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Blackpool Civic Trust Awards for 2012

Held on Thursday 28th February 2013 in the Spanish Hall, Blackpool Winter Gardens.

Spanish Hall, Blackpool Winter Gardens

The event was run by - left to right. Master of Ceremonies; Andy Mitchell of Radio Wave. Award announcement and host; Elaine Smith MBE, Chairman of Blackpool Civic Trust. Award presentation; Jimmy Armfield CBE, Trustee of Blackpool Civic Trust.

Blackpool Civic Trust awards


Blackpool Civic Trust held their annual award ceremony in the Winter Gardens with a dinner.

Present were Mayor and Mayoress of Blackpool, Blackpool's Members of Parliament - Mr Gordon Marsden and Mr Paul Maynard and the Chief Executive of Blackpool Council, Mr Neil Jack.

Also the Trustees of Blackpool Civic Trust, Mr Jimmy Armfield CBE, and Mr David Cam of the Pleasure Beach is representing our other trustee, Mrs Amanda Thompson.

Two trustees of Civic Voice, Mr Paul Clarke, who is also a member of Todmorden Civic Society and Cheltenham Civic Society. Also Mr John Kershaw who is also Chairman of Manchester Civic Society.

Also, Mrs Marion Coupe, Chairman of Lytham St Annes Civic Society. Andy Mitchell of Radio Wave is MC for the evening and Carl Carrington of Blackpool Council created the presentation.


The award categories included design and construction excellence, environmental and community projects. This year they were presented by Jimmy Armfield CBE.

Environmental Shields

The Environmental shields are new this year and were bought to commemorate the Queen's Jubilee in 2012.

Blackpool Civic Trust is a member of BEAT Ltd - the Blackpool Environmental Action Team - so each year these shields are presented to schools who helped or protected the environment.

The Junior Environmental Shield: Boundary Primary School.

Boundary School, Blackpool, environment project

Boundary is a shining of example of how schools can involve whole families in eco projects, and make a difference through fun but practical activities.

The most significant aspect of this work has been the planting of a fruit orchard and the Greenlands vegetable garden, a facility which grows enough fruit and vegetables to sell to parents.

This facility also supplies the Grow It Cook It Eat it programme, which involves children and parents in learning how to plan and cook healthy meals with fresh ingredients - including eggs from the school's hens!

But that's not all. In line with other schools in Blackpool and spearheaded by their Eco Warriors, Boundary have been implementing a range of recycling and energy conservation routines that have significantly reduced the School's carbon footprint.

The School was awarded Green Flag status in July 2012 in recognition of the children's hard work and their own increased understanding of environmental issues. Well done and keep up the good work!

Boundary School prize winners

The Senior School Shield: Blackpool Sixth Form College.

Blackpool Sixth Form College

In the past year students belonging to the Eco Action and Sustainability Groups at the Blackpool Sixth Form College have undertaken a wide range of environmental activities.

Energy efficiency and waste-cutting projects in college, spearheaded by students have cut the college's carbon footprint by 10% per square metre and paper usage has been reduced by 24%.

Promoting and protecting local and international biodiversity has also been a key theme. Students have carried out conservation work on the nearby North Blackpool Pond Trail (one of last years winners) and have campaigned locally to help save precious wildlife around the world. As part of this the group organised and ran a successful 'Go Green Week', featuring its mascot, Mickey the Mountain Gorilla.

In October 2012, Blackpool Sixth became one of only a handful of sixth forms in the country to be awarded the coveted Eco Schools Green Flag award. They say they're looking forward to making 2013 an even greener year for the college and local community.

Students with members of staff Jon McLeod and Louise Logan.

Blackpool Sixth Form College

The BEAT award for 2011 goes to Her Majesty's Prison, Kirkham


BEAT before the project


BEAT after the project

Her Majesty's Prison Kirkham has been involved in a wide number of projects in partnership with Blackpool Council and BEAT limited.

Springing from a long standing relationship with Donna's Dream House, the Partnership with BEAT has seen improvements to parks and public buildings across the borough. One of these projects saw substantial improvements to the Rose Garden at Crossland Road Park, where flowers and bulbs were planted, lawns re-seeded and pathways re-laid.

In another project last year, the Stanley Park Visitor Centre was completely re-decorated in preparation for a year of exhibitions and other activities.

The programme provides offenders with real work experience as a key step in settling back into society and the organisers can be justifiably proud of a developing partnership that's set to offer a mobile workforce to community projects across the Fylde.

A great Partnership, great projects and a positive force in helping the local community and allowing offenders to repay a debt to society.

