A brush with the past has helped to launch the call for entries for the 2016 LOVE Northumberland awards.
The site of a historic lead smelting mill in deepest rural Northumberland was the venue for the launch by BBC Look North’s Carol Malia
Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project won best coast or countryside project in last year’s LOVE Northumberland awards – which highlighted the tasteful conservation of the stunning brick gothic style arches on the site which was a smelting mill from the 17th until the early 19th centuries.
LOVE Northumberland awards mark a range of projects and initiatives which improve local areas or neighbourhoods for the benefit of members of the local community, and entries are now being accepted for 2016.
The Smelters and Carriers Project has centred on the conservation of two striking 18th Century stone and brick gothic-style arches which sit alongside a bridleway in a wooded valley five miles south of Hexham.
Grade II listed, they are the last visible remains of one of the earliest lead smelting mills in the region, dating back to the 1660’s.
Ian Forbes, chair of the project steering group said: “We’re so pleased that the LOVE Northumberland campaign has chosen Dukesfield as the venue to launch this year’s awards.
“The steering group was absolutely delighted to win the coast or countryside category last year – giving further endorsement for the group’s hard work in sharing the story of the site. I urge groups like ourselves to make an application, so that their work can be recognised in this way.”
Carol Malia said: “This project was a very worthy winner of its award last year. It stood out for the excellent collaboration between the two parish councils and the Friends of the North Pennines to protect the site, and also the fact that so many people have enthusiastically undertaken such a wide range of activities linked to the project.
Successful conservation work means the arches at Dukesfield are now secure, and the clearance of scrubby spruce trees has helped improve the biodiversity of the site.
On-site interpretation means current and future generations can appreciate them and better understand their pivotal role in the North East’s lead industry, especially when accompanied by the variety of walks and cycle leaflets which encourage residents and visitors to explore the beautiful surrounding area.
Cllr Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services at Northumberland County Council said: “The LOVE Northumberland awards celebrate the work of the schools, community groups and individual volunteers whose endeavours preserve and enhance the environment of our great county.
“We want to encourage people to get involved and make a difference in their area, and to celebrate all the fantastic voluntary effort that goes on up and down Northumberland each year, which supports the council’s aims to keep Northumberland clean and green.
“I would encourage anyone with an environmental story to tell to get in touch and make an application for an award.”
Entries are invited for the categories of best children’s project; best young people’s project; best urban project; best coast or countryside project; best new project; and an award for an outstanding individual.
Main sponsor of the awards is the Banks Group, and development relations coordinator Jeannie Kielty also attended the launch at Dukesfield. She said: “The Banks Group has a strong commitment to working with local communities across Northumberland. We see the LOVE Northumberland awards as a fantastic way of celebrating the efforts of residents of all ages as they express their passion for their local areas.”
“I am really looking forward to seeing all the projects, groups and individuals that come forward this year to tell us about the work they do.”
The closing date for entries for the 2015 LOVE Northumberland awards is Wednesday 25th May 2016.
Winners will be presented by Her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland at an event at The Alnwick Garden on Monday 20th June, which will be hosted by Carol Malia.
If you want to enter, or know someone who should, go to www.northumberland.gov.uk/love to find out more and download an application form. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone for an entry form or to find out more on 01670 622992.