Council awards top employees

COUNCIL staff who have gone the extra mile in providing first-class services to the people of the Banbridge District or have done an outstanding job in supporting their colleagues behind the scenes were recognised recently with a GEM (Going the Extra Mile) Award.

First introduced in December, the GEM Awards aim to recognise all of the good work that goes on and to say thank you to council staff who demonstrate their commitment to delivering excellent services to both citizens and colleagues by going above and beyond what is expected.

Speaking about the GEM Awards, Council Chairman Councillor Jim McElroy said, “Banbridge District Council is a high performing organisation with a good reputation for delivering high quality and value for money services that meet people’s needs. We’ve amassed many prestigious awards and accolades and achieved many successes down the years – all of which can be credited to our hard-working and dedicated employees.

“It’s only right that we hold our own awards in order to recognise the individuals and teams who have made a positive contribution to our organisation’s performance. Congratulations to all those who were nominated in each category and in particular the winners. We really appreciate the effort they go to in order to do a good job. Keep it up!”

Councillor McElroy joined the Chief Executive and other senior management on the judging panel to choose a winning individual or team in each of the three categories of Frontline Frontrunner, Citizens’ Champion and Colleagues’ Champion.

Community Safety Wardens Helen Coop, Simon Kearney and John Macauley won the Frontline Frontrunner Award for making Banbridge a safer district. Thanks to their assistance and early intervention, many young and vulnerable people have been rescued from dangerous situations and many public disturbances have been prevented.

The wardens are very deserving of their award because of the very nature of the difficult work they do, patrolling streets, parks and housing estates in all weather conditions. When working late into the night in Banbridge on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, they have to deal with all types of difficult situations and are often physically threatened and verbally abused while doing their job. All in all, their enthusiasm never wavers in doing a sterling job to protect the public, reduce the level of anti-social behaviour and deter crime.

Awarded in memory of Councillor Wilfred McFadden, the Citizens’ Champion Award was won by the cemeteries team consisting of Cemetery Officer Roy Martin and Cemetery Maintenance Operative Niall Fiddes and Cemetery Assistant Officer Martin McCready. This hardworking trio merit recognition for showing sensitivity and providing a personal touch when dealing with bereaved families, ensuring that their loved one’s burial is as respectful and dignified as possible. They make sure that the cemeteries in Banbridge and Dromore are maintained in perfect condition out of respect for those who are laid to rest there and their families. While carrying out their duties, they have shown great compassion when coming into contact with family members of the deceased, offering words of comfort and space to grieve.

Building Tradesperson Jim Brown and Corporate Marketing Officer Sharon Harrison were each recognised individually in the hotly contested category of Colleagues’ Champion. The judging panel could not choose an outright winner, and opted instead to recognise both individuals.

Jim was recognised for completing all jobs to a very high standard and being extremely helpful, reliable and efficient at all times. He is never short on suggestions for improving the way in which a job should be done.

Likewise, Sharon was recognised for providing a helpful, professional and responsive service as well as demonstrating excellent customer service to her colleagues within the organisation. Her creativity and attention to detail know no bounds when producing marketing materials and promoting the work of all Council departments and services. All nominees received a certificate and the winners were each presented with a crystal trophy.