The Best of South Tyneside Awards 2023 celebrated the achievements of South Tyneside businesses, communities and individuals who within their work have made an inspirational difference to our hometown and the community, including all nominees as well as winners.
Hosted by Ray Spencer MBE, the event’s headline sponsors were South Tyneside College and South Shields Marine School, while the official charity sponsor was The Glen Corner Trust.
Here, we take a look at the winners from each of the 12 categories.
1. Business in the Community Award
BlueJay Wellness CIC were the winners of the Business in the Community Award. The business empowers young people to improve their mental and physical wellbeing through the use of fun, interactive workshops based around yoga, mindfulness and science. The business was first established two years ago, and has gone on to reach over 2,000 children. Director, Lisa Cryer, aged 41, said of winning the award: “I’m so proud to live and work here, and have so much to do with the community.” Lisa believes that all children should be educated in how their bodies and minds work, to take control of their wellbeing.
2. Business of the Year Award
HLA Services LTD, who have recently celebrated their 20th birthday were the winners of the Business of the Year Award. The company specialises in turnkey building services, as well as mechanical and electrical services. They are also official sponsors of South Shields Football Club, and pride themselves on providing South Tyneside with long term employment. Directors and shareholders of HLA Services LTD, Neil Henry, aged 52 and Paul Smith aged 49, said of their win: “We are absolutely delighted. Living and working in South Tyneside for the last 20 years, it’s brilliant to get such an amazing award.”
3. Environmental Champion Award
The winner of the Environment Champion Award was the Hebburn Minewater Scheme. Councillor Tracey Dixon accepted the award and said: “We have done an awful lot of work as a council in regard to climate and sustainable energy. This is a fantastic accolade for all the work we are doing.” She also explained the scheme, as she said: “It is with regard to drilling down and pulling out the energy to heat buildings in South Tyneside. Hebburn in particular is going to be gaining from this work we are doing in regard to Hebburn Minewater.”
4. Sportsperson/Team of the Year
The Sportsperson / Team of the Year Award was won by 32-year-old Shajidul Haque, a professional MMA fighter, who also runs ACE MMA martial arts centre on Boldon Lane in South Shields. Shajidul has been victorious as both an athlete and a coach, having an incredibly successful 2022, becoming the first MMA World Champion of Bangladeshi ethnicity - a fantastic achievement for South Tyneside and our Bangladeshi community. Shajidul said of his win: “To win this, it’s huge. I hope this encourages more people to try other sports.” He hopes to continue to inspire young people in the local area to believe in themselves and aim for their dreams.