North East businesses making outstanding contributions to their local communities have been honoured through the Reponsible Business Awards 2014.
A total of 11 firms from the region earned Big Tick awards at the event, which is run by business-led charity, Business in the Community (BITC).
Individuals were also singled out for their efforts, including Margaret Wenham of EDF Energy who took home the Employee Volunteer of the Year Award; community champion Ernie Nolan of Acorn Community Reuse and Recycling (CIC); and Ummar Hannif, neighbourhood manager of the Middlesbrough-based Thirteen Group, who won the Marks & Spencer Sieff Award, recognising the importance of the next generation of business leaders.
Greggs Plc likewise picked up the Employee Volunteering Business Award, having given 566 days of employee time and helped 143 organisations in 2013.
The prestigious Prince’s Ambassador Award, meanwhile, went to chief executive of Gentoo Group Peter Walls, in recognition of his in-depth understanding of social issues, particularly in disadvantaged and economically challenged communities.
Speaking via a video message at the dinner at the Newcastle Marriott Hotel, Gosforth Park, president of BITC, HRH The Prince of Wales, said: “My ambassadors are those individuals who are recognised for driving the responsible business movement through the actions they take in their own workplace.
“I could not be more grateful to them for the work they do, or have agreed to take on, focused on the key priorities of tackling youth unemployment and building stable and sustainable local communities.”
The Big Tick winners were: Darlington Building Society (Building Stronger Communities Award); Esh Group (Education Award); Gus Robinson Developments Ltd (Inspiring Young Talent); PD Ports Group (Inspiring Young Talent); Northumbrian Water Group (Sustainable Products and Services Award); Sage (UKI) Limited (Work Inclusion); Greggs PLC (Work Inclusion); Shared Interest Society (Unilever International Award): Gentoo Group (Responsible Business and Bupa Workwell Engagement and Wellbeing Award); Derwentside Homes (Building Stronger Communities Award); and Johnson Matthey (Responsible Business Award). Four of them - Derwentside Homes, Gentoo Group, East Coast Mainline and Johnson Matthey - were shortlisted for the national final on July 8.