The Duchess of Northumberland helped to celebrate the very best in community and voluntary environmental work across the county at a special LOVE Northumberland awards event.
Nineteen groups, organisations, schools and individuals were honoured with winner, runner-up or highly commended awards across eight categories.
The award for the Best Children’s Project was won by the Josephine Butler Primary Campus for ‘Let Your Light Shine’ and the Grace Darling Campus won the category for the Best School Recycling Project.
Representatives of all shortlisted entries attended the event at The Alnwick Garden, which was hosted by local historian and TV presenter John Grundy. The annual awards were developed by Northumberland County Council through its LOVE Northumberland campaign, with the aim of promoting the work of the council and its many partner organisations, community groups and volunteers who all help to preserve and enhance the environment in the county.
Councillor Anthony Murray, civic head of Northumberland County Council, welcomed everyone to the awards evening, saying: “All of the shortlisted entries should be very proud of their work and I sincerely hope that they enjoyed this event, in the inspirational setting of The Alnwick Garden.
“The LOVE Northumberland awards are all about celebrating the work that individuals and groups do, largely in a voluntary capacity, to keep their local areas green and clean right across Northumberland day in and day out.”
Each winning entry received a £250 prize, each runner-up £100 and highly commended finalists £50, with the money to go towards their project or other work within the local community.
Best School Recycling Project
Rewarding achievements in school recycling and waste minimisation
Winner: Grace Darling Campus of the Northumberland Church of England Academy
Children from Grace Darling Campus have been very busy working on a range of waste minimisation and recycling initiatives for their entry to the Best Recycling project. Following a whole school assembly delivered by Northumberland County Council and workshops in Y3, the school council met and discussed the range of activities and strategies which could be completed around school.
Each member of the school council then completed waste audits around school identifying the main waste items both inside the school and in the school grounds. Findings from this were then shared with the rest of the school and recommendations to minimise waste were made.
Each class from Nursery – Year 6 then completed activities to raise awareness and share information with others to increase the understanding of the learners.
Here’s a taster of some of the things Grace Darling Campus have done:
- Nursery read the story Big Bear, Little Bear by David Bedford and Jane Chapman and the children made icebergs and bear caves for bears from recycled materials.
- Recycling stations have been created in the classrooms
- Posters were displayed to encourage less food waste in the school canteen area
- Children have learnt about Earth Day and its meaning and completed personal pledges
- A new area called ‘be whatever you want to be’ has been created which is completely made of recycled materials.
- The school now use old and unused exercise books at break times in the yard, allowing children the opportunity to draw and colour and minimising the waste caused by old books.
- Following a clear out of the school archives and loft space, unwanted books and resources were donated to the Sri Lankan schools projects.
- Children have completed litter picks within the school grounds and on the paths which lead into school. Some of the children also assisted in the Great British Spring Clean with St. Bartholomew’s Church.
Best Children’s Project
Winner: Josephine Butler Primary Academy – Let Your Light Shine!
By focussing on the mental and emotional well-being of the children the school have created a number of areas in the school grounds.
The children have built and planted a raised bed in the yard. The bed is planted with herbs and vegetables that parents can help themselves to as they pass. The area also has a lighthouse and deckchair linked to their ethos of ‘Let Your Light Shine’.
This is celebrated further in the Primary Drop off zone; the children and parents have worked together to design and make a giant stone representation of the NCEA emblem. Using local stone and learning new skills the area has been cut, and the stone placed and cemented and the school are planting plants and flowers around it in the Academy colours. They are hoping to enhance it with a daffodil island and a primrose path ready for next Spring.
As a community they have also built a new rabbit hutch and pen using recycled materials donated by local families. This houses two rescue rabbits, Luna and Honeycomb. They are used as “reading rabbits” in school and are petted by the children while reading, to alleviate any stress or anxiety related to reading aloud.
The children have raised money to fund these projects by selling artefacts and plants that they have made using recycled materials. They set up a mini enterprise at The Grainger Market in Newcastle and sold items in the school’s Christmas Fayre and the Easter Fayre.
By looking at ways to enhance the environment and benefit the community the children are truly letting their Lights Shine in an innovative and creative way.
Read more about the awards in The Chronicle