Hartlepool shopping centre ‘overjoyed’ after receiving award from town’s mayor
Hartlepool’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre is “overjoyed” after receiving an award from the town’s ceremonial mayor for its efforts during the pandemic.
The shopping centre is among organisations and people in the town being recognised with a special certificate from Councillor Brenda Loynes for making a difference during the pandemic.
It is part of the so-called Covid- 19 Award Scheme, which recognises individuals and organisations “that have made a significant difference to the lives of the people of Hartlepool during the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Shopping centre manager Mark Rycraft said: “We were overjoyed to receive it because it was a welcome recognition for the hard work and effort that we’ve put into the systems and procedures in the centre to help people feel safe at the centre while shopping throughout the pandemic.
"It’s not just about what we’re doing at the centre, it’s about how we’re helping other people, like the local authority and retailers as well.”
It follows a year of pandemic restrictions which saw “non-essential” retailers stop trading for months at a time.
Such stores in Hartlepool welcomed customers back for the first time this year on April 12, with Middleton Grange enjoying one of its most successful Sundays in the last three years on April 18.
Mr Rycraft has described receiving the award at the end of March as a “surprise” and said he returned to his office after a long period of working from home to find a letter and a certificate waiting for him at his desk.
He continued: "It won’t change what we do but it has crystalised all the work that we have done.
"To be recognised in such a lovely way by the Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool, I think that’s just a wonderful thing to have done, very thoughtful.
"We’ve got 40 members of staff working in the centre. Some have been on furlough and some haven’t, they’ve been working throughout the whole period.
"I shared this award with them and it’s nice for them to see that their hard work is rewarded as well.”
Recently the shopping centre was praised after members of staff assisted a toddler who briefly stopped breathing.