Governor of Kirkham Prison, Graham Beck receives the award.

Graham Beck, governor of Kirkham Prison


This is the Blackpool Council Conservation Award and is being given to Maysand Ltd.

Cabin Lift, Bispham

This award was conceived as a way to recognise craftsmanship in traditional building skills and the winner this year has been involved in a number of projects across the town over the last three years.

Maysand are a specialist masonry restoration firm dealing with brickwork, architectural terracotta and faience. Their expertise and skills were invaluable in restoring the Grade II beach lift which required a range of skills the Council were struggling to find with other contractors, particularly brick and faience repair.

The difficulties were compounded by high level working in an exposed location on the promenade but the work went without a hitch and now the roof, faience window surrounds and brickwork have all been restored to an exceptionally high standard.

This award is given not only for their work to the Beach Lift at Warbreck, but also for the superb work undertaken in restoring the faience in the Floral Hall at Blackpool Winter Gardens. As we speak they're working on the installation of the new plinths for the Stanley Park Lions.

Bryn Lisle receives the award.

Bryn Lisle, Maysand masonry


The Community Award presented by the Blackpool Civic Trust goes to Homes 4 Us and Aunty Social

Homes 4us

This particular project stood out from other nomoinees not just because it's been so successful, but also because it's provided so much inspiration for children and young people.

With its objective of engaging with vulnerable or hard to reach children and young people, often disengaged from mainstream education or leisure activities, the project has filled a critical need within the community.

The provision of support for families through drop in advice, inter-generational activities and day care has had a positive impact on the children and families concerned and has been particularly successful in helping young people improve interaction with others through working alongside community events and on projects of their own.

The really positive thing about the project is that it's community led, with a range of volunteers aged 17 to 70, it demonstrates a commitment in the local community to helping others in need, a fantastic example of a sustainable social project by community, for community!

Linda Gray and Andrea Clowes collect the Award on behalf of the Homes 4 Us team

Homes 4 us,  Linda Gray, Andea Clowes

We see many community groups in our quest to find the best but rarely do we find one as quirky as Aunty Social. Want a knitted bike?? Fancy a pair of life size crocheted reindeer? Meet Aunty Social

The group was set up two years ago in attempt to bring together like minded individuals to promote community arts and craft activities and as something of a support group for other community organisations. On offer are activities as diverse as group knitting, social media training and pop up cinema, all responding to what the public felt they wanted in their area, but weren't able to access.

At the heart of its mission was the idea that people, sometimes from vulnerable backgrounds, wanted safe, friendly environments where they could meet new friends and have ago at different activities. Many activities are aimed at those who struggle to get out and meet others or who are new to the area. But here's the good bit... there's always tea and cake.

Catherine Mugonyi, Louise Ashcroft, Rob Gomm, Duncan Hodgson, Vicky Ellis.

Aunty Social pick up their award

This year the Open Spaces award goes to St Stephen on the Cliffs

mosaic at St Stephens

In 2009 United Utilities began a flood relief project in North Shore. During the work, which lasted almost 2 years, the gardens at St Stephen's Church were turned into a giant excavation. Up to that point the grounds were in a pretty poor state anyway but when they'd finished, United Utilities left the grounds as a 'blank canvas.'

The Church community were determined to make a fresh start on the grounds, and equally determined to involve the whole community. New grass was laid, borders, spring bulbs and flower beds planted by young and old alike.

By way of compensation for the disruption to the church, United Utilities gave some money for an artwork project for the grounds. The Church commissioned Manchester Artist Bernadette Hughes to create a new mosaic to be made with the theme 'St Stephen' at its heart.

A small group visited local schools and community organisations over a 12 month period working on the theme and out of this came a beautiful new mosaic design. Over 200 local people were involved in making this happen and now the grounds have been transformed from an ugly wilderness to an attractive open space.

Carol Vance who now maintains the area receives the award.

Carol Vance

Special Award

Tonight we are doing something we have never done before.We are giving an extra special award to two of our members who went that extra mile to organise this event and make it such a success - Betty & Danny Bradford.

Betty and Danny Bradford

As you can see this is a total shock to Betty & Danny. Their home last year was taken over completely by the scarecrows - a bit like something from Dr Who! Betty organised a weekly meeting of members who have worked unceasingly to make last year into such a huge success.
We are delighted that the Council was pleased with the Scarecrow Festival and asked us to hold it again in 2013.
They also kindly came to our aid and found storage for the scarecrows as each new one is made but this still hasn't stopped Betty & Danny's home becoming a work shop!
This year's Festival will again be in the Salisbury Woodland from Friday 14th June to Sunday 16thand if any of you here would like to be part of this by providing a scarecrow just have a word with either Betty or Danny afterwards.


