Thurrock Council's Give a Gift campaign won Best Community and Neighbourhood Initiative at the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) Awards last week, Thursday 12 September.
The council was also a finalist in the Best Efficiency and Transformation Initiative and Best Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship Initiative award categories.
Give a Gift, hosted by the council, is a campaign that collects presents in the run up to Christmas for Thurrock children in need who may not receive a gift on Christmas Day. Last year, presents were donated for more than 2,400 children.
When the Give a Gift unit opens at intu Lakeside, anyone who comes into the shop can pick a star off the Christmas tree, each of which represents a child in need in the borough, and purchase a gift for them. The donation is then returned to the shop, checked by the Give a Gift team, wrapped by council staff volunteers and then passed onto the child's social worker who will hand deliver the present in time for Christmas Day.
Cllr Sue Little, Cabinet member for social care, said: "It's a wonderful achievement that Give a Gift won the Best Community and Neighbourhood Initiative at the APSE Awards last week.
"Last year, this project would not have been possible without the generous donation of a retail unit from intu Lakeside, furnishings from Ikea Lakeside and the logistical support from other local businesses including: Tesco Extra Lakeside, Marks and Spencer Lakeside, Morrisons Grays, McLaren Group and Linton Hording Solutions, to name a few."
"This award is for our community and neighbourhood. Give a Gift relies on local businesses, residents of Thurrock and the general public who take the time to select a star and donate presents, not to mention the time volunteered by a number of officers, to make this project possible. Without their generosity, this campaign would not be possible. My special thanks goes out to you all."
Give a Gift will be returning for its fourth year this year, more information will be announced at the end of October.
You can find a full list of APSE award winners and finalists at APSE: announcing the APSE Service Awards winners 2019.
Pictured below: Thurrock Council's Give a Gift Project Team with the APSE Award host.