Greener volunteering category 2015

Each year, the County Durham Volunteering Awards recognise and celebrate the fantastic work done by volunteers across County Durham.

In 2015, over 100 nominations were received across the categories of Children and Young People, Greener, Healthier, Safer, and Wealthier. In addition to the five categories, the awards also celebrated the County Durham Young Volunteer of the Year, and the Group of the Year.

The above photograph shows the winner of this category, Nicola Beldham (left), receiving her award from Lewis Stokes of the Banks Group (pictured centre) during the celebration dinner held at Hardwick Hall, near Sedgefield on 21 October 2015.

Find out more about the winner of this category and the shortlisted nominees below.

Nicola Beldham - winner


Nicola was so concerned about the amount of litter on her local beach at Seaham that she decided to start the Seaham Coastal Clean Up crew.  Armed with experience at a national charity beach clean event, Nicola organised regular litter picks on Seaham Hall and Red Acre beaches. The Durham Heritage Coast Partnership supplied equipment and bags, and supported her with social media campaigns, equipment and publicity.  Plastic bottles, cans, food packaging and debris were destroying habitats, killing wildlife and making the area unattractive. The beach has dramatically improved and volunteers now meet on a regular basis to keep the beaches free from litter and to educate the public not to drop litter.

Ian Dowson

Ian is dedicated to improving Langley Park, having committed a vast amount of his time to rejuvenate and completely overhaul an area of wetlands. This has involved clearing rubbish, overgrown shrubs, bushes, trees, etc.  He has been the driving force transforming an eyesore into a tranquil, pleasant, interesting nature area where people can enjoy the surroundings, or walk through the wetlands listening to the birds singing. Ian also helped to complete the Community Garden project, sourcing and transporting materials, loaning equipment, and giving his time to help with manual work. Ian's dedication and determination is second to none. He volunteers many hours and expects nothing in return.

Nigel Wall


Nigel was concerned about litter on the beach at Crimdon, and worked with Durham Heritage Coast to organise a successful beach clean event.  Since beginning his quest to clean up the beaches at Crimdon, Blackhall and Horden, Nigel has single handedly collected over 1000 bags of rubbish, helping to make a significant difference to the beaches south of Easington. He is a driven and determined individual committed to cleaning up the beaches for the good of the local community and visitors. He voluntarily travels from Crook to Crimdon on a regular basis and often collects 50 bags of litter on his own. He is keen for the Durham coast to be litter free, improving the environment for everyone.