South Tyneside Council has been shortlisted for a Co-operative of the Year Award - a prestigious accolade that honours co-ops across the UK for their commitment to their communities and to the co-op principles.
Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said, "We're so excited to be one of just six co-op councils shortlisted for the Co-operative Council of the Year Award. The winners will be decided by a public vote so we're asking all those who play a part in South Tyneside life to cast a vote for us."
Councillor Malcolm added: "Research shows South Tyneside Council is the third hardest hit by central government cuts and we have 54 per cent less government grant to spend on supporting our residents. As a result, we have had to consider new ways of working to be able to continue to provide the services we know our residents value. Our communities have really stepped up and this Award recognises their contribution.
"This collaborative approach is already paying dividends. While many areas have had to close libraries and community centres, in South Tyneside these prized community assets have been retained by working in partnership with local people. All branch libraries are now under the management of community groups or charities and a similar process is now underway with community associations.
"A new campaign - #LoveSouthTyneside - seeks to build on the strong community spirit in the Borough by highlighting civic pride, raising awareness of volunteering opportunities and community events and promoting the Borough as a great place to live, invest and bring up families. This, in turn, will further strengthen local resilience and cohesion.
"If our way of working in South Tyneside, including our incredible volunteering and third sector community, has inspired you, impressed you, helped you or made a positive difference in any way we'd love it if you could vote for us."
The winners will be presented with their awards on 21 June at a dinner held at Co‑op Congress in Manchester.
The Co-operative of the Year Awards 2019 are organised by Co-operatives UK - the network for Britain's thousands of co-operative businesses - with the Co-op Council award sponsored by CCIN (The Co-operative Councils' Innovation Network).
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK said, "Judges were particularly impressed with the diversity of entries for the awards and the shortlisted co-ops all have very inspiring stories to share. We wish them the very best of luck in the public vote."
This year, to celebrate 150 years since the first Co-operative Congress in 1869, there are also awards to honour individuals who have contributed to shaping the co-operative movement.
To vote for South Tyneside Council, visit https://www.uk.coop/VoteNow
Voting closes at 23:59 on 13 June.