There are so many amazing community groups, businesses and schools making a positive impact upon Manchester, that we were gobsmacked to be shortlisted for the Neighbourhood Improvement Project Award!
Lo and behold, three of us found ourselves at a glitzy ceremony at the AJ Bell Stadium, home of Sale Sharks and Salford Red Devils. There was a palpable buzz of excitement in the air as we calmed our nerves with a drink, and took our seats in the beautifully decorated suite. Thankfully, the ceremony was quickly underway, hosted by M.E.N’s Managing Editor, and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Manchester, Eamonn O’Neal (the marvellous Marje was all aflutter!), with multiple innovative and inspiring organisations to celebrate, and distract us from our nerves.
Our category was straight after the delicious dinner and a chat with tablemates, Vickers Energy Group (one of whom is a lifelong Stretfordian!), so, just time after pud to reapply the lippy – just in case.
I’d sussed out the competition beforehand, and despite hoping they’d be a bit rubbish, both Status 4 All and Friends of Nutsford Vale are superb projects, who in the years they’ve been going have achieved incredible things – far, far more than little, old GGH in our 18 months!
I was genuinely certain us new-kids-on-the-block wouldn’t win, so settled back to tweet the results. The description of the winning group sounded way beyond what we’ve achieved – winning the hearts and minds of a community, working with major organisations and individuals, injecting pride and spirit into their area with art and planting… hang on…
“The Neighbourhood Improvement Project Award goes to Gorgeous Gorse Hill!” Er, that’s us! Oh my goodness! We’ve won! I thought my cheeks would split with grinning! Marje did a brilliant air punching winners dance, which raised a good few laughs – and LOADS of people were cheering! Quick pics on the stage with Eamonn and the winner’s plaque, then we were hustled off for more photos.
The rest of the evening vanished in a blur of smiles, congratulations and pinching ourselves! My hands shook so hard I could barely hold the phone to let everybody know!
Waiting for a cab, we got chatting to one of the judges, who gushed about how much they’d loved Gorgeous Gorse Hill! It really hadn’t struck me before just how big and how innovative and how inspiring we are being. This award is a fantastic opportunity to shout from the rooftops about what Gorgeous Gorse Hill is doing, and it is truly humbling to be recognised and appreciated as the winner of the Manchester Evening News’ Neighbourhood Improvement Project Award. Today Stretford, tomorrow the world!
Thank you MEN and United Utilities’ judges for your in faith us. And thank you Gorse Hill, for you unwavering support.
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