THE fantastic people who make Middlesbrough such a great place to live and work will be celebrated with a new monthly award.
Launched by elected Mayor Andy Preston, the Boro Hero Awards are recognition of those who go the extra mile, and make a real difference to the lives of those around them.
Tireless community activist Bini Araia is Andy's pick for the inaugural award, with nominations for future awards to be invited from local people.
Andy said: "Middlesbrough has many amazing people who make a real difference, for their communities and for the whole town - but not all of them get the credit they deserve.
"This first Boro Hero Award is highly deserved recognition of Bini Araia's passionate and kind-hearted commitment to improving Middlesbrough, and helping those in need.
"His work covers an amazing range, from running a martial arts projects that supports the integration of refugee children, a community allotment in Albert Park and organising litter picks, to professional and charitable work that includes helping new arrivals find their feet, learn English and make a positive contribution.
"He's even played a role through his charity work in partnership with the University Hospital of North Tees to run a programme supporting 36 refugee doctors and other health professionals, with three already having secured full-time roles in the NHS."
Bini said: "The work I do is my way of saying thank you to the country at large, and the community of Middlesbrough in particular for allowing people like me to re-start our lives.
"I'm a real believer that people have a lot of potential, and if we are able to give them a helping hand they can flourish, and make their own worthwhile contribution.
"Middlesbrough sometimes gets a bad press, but I want people from outside to see it as the fantastic place it is.
"This award is truly humbling, but really it's recognition of a collective effort on the part of hundreds, if not thousands of people."
Presenting Bini with the inaugural Boro Hero Award, Mayor Preston added: "Bini's a fantastic example of giving something back, and he's a worthy winner of this first award.
"Middlesbrough welcomed him when he was fleeing persecution, and he has devoted his life to repaying the favour.
"He's done so much to promote cross-cultural understanding and community harmony, and that's worth its weight in gold."
Following the first award, it will be down to local people to nominate those they want to recognise.
The Mayor will pick each month's Boro Hero from the list of nominations, with the winners also invited to attend the prestigious Civic Community Awards in April 2020 where an overall Boro Hero of the Year will be announced.
- To nominate your Boro Hero, visit
Nomination forms will also be available at Community Hubs.
For more information, email
A POP Up Pride event will take place alongside this weekend's Orange Pip Market - and the full line-up of performances can now be revealed.
THE concerns of residents in a challenged Middlesbrough community are being listened to by Middlesbrough's Mayor and the Chief Constable of Cleveland Police.