Building bridges

Creating a safer and better community to live in, Bernadette McDonald was a worthy winner of the Safer Community gong.

The 35-year-old, from Berwick, and 10 members started Prior Park Residents’ Association in 2009 to help people in the community build bridges with other communities, reviving their spirit and having fun along the way.

Pride of Northumberland awards night at Linden Hall, Morpeth-Safer Community award.'REF 1209137811

Pride of Northumberland awards night at Linden Hall, Morpeth-Safer Community award.'REF 1209137811

Bernadette and her team do fantastic work organising events such as disadvantaged families’ days out, lunches for the elderly, history trips and Hallowe’en and Christmas parties.

They also provided the 700-home estate with a fantastic Queen’s Jubilee celebration.

In 2011, they decided to introduce a children’s residents’ association and, after six months’ planning, the Prior Wallax 4214 Crew was born which is run by children with their own chairman, vice-chairman and secretary. It has 35 members aged four to 14.

Both groups continue to go from strength to strength.

Bernadette said: “I’m very proud to win this award. It is our third Pride of Northumberland Award and it shows how all the hard work we do in the community has paid off.

“I am very proud to be a part of Prior Park Residents’ Association.”

The association also plans to apply for charitable status in the near future.

Others shortlisted were Eva Nelson, of Newsham, and New Delaval Youth Forum, who has helped to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the area; Bad Apples North East, from Ashington, which has helped to motivate young people to get involved with projects and events to better themselves and others, and Adeline Keogh, 25, from Blyth, who has been an asset to the Buffalo Community Centre in the Croft ward of Blyth by supporting local ethnic minority groups.