A WOMAN has paid tribute to a centre she says saved her life.
Julie Catterall had to give up her teaching job and was left almost housebound after an accident, which meant she needed a back operation.
The 58-year-old is still recovering but has found a new lease of life as a trainer and mentor at Healthworks in Easington Colliery.
She has now been named as its Volunteer of the Year at its third annual Healthworks Recognition Awards, one of 14 titles to be presented at a celebration to be held at its Social Welfare Centre.
Julie, who lives in Easington Village, said: “It was overwhelming to win, it was fantastic.
“Healthworks has been a life-saver for me.
“I’ve been involved in all sorts of things and it’s got me out of the house, I’ve made new friends.
“I’ve got a lot of health problems, but I get out when I can.
“Sometimes I can’t leave the house, but it gives me something to do and when I get there, there are smiles, everybody you see is lovely and I look forward to going in.
“Especially if I feel I can’t get out of bed, I get there and it’s nice to get a hug, and it’s the people I adore.”
Julie’s award praised her outstanding contribution to the Paradise Lane centre, which was launched in 2007 in a disused pump- house and runs courses, a gym, juice cafe and other healthy activities to improve the wellbeing and job prospects of East Durham.
Councillor David Boyes, who is on the steering group of the complex and the chairman of the welfare centre, said: “I think Healthworks is a fantastic asset and it is brilliant to see the welfare hall and Healthworks come together in tandem.”
Lee Mack, associate director of health and wellbeing for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the centre with the backing of Durham County Council and Northumbrian Water, added: “More than 60 individuals and groups have been nominated for an award.
“Each one represents a powerful story, people who have come together and made an amazing contribution, benefiting themselves, their families and their community.”
Alistair Baker, public relations and media manager for Northumbrian Water, said: “When Healthworks first opened in 2007, Northumbrian Water was incredibly proud to be one of the partners alongside the NHS, Durham County Council and other agencies that helped develop the centre from an idea to a reality.
“Now, nine years on, Healthworks still never ceases to amaze.
“It is improving health, wellbeing and quality of life for the local community and this is only possible because of the hard work and commitment of the Healthworks staff, volunteers and partners.”
The awards, backed by the Echo, were sponsored by a host of businesses, with Durham Voices of Recovery choir entertaining the guests in the run up to the presentations.
Leigh Ann Ramsey, health improvement specialist at Healthworks, added: “The awards ceremony recognises and celebrates the achievements of the service users of Healthworks.
“The evening was an emotional evening showcasing individuals who have made considerable life changes through services and support offered at Heathworks.
“I was very proud of all those nominated and it was a privilege to celebrate their outstanding achievements.”
The winners in full:
Yearn to Learn – winner Neil Nimmo, runners up Anthony Marine, Maureen Harper and Amber Stafford.
Year to Earn – winner Laurence Davey, runners up Christine Valks and Steven Miller
Physical Activity Most Committed – winner Raymond Tague, highly commended Easington Hares Running Club, runners up Lisa Simms and Exercise After Stroke
Active Champion – winner Peter Hamill, runners up Andrew McVitie and Deirdre Robinson
Digital Champion – winner JPEG Works, runners up Paidisetty Ramarao and Stephanie Sailsbury
Most Creative Member – Val Walton, highly commended Ian Corbett, runners up Kate Zaborniak, Jayne Dixon-Clarke, Suzanne Silver, Ann Hayes, Myra Robertson and George Dalton
Good Nutrition Award – Gloria Jean Milburn, runners up Albert Conray and Jane Cummins.
Fit kid of the Year – joint winners Kyle Evans and Rebecca Sneath
Fit Family of the Year – winner Rosemary Equi and granddaughter Ellen Wilkins, runners up Lisa, Amber and Luke Ellison, Nigel, Kirsty and Angelika Norris
Age UK Volunteer – Derick Addleton, runners up Joan Duckworth and David Dudley
Top Quitter for giving up smoking – Jenny and Terry Johnson, runners up Linda Townley and Simon Whitlock
Community Champion – joint winners Elaine Grundy and Suzanne Silver, runners up Laura Jane Hesslewood, Mick Killeen and Joyce Lovack
Volunteer Progress Award – winner Stephanie Salisbury, runners up Laurence Davey and Steven Miller
Volunteer of the Year Award – winner Julie Catterall, highly commended Mick Killeen, runners up Stephanie Salisbury, Alyson Johnston, Michael McNamee, Helen Singleton, Elaine Grundy, Suzanne Silver, Neil Nimmo, Myra Robertson and Evelyn Herbert.