Local businesses and entrepreneurs were recognised at the recent Best of Darlington awards ceremony at the town’s Dolphin Centre; hosted by Darlington Borough Council and organised by One Darlington. This year saw a record number of nominations (260) received for a range of award categories including business related awards for: Entrepreneurial Spirit, Bringing Success to Darlington, Business Contribution to the Community and Small Business Big Heart.

Sponsored by Darlington Borough Council’s Invest in Darlington, the award for Entrepreneurial Spirit went to Tom Schott and Josh Grant who together have created a spin off business with a turnover of £1million. Tom noticed that his father’s removal business generated a lot of unused boxes. Tom put them on eBay and, with the help of his friend Josh, the business took off and now employs three people. Darren Carr, founder of Saxoul, was a finalist for this category for making a success out of the revival of vinyl and Simeon Hall with Populus Select, a fast growing research and recruitment agency.

Theatre Hullabaloo scooped the award for Bringing Success to Darlington category sponsored by Darlington Building Society. It was also voted Best Family Venue 2019 at the national Fantastic for Families Awards.

Angus Allan, David Wilson and Kat Moore from Clive Owen, were finalists for this category for being named as top financial advisors in the region. Simeon Hall with Populus Select was recognised for their expanding international profile.

Kindness at Christmas was a key reason for coffee specialist Mangobean being awarded the Business Contribution to the Community award sponsored by Mech-Tool Engineering. whilst most people were settling down to a cosy family Christmas dinner, staff at Mangobean served up hot food and drink for homeless people and others who were having a tough time over the festive period.

Falafel Fella, Mouhyedin Al Khali was recognised for cooking up delicious food with a strong community spirit whilst Whitehouse Funeral Service was recognised for their relentless and varied contribution to the community.

Nando’s Darlington scooped the award for Small Company Big Heart category for their contribution to the many projects ran by Darlington Cares. The restaurant has been a member of Darlington Cares for two years and staff have regularly supported events such as the Pick Pie and Pint litter pick where they have collected more than 100 bags of litter and they are supporting the new Homework Club by providing food for the children while they do their homework.

Hole in the Wall were also recognised for their contribution to the Pick Pie and Pint events and for the quality of their pies. The Cornmill Shopping Centre was named as finalists for their support of local voluntary initiatives.

Councillor Alan Marshall, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration said:

“Darlington is home to many successful and enterprising businesses and these awards help to recognise the skills and community spirit we have in the borough. Businesses are about people, and this shines through in the nominations showing how these companies help to give back to the local community.

“Many thanks to the principal sponsors, Teesside University and County Durham Community Foundation and to the category sponsors.”

Organised by One Darlington and supported by local businesses and organisations including Darlington Borough Council, the Best of Darlington aims to identify and celebrate local people and businesses who, together, represent and embody the best of the borough in a range of areas including vocational excellence, performance in sport, public services hero, exceptional volunteer and an all-round “Good Egg”.

More details of the awards, including category winners, are available on the One Darlington website at: www.onedarlington.org.uk