Environmental champions celebrated
A newly restored park, a primary school gardening club and a heritage coast festival - they're just some of the projects recognised in an annual celebration of environmental achievements.
The awards, now in their 27th year, are organised by the County Durham Environment Partnership to celebrate great design, environmental guardianship and community spirit.
The 2016 awards saw an impressive 57 entries from all over County Durham. Judges had the difficult task of whittling these down to a shortlist of 34.
At a ceremony in Durham on Thursday night (10 November), 17 category winners were revealed and presented with their awards, while 18 entries were awarded 'highly commended'.
Hat-trick of awards for Wharton Park
Our £3m restoration of Durham's Wharton Park, which received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through its Parks for People programme, scooped an impressive hat-trick of awards.
As well as winning the 'built environment' and 'places and spaces' categories, the scheme was also given the 'outstanding' award which judges can give to an exemplary entry which far exceeds the category criteria.
Judges felt the restoration had transformed the park into an attractive leisure facility for the 21st century while respecting its historic character. They said the vision, design, quality and execution of the work elevated it to outstanding.
Other winning entries were:
- Restoration of Auckland Castle walled garden (craftsmanship category)
- Heathland Heartlands at Annfield Plain (natural environment)
- School Carbon Reduction Programme (climate change)
- Doe Park Caravan Park (greener business)
- Cotsford Community Allotment at Horden (schools and colleges)
- Murton Ribbon Academy (schools and colleges)
- Whitworth Park STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Club (schools and colleges)
- From Wilderness to Wonderland/Stevenson Way Academy, Newton Aycliffe (schools and colleges)
- Heart of Teesdale project (community partnership)
- Reach for the Beach festival (community partnership)
- Burnhope Community Garden (places and spaces)
- Sacriston and Changing Lives Conservation Project (volunteer group of the year)
- Brusselton Incline Group (volunteer group of the year)
- Joyce Roberts (volunteer of the year)
- Roseberry Primary School gardening club (volunteer of the year under 18)
Quality and dedication
Terry Collins, chairman of County Durham Environment Partnership, said: "Once again we've seen a fantastic range of environmental projects taking place in County Durham.
"I never fail to be impressed by the quality of the work and the dedication of the people who work hard to make it happen. It is only right this work is recognised through these awards as everyone who lives or works in, or visits, the area benefits from it."
We organise the awards on behalf of the partnership which brings together public, private and voluntary organisations with the aim "to make County Durham Altogether Greener."
Congratulations to all entrants
Cllr Simon Henig, our leader and chair of County Durham Partnership, said: "I would like to offer my congratulations to all who entered this year's awards, the quality on display was excellent and I know the judges had a difficult time picking winners. It is always impressive to see the hard work, dedication and commitment that goes in to protecting and enhancing the environment in County Durham.
"We are delighted that the work that has gone in to Wharton Park has been recognised not once but three times. We'd like to thank all who helped with the restoration of this important site, in particular the Heritage Lottery Fund and the excellent volunteers who make up the Friends of Wharton Park group."
For a full list of winning entries and to find out more about the awards, go to County Durham Partnership: Environment Awards or search #altogethergreener on Twitter.