Nominations sought for the North East company that does the most within its community

The North East Business Awards' coveted Heart of the Community accolade highlights those firms that best help the communities in which they operate

Karen Eve from Castlegate Shopping Centre with other finalists at last year's awards
Karen Eve from Castlegate Shopping Centre with other finalists at last year's awards

Only those companies that go the extra mile for their communities can compete for the North East Business Awards’ coveted Heart of the Community accolade.

Stockton’s Castlegate Shopping Centre claimed the honour last year - and sponsor Derwentside Homes selected the team because of its hard work to provide free and engaging charity and community initiatives.

Castlegate Shopping Centre is home to more than 65 businesses - and the organisation wanted to show that “shopping centres should be relevant for the community they’re part of” according to manager Karen Eve.

The shopping centre claims winning the award has helped it develop community partnerships with charities and community organisations, enabling it to reach key targets including families, the elderly, students and children.

Karen said the awards win generated a stream of positive community messages across regional media channels.

“The most pleasing outcome,” she adds, “was that it really put Stockton on the map and placed the spotlight on the town’s fantastic community spirit.

“This was a great win for the town and a proud moment for the shopping centre.”

It had its business benefits too - with footfall at the centre bucking the national trend with a year-on-year increase of 8.5% in 2013.

The award celebrates excellence in corporate, social and ethical activity, and seeks to identify organisations which “best exemplify the social and community spirit which is at the core of North East culture”.

Judges will be looking for:

* evidence of contribution to the overall well-being of the community and general quality of life;

* projects that can demonstrate working in partnership with their local neighbours and community;

* projects which contribute to the economic regeneration of the region;

* using positive influence to support suppliers and other partners to adopt best workplace and community practice.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer