Who are the firms vying for the Heart of the Community prize at the North East Business Awards?

Three very different North East companies are vying to be named the best for community involvement at the North East Business Awards.

Newcastle law firm Muckle, Hartlepool shopping centre Middleton Grange and Consett’s Elddis Transport are the three finalists in the Heart of the Community Award, having won heats in Northumberland and Tyneside; Teesside; and Durham, Sunderland and South Tyneside .

The award will go to a company that contributes to the wellbeing of its community and works in partnership with neighbours. Judges are also looking for firms that use their influence to “support suppliers and other partners to adopt best environmental, workplace and community practice”.

The winner of the award will be announced at the regional prize at the grand final of the Business Awards taking place at Hardwick Hall in Sedgefield on April 27.

Muckle LLP

Muckle LLP donates 1% of its annual profits to its charitable fund.

The fund has received over £500,000 from Muckle LLP since its inception in 2002 – with the money used to make grants to local charities with which people in the firm or their families have an interest.

It provides pro bono work, the provision of unpaid legal advice to smaller charities, and in the past 12 months that advice had a notional value of more than £70,000.

Everyone in the firm is entitled to an additional two days paid leave a year to undertake voluntary work, and it has an inspiring careers programme and a green team that ensures the business is run in the most environmentally responsible way.

Middleton Grange Shopping Centre

Heart of the Community Award winner Mark Rycroft centre manager of Middleton Grange Shopping Centre
Heart of the Community Award winner Mark Rycroft centre manager of Middleton Grange Shopping Centre

The Hartlepool centre includes more than 100 retailers and a market hall, and attracts 10million shoppers every year.

Every month, it allows a community group or a charitable organisation to use the centre to raise money and or its profile. It also provides information advice and guidance leaflets and documentation to its own team on health and well-being, and all staff have had training in dementia awareness.

The staff also plants vegetables on the premises which they take home and the centre has supported a large number of local charities, including young cancer sufferer Bradley Lowery, for whom Middleton Grange built and manages the fundraising website and runs the family’s social media accounts.

Mark Rycroft, centre manager at Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, said: “We are amazed and humbled. The whole team has pulled together to put something positive back into the community.”

Elddis Transport (Consett) Limited

Nick Cook of Elddis Transport
Nick Cook of Elddis Transport

Elddis is a Consett-based family-owned business that takes pride in supporting the community.

The road haulage, warehousing and distribution operation which covers all of the UK, looks at every aspect of its business to ensure it is a great corporate citizen.

It provides work placements and career opportunities for school leavers in the region; has won an award for its support for ex-forces personnel and reservists; and gives financial and practical help to schools, clubs, organisations and charities.

Elddis also supports Willow Burn Hospice and since 2007 have raised more than £160,000. The managing director is running 50 half -marathons to raise funds – with a target of notching up £50,000.

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