We have a new sponsor this year - Eric Wright Group Ltd.

We have Cassidy & Ashton architects of Preston and Chester who joined our sponsors last year.

Then we the Number One Hotels in 2007 for a massive refurbishment.

Next we have Eclipse Developments UK Ltd, building contractors who are also previous award winners.

Lastly, but by no means least, F. Parkinson Builders Ltd.They have been associated with our awards ceremonies since the beginning. They have mainly been here as winners but like Eclipse & Number One Hotels they have sponsored us for the past four years.

It is the generosity of these five firms that has helped us so much this evening and we are very, very grateful to them all - particularly in this present economic climate.

Best Building Awards

The judges.

This year we had a judge from the Fylde Planning Office, Diane Kirkpatrick, who kindly stepped in at the last minute when one of our usual judges was ill.

Pippa Greenway is from Blackpool Council Planning Office.
We are 'critical friends' of the council with the accent mainly on the 'friends' (although we do have a few 'blips') and we try very hard to work together as Pippa (and all Council staff who help and support us) have kindly proved. As well as being non-sectarian we are also non-political and they will tell you we will fall out with any of them - no matter which party - if we don't think they are doing their best for our fantastic town!

Because the buildings of today are the future heritage for our children and grandchildren we always have a junior judge on our panel and this year George Brandon, who is currently studying at the Blackpool Sixth Form College, has performed the honour for us.Unfortunately George couldn't be with us this evening.

We did have someone from our own committee, Bob Taziker, the Blackpool Civic Trust Planning officer on the panel of judges. I must re-iterate that like the rest of them Bob had no knowledge of the names of the builders, architects, etc. as they were just judging the buildings on their own merit.

And lastly we have Alistair Baines from Cassidy & Ashton Architects of Preston & Chester. Alistair has in the past won awards from us so he finds it interesting to see it from the other side.

We thank all these people for giving up their time.

It would take too long to show all the excellent nominees so we will only be showing winners in the categories.

Best Shop Front - This goes to Abingdon Street Market

Abingdon Street Market

Proper markets are at the heart of any community both as a source of fresh food and just about anything else.

Blackpool's Abingdon Street Market is no different on that score, but where else will you find a market that incorporates parts of a cobble built Victorian police station? The Market began its life as a development of shops and offices built onto the front of Blackpool's first police station in the 1890's but in the early 1930's the buildings behind the main block were partly demolished to build the market hall.

The owners, Town Centre Securities, had been gradually dealing with major issues like the repair of the superb Belfast Truss Roof to the Market Hall but were struggling to justify the investment to non essential areas like the main entrances until Blackpool Council encouraged them to seek a Townscape Heritage Initiative grant.

The frontage has now been restored pretty much to what it would have looked like in the 1890's and in the process of restoring the main entrance arch; the old stone Police Station sign was uncovered. This development is an excellent example of sensitive streetscape restoration and how it can bring new life to a building. The quality of the work is exceptional and the market tenants are delighted with their new shop window.

David Donkin from Town Centre Securities PLC owner of the Market, Rob Knighton of Eclipse Development UK Ltd and Carl Carringtonfrom Blackpool Council.

Town Centre Securities, Eclipse Development, Blackpool Council

Best Night Time Economy is the Viva Cabaret Bar

Viva Entertainment

Blackpool is well known for its vibrant live music and entertainment scene, and here to thrill locals and visitors alike is a brand new, glittering addition to the promenade.

Viva Blackpool is the latest in a series of quality live entertainment venues in the town and it's set to give the others a serious run for their money.

What struck the judges most about the venue though was the amount of work that had been done by the VIVA team themselves. To keep costs to a minimum, the former bingo venue was refurbished entirely by the staff and their friends, an incredible achievement and one of which they should all be justly proud.

This award recognises not only the addition of another quality entertainment venue to the town's night-time economy, but also the vision and dedication of Leye D Johns, Martin Heywood and the team in making it all happen. Viva, Viva Blackpool!

Managing Director Martin Heywood & Leye D Johns receive the award

Viva Entertainment

Next we have the Award for the Best Building Refurbishment. This goes to the the old Bispham Library now known as the Langdale Centre

Langdale Centre, Bispham Library

The Old Bispham Library is local landmark within its community and when the PCT decided to pull out of the building there were many who were concerned for its future. In a brilliant exercise in the re-use of a historic building, the old library was transformed by Blackpool Council into a sensory activity space for adults with severe learning difficulties.

