Youth clubs, community centres and sports clubs were commended at the High Sheriff Youth Awards recently, with ten organisations awarded grants totaling £21,500 from the County Durham Community Foundation.

The awards take place every year and give community groups supporting young people a chance to come together and be recognised for their contribution to their local community. Ten groups from County Durham and Stockton-on-Tees and received grants to go towards their continued work fighting poverty and enriching the lives of young people.

The High Sheriff of County Durham for the 2023/2024 year, Anne Elliott said, “I have been overwhelmed and impressed by how much these groups are doing to help our young people, to make sure that they get a good start and, hopefully, feel nurtured, cared for and that somebody is looking out for them.”

The evening, hosted by Peter Barron MBE at Wynyard Hall saw grants from £1,500 up to £4,000 awarded to: 

  • The Corner House @ Newtown, Stockton-on-Tees
  • Approach Too CIC, Ferryhill
  • The Activity Den, Durham
  • Random’s Retreat CIC, Medomsley
  • Teesside Vineyard Church,Stockton-on-Tees
  • The Allotment Project CIC, Waterhouses
  • Durham Association Boys & Girls Club, Durham
  • Dawdon Youth & Community Centre, Seaham
  • Pelton Fell Community Partnership, Pelton Fell
  • Teesdale Operatic Society, Barnard Castle

The Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Sue Snowdon, was also in attendance to present a special award to Mrs Vera ‘Poppy’ Parnaby, who has raised over £1 million for the British Legion’s Poppy Appeal! 

For more than 75 years, Mrs Parnaby has sold poppies every year in memory of her father who she lost as a child when he was killed in action during World War Two.

Her commitment has previously been recognised by Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak with “Points of Light” and “Community Champion” awards. 

The Corner House @ Newtown came away with the highest award of the evening, £4,000 to go towards sustaining their youth club at Arlington Park in Stockton-on-Tees, which offers activities, meals, and a supportive environment for young people to attend for free.

“We are thrilled to be awarded a High Sheriff Award for our services with funding that will allow one of our centre-based youth clubs to continue,” said Debbie Jones, Chief Executive of The Corner House.”

Since 2016, County Durham Community Foundation have awarded £153,500 to youth projects through the High Sheriff Awards, and Chief Executive Michelle Cooper, paid tribute to all those supporting young people in County Durham and the wider North East saying “The commitment of these groups to support young people today, creates better, brighter futures for the adults of tomorrow. We’re very proud to be a small part of the work they do.”

The High Sheriff Youth Awards are organised by County Durham Community Foundation, with support from the Sir James Knott Trust, The Banks Group, Darlington Building Society, UK Steel Enterprise, Durham Constabulary, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, The Ferguson Family and the former Durham Shopping Extravaganza.