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Employers and individuals have been rewarded for their strong commitment to equality and diversity.

The winners of the 2014 North East Equality Awards were announced at a glittering ceremony at Gosforth Park Marriott Hotel.

The event was a particular success for DB Regio as they took away the Outstanding Practice award for their Eyewish Access campaign, as well as an individual award for one of their employees.

DB Regio scooped the Outstanding Practice Award following the development of an innovative project to provide support to those with visual impairment travelling on the Nexus Metro system. Employees were given the skills to be confident to approach and assist those on the metro with limited or no sight to ensure a safe and comfortable journey.

Individuals were also rewarded for their sterling efforts and former Metro-train driver Alan Hudson earned the “Individuals Who Have Made A Difference” award after a serious accident at work changed his career path. The accident, which resulted in a fatality left Alan shaken and in need of counselling, at which point he decided to work hard to become a counsellor himself, and support others who had experienced similar circumstances. Alan was supported by DB Regio through his qualifications to achieve his new role as counsellor within the company.

Equality North East, the regional organisation for promoting equality, said the high quality of applications submitted for this year’s awards made choosing the winners a difficult process.

Judith Doyle, principal and chief executive at Gateshead College, which sponsored the Outstanding Practice category, said: “We are thrilled to be part of an initiative which rewards those who have made the workplace and the local community a fairer place to be. Congratulations must go to all of the award winners, who have shown that a genuine commitment to equality and diversity can generate tangible benefits for employers and the wider community.”

The Equality Awards have become a significant fixture in the North East business calendar, highlighting and celebrating good equality practice being carried out across the region. This year is the eleventh anniversary of the event, which had its first outing at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland in 2003.

This year the winners were chosen from a wide range of public, private and third sector organisations shortlisted for their efforts in promoting equality and diversity in the workplace.

Andrea Johnson, head of operations at Equality North East, said: “Over the last decade we have been at the forefront of many worthy projects aimed at removing barriers to equality. These awards have helped to improve awareness of equality among companies, organisations, individuals and the communities in which they operate.We have received a record-breaking number of applications of a very high standard. I would like to congratulate the winners and finalists and also thank all of our sponsors without whom this would not be possible.”

Winners:

Organisations With Up To 50 Staff 

  • NECA Training Ltd

Organisations With Over 50 But Less Than 250 Staff

  • Muckle LLP

Colleges & Learning Providers With Over 50 Staff 

  • Thornhill School Business and Enterprise College

Outstanding Contribution By A Larger Organisation

  • Bernicia Group

Individuals Who Have Made A Difference

  • Alan Hudson

Groups That Have Made A Difference

  • County Durham Rocovery Ambassadors

Organisations Supporting Disabled People Into Employment 

  • Evermor Solutions Ltd

TUC – unionlearn Award

  • Susan Austin UNISON

Outstanding Practice

DB Regio TW – Eyewish Access

 

Sponsors included:

  • ConNEcting for change
  • North East Enterprise Trust
  • Newcastle College
  • North East Chamber of Commerce
  • Cestria Community Housing Association
  • Middlesbrough College
  • TUC – unionlearn
  • Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service
  • Gateshead College

For further information, visit www.equality-ne.co.uk.