HARTLEPOOL charity, Poolie Time Exchange have received a Teesside Heroes award.

Ian Cawley, manager, said: "Our volunteers are absolute heroes.”

The 80-strong group of volunteers became only the second group to receive a Teesside Heroes Awards, which is normally presented to individuals.

In what was Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation’s first ever virtual Teesside Heroes presentation, trustee David Henderson surprised Ian and fellow volunteers at Burbank Community Centre when announcing the special recognition during a Zoom meeting.

The trophy had been delivered to Poolie Time Exchange in a package with strict instructions for it not to be opened until the online meeting took place.

After opening the box and being told about the award, Ian said: “This is about well-deserved recognition – a seal of approval - for good-hearted people who are putting in a hell of a lot of volunteer hours for our local community amid the Covid crisis.”