SME News N East Enterprise Awards 2017

8 SME NEWS / North East Enterprise Awards 2017 , Middlesbrough Environment City (MEC) is an independent charity promoting healthy and sustainable living inMiddlesbrough and the Tees Valley. We profiled the charity to find out what makes it so successful. Best Sustainable Living Promotion Service 2017 MEC’s mission is to create communities that are healthier and more sustainable; better able to contribute to the social, environmental and economic growth of the Tees Valley. The charity works closely with Middlesbrough Council, voluntary sector organisations, businesses and local communities on over 50 projects each year. The organisation uses the One Planet Living approach to sustainable living, including reducing the use of natural resources, promoting healthier lifestyles and greater use of sustainable transport. Through the Affordable Warmth Group, MEC plays a key role in tackling fuel poverty in Middlesbrough, including providing energy efficiency and tariff switching advice and helping householders obtain energy efficiency measures, including new boilers and cavity wall insulation. The organisation also manages the Middlesbrough Food Partnership. This is a group of public, private and voluntary organisations committed to improving access to healthy, affordable and sustainable food, including Middlesbrough Council, Teesside University and Middlesbrough College. Horticulture and healthy cooking programmes provide residents with the skills and equipment to grow their own food and make healthy meals on a budget. The Town Meal, a celebration of local food growing and healthy living, attracts over 5,000 people to Middlesbrough’s Centre Square every year. Working with Middlesbrough Council Public Health, MEC delivers initiatives to reduce Type 2 Diabetes risk amongst BME communities and improve heart health through the “Hearty BEATS” school healthy eating and physical activity programme. Since 2002, MEC has run the Middlesbrough Cycle Centre, a secure town centre cycle park for commuters and shoppers. Last year alone, MEC trained over 800 schoolchildren to ride cycles safely through the Bikeability programme and also provided cycle maintenance courses through the Middlesbrough Bike Academy. The greatest challenge facing the organisation is scaling up project delivery in the face of increasing demand and reducing resources. This is being addressed through increasing the capacity of community organisations to run their own programmes, including training over 100 Community Volunteers through the Big Lottery Fund One Planet Middlesbrough project. Looking forward, MEC is keen to contribute further to the growth of the local area. Last year, a successful bid to the Big Lottery Fund Our Bright Future programme provided five years funding to build the employability of young people through environmental volunteering and apprenticeship opportunities. NEA17003