The judging criteria for the award focussed on the project’s approach to resolving local issues, collaborating with community partners and using the skills of Cummins employees to create long-term benefits for the environment.

River Tees Rediscovered and Cummins have worked together with the Friends of Tees Cottage Pumping station and Northumbrian Water to restore and maintain the site’s Victorian-era pumps and engines, which are registered as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and considered to be of European historical importance.

River Tees Rediscovered received both the global and regional Environmental Challenge award from Cummins. Receipt of the awards has provided further funding for the Taste of the Tees Festival. The month-long festival, planned for late summer 2017, will offer people the chance to sample food and drink, produced locally within Tees Valley alongside taster sessions of heritage activities linked to the River Tees.

Groundwork has previously secured an Environmental Challenge award in 2016, using the funding to pay for an apprenticeship for a young person.

Lucy Chapman, Partnership Manager at River Tees Rediscovered, said: “I am exceptionally pleased to receive this award on behalf of River Tees Rediscovered and Groundwork. It is especially important as it highlights the global significance of the River Tees as a natural asset, which should be celebrated and safeguarded for future generations.”

“One of our main objectives is to work in conjunction with local businesses and other partners to help preserve and protect the environment, heritage and wildlife of the River Tees. Cummins has played a major role in this, with its employees working with us to help keep the local environment clean of litter and landscape unloved areas, as well as using their engineering expertise to help preserve the pumps and engines at Tees Cottage Pumping Station.”

Sarah Pearcey, Environmental Analyst at Cummins, said: “The ongoing efforts of Groundwork, and River Tees Rediscovered in particular, to protect the environment and heritage of the North East, while simultaneously supporting local people to gain workplace experience and qualifications, aligns with Cummins’ focus on environment, education and social justice.

“We want to support the areas in which we work to grow and prosper, and during our time volunteering with River Tees Rediscovered we have seen first-hand how it does this. It is a very deserving winner of our Environmental Challenge award and grant, I look forward to continuing our great partnership with local Groundwork projects in the future.”

Darlington Mayor, Cllr Jan Taylor, said: “It’s important that organisations, such as River Tees Rediscovered and Cummins, work together. You get the best value, you get the best outcomes and you make the best use of volunteers, and that’s extremely important to places such as the Pumping Station.”