project, which provides after school activities for young children as well as providing meals as we address holiday hunger during school holidays. At any event or fundraiser we do they run our tombola and raffles and have raised a significant amount of money for PACT House.
“I couldn’t think of anyone more worthy of a nomination.”
To say thank you, the siblings were presented with a £50 voucher each, to spend in any shop at the Metro Centre, and a share size tub of Christmas chocolates to enjoy.
Michael said “Me and Elise have been coming to help at PACT House since it opened 4 years ago. It’s a stress free zone, and a family place where we can come with our mum and our baby brother.”
Elise added: “We’re really happy to have been chosen and to get these presents. The sweets are great and I’m going to share them with everyone at PACT house.
“I’m going to give my voucher to my mum to go towards some Christmas presents. Every Christmas Eve we get new slippers, pyjamas, and dressing gowns, and I’m going to get a Harry Potter set.”
We’d like to say a big thank you to Michael and Elise for all the amazing work they do at PACT House, which supports many Karbon residents in the Stanley area.
You’re both Community Stars!
The Old Cronies
The Old Cronies Group are an eager bunch of residents at Park View sheltered scheme in Lynemouth, who go above and beyond to support both the other residents in the scheme and the wider local community.
The group was nominated for a good deed by Park View’s Scheme Coordinator, Diane Leighton.
“As the Scheme Coordinator here I witness The Old Cronies Group doing more and more good deeds almost daily.
“Whether it’s serving the other residents in the scheme by volunteering their time to put on an evening meal in the common room each month, to opening their doors and kitchen to the local community on Lynemouth Gala day, and donating £150.00 that they had fundraised to the gala fund for next year’s event, they ever stop.
“They are a relatively new group but in the short time they have been going they’ve made such a big difference and have managed to get lots of other residents involved in group activities.
“One of the Park View residents has lived here for 3 years and used to hardly leave his flat. But the group managed to get him interested in one of the activities and on finding out that he’s into photography have recruited him as their official photographer. It’s been brilliant for his confidence and has given him a feeling of purpose.
“It fills my heart with pride to manage this scheme.”
On choosing their thank you gift from Karbon, once again the Old Cronies demonstrated their selfless nature and commitment to Park View and asked for an outdoor Christmas Tree for the communal garden.
When asked why they decided on this, they said: “Dressing the tree would bring lots of joy to the other residents, and it would be a gift that kept on giving year after year. We’re very thankful to Karbon for this donation and look forward to seeing the trees up and decorated.”
We’re very proud to have some wonderful resident living in our schemes, who show such commitment to both their neighbours and their local communities.
The Old Cronies are real Community Stars!
The Old Cronies, left to right, Olive, Elise, Dorothy, Molly, Diane, Brenda, Vincent and Val
Eileen, who lives in Alnwick, was nominated for the 12 deeds of Christmas by Liz Pratt, the manager of Karbon’s Extra Care scheme, Weavers’ Court.
Eileen isn’t a resident there but has contributed so much to Weavers' Court over the last couple of years, and Liz wanted to let her know how much both her and the other residents at the scheme appreciate all her hard work and dedication.
Liz said: “Eileen is typically what you would call an unsung hero within the Weavers' Court community, who never asks for anything for herself but tries to give back to both the scheme and to many charities.
“She never stops... She knits outfits for dolls which our the Woolly Weavers' group at the scheme then raffle off to fundraise for their group. She regularly bakes cakes for our Songs of Praise services and for other charity events going on.
“This year she has knitted hundreds of Forget me Not pin badges to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society, as well as knitting Pudsey Bears for Children in Need and Poppies for the British Legion.
“And her most recent project is sewing costumes for animation models needed by Twin Vision, a multi media charity that works in Merseyside hospitals with sick and terminally ill children.”
“This year she has had not only her own health problems, as well as supporting her son through a serious illness and caring for her husband who isn’t well, but still she keeps going.”
To show our appreciation for everything she does, Eileen was presented with a Christmas bouquet, a box of chocolates and a bottle of bubbly.
Eileen said: “I can honestly say that without Weavers’ Court, my life wouldn’t be what it is. I like to get involved in lots going on here, I’m back again later this week for the Wooley Weavers’ Christmas dinner, it’s a real home away from home.
“A lot of my time is spent caring for my husband who is unwell and supporting my son. Coming here has kept me going, it gives me something to look forward as it’s my time to do what I enjoy.
“It’s lovely of Liz to nominate me and thank you to Karbon for the gifts.”
