Middlesbrough’s Live Well Centre – which opened less than two years ago – has won a prestigious national award.
It was one of 10 council-run projects nominated in the Public Health Improvements category at the MJ Local Government Achievement Awards, which took place at the famous Hilton Hotel on Park Lane in London.
The Live Well team – who are part of Middlesbrough Council and based in Dundas House – attended the event, which was hosted by Teessider and BBC presenter Steph McGovern.
The judges said The Live Well Centre was “A fantastic example of transforming the way health improvement and wellbeing services are delivered. Judges thought this an innovative use of a local building to catalyse the regeneration of an area, on the community’s terms.”
The centre’s manager Kerry Melling said: “This award is for everybody who has worked so hard to make The Live Well Centre such a success.
“Middlesbrough Council, the Dundas Centre, all the local organisations who provide services at the centre – and above all the people of Middlesbrough – have joined together with just one aim: to improve lives.”
Lisa Jones, the Public Health Business and Programme manager for Middlesbrough Council, said: “This fantastic achievement is a shining example of what can be achieved through strong collaborative working and a shared passion and commitment to make Middlesbrough a healthier and happier town.
“The best thing about receiving this national recognition, is that it’s very much a joint achievement – we could not have done this without all the brilliant organisations working with us, the open-minded and innovative thinking of the Dundas team and landlord, and Middlesbrough Council’s vision and belief in empowering local residents to lead their best life. Well done Middlesbrough, this is just the beginning.”
The centre’s services and facilities are spread across five floors of Dundas House and – in the coming months – it will provide additional services across two more floors with the opening of a meditation suite, social regeneration floor and offices, and a conference suite.
On behalf of the Dundas Centre owner Contract Experts Limited, Richard Wilson – senior associate with chartered surveyors and property consultants Dodds Brown – said: “The Live Well Centre is a major asset for both Dundas and the whole of Middlesbrough.
“It is helping to create a real community of both traders and services for residents.
“We are delighted to be working with centre as it prepares to expand and we are certain this award is just the start of the recognition it rightly deserves.”
The Live Well Centre opened in July 2017 as a one-stop shop supporting all aspects of healthy living: from planning healthy family meals, help to stop smoking and advice on employment, housing and welfare rights.
In its first 12 months it had visits from more than 60,000 residents. It helped increase by 400% the number of people actively trying to quit smoking and its specialist advisers secured £220,000 of outstanding payments for benefit claimants.
The centre has a community gym and fitness studio, a training kitchen, eight clinics, 10 private consultation rooms and a self-contained family unit enabling parents and children to access services together. It also provides an open IT facility, a café area, training and event rooms and hireable office space.
“We are obviously delighted to win the award, but we still have so much to do and so many people in Middlesbrough who we know would benefit from using some of the services we provide. Please pay us a visit,” said manager Kerry Melling.
The MJ Local Government Achievement Awards were launched in 2014 by the MJ magazine, a weekly publication read by senior local authority staff.
The MJ Awards ceremony is described as “one of the major events within the public sector calendar.”
In the Public Health Improvements category, The Live Well Centre was nominated alongside two projects run by Liverpool City Council, Hertfordshire Council, Cornwall Council and five other local authorities.
Award organiser Jo Evans told the Middlesbrough team: “This year we were inundated with nominations so you have done extremely well and should be very proud.”
• Steph McGovern with the Live Well Team, including Lisa Jones (fifth from left), Edward Kunonga, director of South Tees and on his left Kerry Melling.