With a dark room boasting state of the art interactive projections and a wide range of activity and educational spaces, the building has been a boost to the provision of social care for adults with special educational needs.

Alongside the contemporary extension to the rear of the building - clad in iridescent green steel, the original historic features on the outside have been restored and retained, including the entrance lamps and the distinctive roofline and copper lantern.

The conversion has been so successful because the new work has been blended with old so well; the scale and colouring of the new section complementing the quirky Art Deco of the old.

Carl Baker on behalf of Blackpool Council with Richard Turpin from the Eric Wright Group and Alistair Baines from Cassidy & Ashton Architects.Blackpool Council, Eric Wright Group, Casidy and Ashton Architects


The New Build Award goes to The Oracle

The Oracle

Have you ever wondered what the big, bright orange building next door to Palatine Sports College was?

Well it's a brilliant new facility for young people, which was designed in consultation with young people, to make sure that their views were included right from the very start. Keeping true to that principle, it's been named 'The Oracle', following a competition where youngsters aged 11 to 24 were asked to give their ideas for what the building should be called.

With recreational space, employment and skills development opportunities and a wide range of activities including those with an Arts & Music focus, the building has filled a gap in provision for young peoples activities in the town.

The design is bold, contemporary and feels very Blackpool, with a range of bright interior spaces and some fantastic artwork. But most of all it demonstrates that community led design can be hugely successful, particularly when in involves the people who will use the building!

Architect Matt Hill,Guy Parker & Darren Lee from Conlon Construction Ltd and Cllr Chris Maughan representing Blackpool CouncilConlon Construction, Blackpool Council

Once again the winner of this next Award has been selected by the Blackpool Civic Trust Executive Committee.

This evening has shown just how much Blackpool is being transformed. This next project has been one of the most important developments for the resort in recent years and one that's been an instant hit with everyone.

The Transforming Blackpool Award goes to Blackpool Football Club Hotel

Blackpool Football Club Hotel

Hotels are important in Blackpool and quality hotels even more so. In looking at providing a hotel on the Bloomfield Road site, the owners of Blackpool Football Club could have chosen something more basic along the budget line, but instead they bit the bullet and created something quirky, very Blackpool and pretty stylish too

The most unusual feature of the hotel is that that half of the rooms actually overlook the pitch unfortunately, you can't watch the match from your bed - FA rules forbid it - but it provides a pretty spectacular backdrop, football fan or not.

This aside, the quality of design in the rooms and public spaces have set the hotel apart from the competition. Add to this the excellent restaurant facilities at Rowley's and above all the superb service and you've got a winning combination.From the Blackpool FC football memorabilia on the walls, to the comfortable bar and reception, the welcome is very much a Blackpool one!

Sam Oyston the General Manager of the hotel and his PA Lesley Winterbottom collect the award.Blackpool Football Club Hotel

Each year we look for something outstanding and special to reward but this year we didn't have to look far. 2012 was very special year as it was the 100th Anniversary of the Blackpool Illuminations so the Blackpool Civic Trust Special Achievement Award for 2012 goes to the Illuminations Dept.

Blackpool Council Illuminations Department receive the Special Award for 2012

Blackpool Illuminations

2012 saw the centenary of the Greatest Light Show on Earth; a seaside fairyland of scenic designs and illuminated wonders known nationally as Blackpool Illuminations, but to us locals as 'the lights'.

The first decorative lights went in as part of the decorative scheme celebrating the visit of Princess Louise in 1912 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today the lights comprise more than four hundred thousand lamps of various types, more than seventy miles of cable stretched over five and a half miles of seafront and specially commissioned features including the worlds largest mirror ball. Random beauty, excess bling its what Blackpool's all about.

This award recognises the Illuminations department and everything they've achieved in the run up to the Centenary Year. Their hard work, dedication and determination to deliver a successful centenary show paid off and last year we saw a host of new tableaux and features including the full lighting of Blackpool tower - legs and all!

Richard Ryan and his team & Cllr Graham Cain the Portfolio Holder for Tourism & Culture

Blackpool Illuminations Department


Photographs of the event

The Spanish Hall and guests

Spanish Hall, Blackpool Winter Gardens

Andy Mitchell, Elaine Smith and Jimmy Armfield

Andy Mitchell, Elaine Smith and Jimmy Armfield

Photographs of the event by Peter Owen, Creative Photography, Warton.

Photos of previous events.

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