We’d like to say a big thank you to Eileen for all the amazing work she does.
Eileen is a real community star!
Pendower Good Neighbour Project
Pendower Good Neighbour Project, located on the Pendower Estate in Benwell, in the West End of Newcastle, provides development opportunities for children and young people, as well as supporting older residents to continue to live independently.
The project was nominated for a good deed by Karbon’s Assistant Director of Customer and Community Engagement, Brian O’Doherty
Brian said: “The project supports those who live on the estate in the heart of Benwell, offering something for everyone in the community. It really helps bring the community together by bridging gaps between people of all demographics and providing vital support for those who need it most.”
To help make Christmas that bit more magical, Karbon gifted the project a heap of selection boxes so those who attend the children’s Christmas party would get a gift, and a box of Christmas puddings to keep the adults smiling.
The gifts were presented to Ruth Taylor, Senior Project Worker for the charity.
“It’s lovely to be recognised for the work we do here. We don’t usually give out gifts to the kids at Christmas, purely because we rarely have the funds to cover added extras like that, so being able to give the kids a little something is really special.
“And as for the Christmas puds… well, we’re never in a position to have treats for adults who come along to the centre so a bowl of Christmas pudding and custard will go down a treat!”
As well as a gift for the project, Brian also wanted to recognise Ruth for her going commitment to the project
Brian added: “Ruth has been a cornerstone of the Pendower Good Neighbour Project. Without her tireless energy and commitment, the project would not be the success it is and the estate a less happy place for people to live.”
To say a big thank you, Ruth received a bouquet of festive flowers.
Ruth said: “No one’s ever said that before, it’s really lovely to hear. I’ve been involved in the project for a long time, everyday is different and we have so much fun.
“It feels great to be able to provide the diverse community here with a place where everyone can feel welcome. What I love is seeing people grow with the project. Many people who came here as youngsters now bring their own families. We really are one big family.”
We’re proud to be able to support to projects that play such an important role in our communities, and a we’d like to say a special thank you to Ruth for making it all possible.
A real shining star in the community!
It’s always brilliant to hear about the amazing work our residents do in their communities, and very humbling when we hear from those who keep on giving back even though they’ve had a tough time themselves.
A great example of this is Karbon resident, Janet Turnbull who is a volunteer at No.28 Community House in Hexham.
After going through a difficult personal time due to being made redundant, Janet started volunteering with the No.28 weekly work club, and soon became a digital champion volunteer.
Janet was nominated for a good deed by Claire Heaviside, No.28’s manager.
“Janet has been the most wonderfully supportive volunteer with the No.28 Community Project for the last 4 years.
“She is excellent at building confidence in others and has helped numerous work club members to gain digital skills. She even goes above and beyond to help one member with their numeracy and literacy skills.
“Since completing a free online Business Admin course, Janet managed to get a part time admin job and more recently we were able to offer her a few hours with this community project, where she gives 110% and is always happy to help me and anyone who comes through the door. She is currently helping a young mum, who has never worked, to do an online business course to improve her employment prospects.
To shine a light on Janet’s amazing work and thank her for the time and dedication she has put in to helping people in her local community, we surprised Janet with a Christmas hamper full of foodies for her to enjoy over the festive season.
Claire added: “Janet is a kind, very caring individual who always puts others first and is great at cheering everyone up, even when she's feeling down herself. It’s amazing that we’ve been able to recognise her selflessness and to receive a treat this Christmas.
Thank you for being amazing Janet and for doing everything that you do
You’re a true community star!
From single children to siblings, spanning from babies through to teenagers, every child that comes through Carol’s door is treated like one of her own. This is why her friend and neighbour, Audrey, got in touch to nominate her for one of Karbon’s 12 deeds.
Audrey said: “Carol and I have been friends for a long time and I honestly have no idea how she does what she does. I admire that fact that she does the job so well, and I don’t always think that people appreciate that what she does is a 24/7 job that never stops.
“She has never given up on a child, no matter how hard it gets, and nothing has ever been too much for her to keep these children safe. Each one has had the best start in life they could possibly ask for, it’s just amazing. I’m totally in awe of her. She deserves this recognition so much as she is so kind and caring and it’s time that was celebrated.”
To grant Audrey her wish, Karbon presented Carol with a gift voucher for Bespoke in Sacriston, so she could take some time to pamper herself, and a big bunch of flowers.
Carol said: “This was such a lovely thing for Audrey to do, she’s such a good friend and has been there for me when there’s been tears and I’ve wanted to pack it all in.
