The Parkway Shopping centre is celebrating receiving Highly Commended Certificates for not one, but two Middlesbrough Civic Awards!
The Middlesbrough Civic Community Awards recognises both individuals and business who have made a positive contribution to their community. The awards cover six categories, with the Parkway shortlisted for Improving the Health & Wellbeing of Residents, with their befriending service working with Age UK Teesside, launched in October 2019.
The popular shopping destination decided to not just promote the befriending service on behalf of Age UK Teesside, but to actively reach out to its 90,000 a week shoppers. The centre hosted an open event and trained their own staff to promote, identify and signpost shoppers to access help for those feeling lonely or isolated.
A volunteering programme was set up to sign-up people wishing to help, along with the centre creating its own befriending café, run fortnightly within the Bentleys café located already in the shopping mall. The centre regularly invites agencies such as Staying Put Middlesbrough, who can give people support to stay safe and feel included and valued in their community.
Anne Sykes Age UK Teesside Chief Executive says: “‘We are so proud of the innovative partnership with the Parkway Shopping Centre, it has allowed us to engage with a lot more lonely older people across Middlesbrough, as well as contributing to the reduction of GP visits and hospital admissions due to the effects of being isolated. Zoe and her team have been tremendous, I can’t thank them enough!”’
The second award the centre is shortlisted for is, Making People Happier Award for their community bus initiative, which has run for the last three years.
The bus provides essential transportation, twice a week from surrounding villages to the centre, which is subsidised by the Parkway and free of charge for shoppers. It offers an essential service giving some people the only chance to get out to shop and socialise, after many of the routes were removed due to funding. Over the years the community bus users have come together and forged friendships, with people looking out for each other and arranging their own social events and becoming a micro community in itself.
Zoe France, Centre Manager explains: “This is the second year we have been shortlisted for the awards, although we’ve never been in the running for two, so it’s doubly exciting! Last year we received a highly commended for our community litter pick. It’s lovely for our team and volunteers to receive the recognition for all the hard work that goes on by bringing community projects to life.”
Zoe continues: “As a shopping centre we are embedded in the fabric of our community and it is really important to understand people’s needs and make a difference no matter how big or small.Its lovely to be shortlisted for the work we do but regardless of accolades, we are committed to supporting our community both now and in the future.” The winners were decided by senior Middlesbrough councillors and officers along with representatives from the Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency and the award sponsor. Although unfortunately the centre were not winners this year, they were delighted to be nominated amongst such fantastic members and businesses within the community.