Two North East firms confirmed as finalists for prestigious awards programme backed by HRH The Prince of Wales

27 June 2016

Two North East businesses are celebrating today after being named as finalists in the 2016 Responsible Business Awards, run by the charity Business in the Community (BITC), HRH The Prince of Wales’ Responsible Business Network.

North Star Housing Group (NSHG) and Visualsoft, both based in Stockton on Tees, have been recognised as finalists for the Bupa Wellbeing at Work Award. Both companies will attend BITC’s Annual Responsible Business Gala at the O2 in London on 11 July to go head-to-head with each other and two other finalists from across the UK for the chance to be named overall winner.

Both companies’ achievements were recognised at the North East Responsible Business Gala Dinner held last night (23 June) at at the Newcastle Marriott Hotel Gosforth Park, sponsored by Gentoo and Greggs. Over 250 guests were in attendance including Greggs, PD Ports, Sage, Virgin Money, Eversheds, KPMG and Accenture.

Today’s announcement also coincides with the appointment of Heidi Mottram OBE, Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water Group, as The Prince’s Ambassador in the North East. Each year, HRH personally appoints an inspirational business figure in each of the UK’s regions to represent the responsible business movement and lead other businesses in the region to take action to address key issues. Ambassadors are chosen for their personal impact and for demonstrating leadership within their own business.

Heidi has chaired the CBI in the North East for the last three years, before joining the National CBI Board. She was also the Deputy Chair for the North East LEP Economic Review, working alongside Lord Adonis and resulting in the preparation of the Strategic Economic Plan for the region. Heidi’s commitment to supporting the rural economy is evidenced in her work at Kielder, where she chairs the Kielder partnership, creating both jobs and affordable rural housing.

“I am honoured to be appointed as The Prince’s Ambassador in the North East. I passionately believe that business has a critical role in making a lasting, meaningful and positive difference to our communities and the environment. Over the next two years I hope my leadership will support other businesses and partners from across different sectors to come together to tackle some of our most challenging sustainability issues that have a real impact on people’s lives and our future prosperity.

“At Northumbrian Water, we have shown how businesses can work innovatively in partnership to help make sure the places we live and work remain special and thriving environments for generations to come. By pulling together and working creatively, I am confident that we can make a step change in our approach to build resilience and create a more sustainable future for us all.”

The Responsible Business Awards celebrate inspiring examples of businesses that are making a significant difference by taking action to improve their local communities, create more inclusive workplaces and tackle environmental challenges.

The Annual Responsible Business Gala will be hosted by Fujitsu (2015 Responsible Business of the Year). The event will bring together 1,600 business decision makers and community leaders to celebrate the best examples of business addressing global and local challenges. The headline sponsors of the 2016 Responsible Business Awards are Asda, Bupa, Experian, Fujitsu, Hogan Lovells, M&S, Samworth Brothers, Unilever, Unipart Group and UPS.

For more information on the Awards, visit and follow @BITC on Twitter #BITCawards.

For press enquiries please contact / 0117 906 7017.

Business in the Community

Business in the Community is the Prince’s Responsible Business Network. Our members work together to tackle a wide range of issues that are essential to building a fairer society and a more sustainable future.

Responsible business is about how a business makes its money not just how it spends its profit. It is about managing growth responsibly while reducing dependency on natural resources. It is about how the business operates as an employer, supplier and customer and how as a neighbour it helps to create vibrant communities where people can flourish.

We are a business-led, issue focused charity with more than 30 years’ experience of mobilising business. We engage thousands of businesses through our programmes driven by our core membership of over 800 organisations from small enterprises to global corporations.

The Responsible Business Awards

Business in the Community’s Responsible Business Awards brings to life how businesses are creating innovative and sustainable solutions to our most pressing challenges, inspiring thousands of others to make a lasting difference and adding value back to their own business.

Now in its 19th year, the awards, rigorously assessed by independent business peers, are widely acknowledged as one of the most respected endorsements of responsible business in the UK and abroad. Open to companies of any size, sector or scale, a wide range of businesses enter, demonstrating the breadth and depth of responsible business.

Each year, over 250 business peers assess the entries, endorsement planters are used by companies to profile their achievement, and over 4,000 people attend our Responsible Business Galas across the UK, inspiring thousands of people to be a motivated part of the Prince’s Responsible Business Network.

In 2016, Business in the Community received 297 entries for the Responsible Business Awards, shortlisted 103 and re-accredited a further 82 entries for demonstrating continual impact in their responsible business programme. There are 52 finalists.

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