“Lots of the children I’ve cared for have had really tough beginnings, but I believe that every childhood deserves a good home and nice memories and I will do everything I can to make sure I provide that for them. It’s not the easiest job, you really have to put your own feels aside, but it’s incredibly rewarding to see them flourish.
“The hardest part is when children leave. It’s as hard with the 60th child as it was with the first. I remember everything about each and every one of them, and I keep Clinton’s in business with the number of birthday cards I buy each year.
“Christmas is always a lovely time of year though as I hear from many of them through letters and cards. Out of the 62, there’s only to that I don’t hear from.”
You’re one in a million Carol, and we couldn’t be prouder to have you as one of our residents.
You’re a star in your community!
Giving something back to the community that gave him a foot on the ladder is really important to our next 12 deeds winner, Karbon resident David Sowerby from Hartlepool.
Alongside work and caring for his family, David is an unsung hero at Belle Vue Sports Community & Youth Centre, due to all the time he dedicates to helping to keep the centre going.
David was nominated by the team at Belle Vue. Alex from the centre said: “Over the past 15 years David has done such a lot for the centre. He regularly helps out around the place, fixing everything from our IT systems to doing odd jobs around the place such as plumbing and redecorating.
“He also helps the local residents on the estate, particularly the more elderly, who may require occasional odd jobs doing around the house, changing light bulbs and stuff like that.
“David does all of this despite having his own business to run, working 9am-9pm most day. He has also been dealing with his wife being now well, and looking after his 7 year old son.
“He has never asked for anything in return for this work, or sought any sort of recognition for the help he gives, and everyone here considers him an unsung hero and he certainly deserves recognition through the 12 deeds of Christmas.”
To give David the recognition he deserves for being the star that he is, we presented David with a £100 gift voucher for Screwfit, money that he can spend on new tools for his own business, DS CCTV Services, or for tools to use on his allotment.
David said: “It feels brilliant to have been nominated and even better to have bee chosen. It was totally unexpected. I have been a part of the centre since it opened back in 1985, as when I was young I was involved in the youth club here. I did a bit of work for them just this morning actually.
“Without this place and the opportunities it gave me growing up, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I owe the centre and the team here a lot, and this is my way of giving something back and saying thanks.”
Alex added: “People like David who are willing to help, do so much for the community and help move the centre forward. David is also a great role model to the youth of today who come to the centre. He is a great example of what they can make of themselves and the success they can have if they work hard.”
Thank you for everything you give back to your community David
You’re a real community star!
Roots and Wings Youth Café
Roots and Wings Youth Café at Blackhill Baptist Church is a volunteer ran project started by Lynn Walton. The youth café provides a place for young people aged 11-16 years old in the local area to come after school, to socialise in a fun, safe, environment.
The project was nominated to receive one of our 12 deeds by Joanne Nattrass, one of the volunteers at the youth cafe.
Joanne said: “When I saw that Karbon was asking for nominations for their 12 deeds of Christmas campaign, I thought it was perfect for Roots and Wings.
“The Youth Café provides children with a fun safe environment where they are able to pop in after school on a Thursday and spend time catching up with their peers.
“The volunteers provide all children with toast, a drink and a small snack as many of the children who attend come from a home life where money and food are tight. Many of the children who attend openly talk about how the toast is the only thing they will have till lunch time at school the next day, which is heart breaking.
“The café is seen by the volunteers as a vital part of the community in Blackhill, but due to money being tight we feared that any plans for a Christmas party would have to be overlooked.
“When Karbon got in touch to say they would be able to support we were delighted. A Christmas party doesn’t seem like a big deal but to these kids it’s really special.”
To help make the Christmas party a reality, Karbon funded a DJ and a disco for the kids to enjoy. The kids also had pizza, which is a big treat for many of them.
Lynn Walton, runs the youth café in her own time, as she recognised that there wasn’t a youth provision in the Blackhill area.
Lynn said: “I started the café about 6 years ago, to provide a club for the young people in this area. A lot of them have issues that they’re dealing with but the café gives them a place where for 2 hours a week they can just have fun and be young people.
“It’s fantastic to have a bit of money to throw a party for them. We couldn’t have afforded a disco without support, and it’s really given the kids something special to enjoy.
“It’s a fantastic club and the kids that come are great. Running it is hectic and stressful, and you have to have eyes in the back of your head, but it’s brilliant and so rewarding. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
We hope the young people enjoyed their Christmas party. To the volunteers who make Roots and Wings the success it is, we want to say a huge thank you.