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It’s time to announce the finalists of the National Happiness Awards 2018 (cue drumroll).

It’s been another bumper year with almost 200 entries from some of the happiest people and places in the UK.

After hours of deliberation, gallons of burnt midnight oil, mouthfuls of nail-biting suspense and some very tough decisions, our independent judging panel have done their duty and are now having a lie down in a darkened room.

Which can only mean one thing. It’s time to announce the finalists of the National Happiness Awards 2018 (cue drumroll).


HAPPIEST WORKPLACE

dock10, MediaCity, Salford

Support, engagement, empowerment and retention are the key to the success of this, the largest television production facility in the UK. Rapid growth has been achieved by ensuring that people are the most important part of the dock10 success story.

Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, Stourbridge, West Midlands

One of MAAC’s key values is keeping employees at the heart of its operations, whether that be aircrew, strategic directors, employees or volunteers. This quality is disseminated down throughout the organisation, ensuring all staff are respected, valued and listened to.

Bupa Place, Salford Quays, Manchester

Creating the happiest place to work was the core mission when Bupa developed its new offices, Bupa Place. The space is focused on ensuring every one of the 2500 people based there love working there.


HAPPIEST WORKPLACE PERSON

Becca Ross, outreach volunteer, Breaking Barriers NW, Bolton

Despite having her own challenging caring duties, Becca spends her free time volunteering for Breaking Barriers NW and supporting disabled children and young people across the North West region. She is never without a smile, a kind word and a cheery outlook on life. Her happiness is infectious.

Natalie Morgan-Dew, Mizz Twisted Cherry, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire

Natalie has overcome personal and health challenges and turned her experiences into positives which she uses to support and encourage others. Although she is not trained as a counsellor, her empathy for others means she is always there to help and has been a support for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, bereaved parents and people going through difficulty.

Jessica Byhurst, Stick It To The Stigma, Rochester, Kent

Jessica goes above and beyond for everyone around her- no matter who they are or how well she knows them. She does whatever she can to help a person in need. After suffering from depression aged 18 she decided to turn her pain into power and used her experience to help others. In 2017 she created the non-profit organisation Stick It To The Stigma, which she runs on her own.


HAPPIEST TEAM

Giggle Doctors, Theodora’s Children’s Charity, London

The Giggle Doctors are a team of specially trained performers who visit children in hospitals, hospices and specialist care centres. Last year they visited over 33,000 children, bringing light and laughter to them and their families while helping to increase opportunities for play, reduce stress and anxiety and improve experiences of the medical environment.

Brampton Recruitment, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Team spirit is the lifeblood of the organisation. Everyone within the successful business is a valued member of the team. Brampton has created an environment where people can have a laugh, get the work done and have a real feeling of affinity with each other.

Territory Trainer Team, Telefónica O2, nationwide

The team supports 2500 people across the UK with fun and engaging training, which makes a genuine difference. The team’s engagement, determination and focus make a difference within their organisation. They deliver bigger and better results by creating an environment which helps people learn.

Camberley All Night Café, Camberley, Surrey

The café opened in November 2015 offering homeless people a safe, warm place to stay. Almost three years later it has helped around 400 people with its vision to serve quality food for free, feed families and locals and be a place that helps folk move on and have a better future.


HAPPIEST PRIMARY SCHOOL

Eyres Monsell Primary School, Leicester

The school is a trailblazer with work on mental health and well-being for staff, pupils and parents. It supports and develops positive wellbeing by growing happiness. Its culture is a mindful one, underpinned by a desire to ensure sustainable wellbeing.

Flakefleet Primary School, Fleetwood, Lancs

Staff at Flakefleet support each other and the pupils at this booming school, which has seen fortunes turn around dramatically. Situated in an area of high deprivation, many children and families need additional support. The school is always there for them. Poverty is on the increase and staff have helped feed children, wash their clothes and even provide presents at birthdays and Christmas when necessary, which is all done with discretion and dignity.

Meadowfield School, Sittingbourne, Kent

Meadowfield School is a special school located in Kent which serves pupils from three to 19 years of age with profound, severe and complex needs including medical needs as well as autism. It is a highly-regarded and innovative school that runs initiatives that include a forest school, special needs yoga for pupils, effective partnership working and a staff support structure that promotes wellbeing and positive work/life balance.


HAPPIEST SECONDARY SCHOOL

Thistley Hough Academy, Stoke-on-Trent

Thistley Hough Academy has been in special measures twice in its history and was once deemed ‘unsaveable’ and came close to closure. With leadership, determination and creativity it has continued to improve and is now graded as Good with Outstanding features. This renaissance has been underpinned by working with stakeholders who were prepared to support the school when the going was tough. It now works with a wide range of partners and has developed long-established relationships and completed many successful projects.

Stockport Academy, Stockport

Stockport Academy is a happy school. 98% of students stated in questionnaires that they are happy at school and 99% of their parents agree. Staff are vocal about the support and nurturing that they receive. The academy is pro-active in supporting staff and student wellbeing and there is a tangible ethos and sense of community that is regularly celebrated within the school and on social media.

Fairfield High School, Bristol

With a focus on wellbeing for all, Fairfield High School enriches the lives of staff and students to create a happy partnership. It is an over-subscribed, diverse school described by Ofsted as ‘harmonious’ and ‘inclusive’. With over 40 nationalities represented within the pupil cohort, the school has an inclusive ethos, and diversity is welcomed.


HAPPIEST SCHOOL PERSON

Loretta Gray, Crestwood Community School, Eastleigh, Hampshire

Loretta is described as a ‘school mum’ to the students and always manages to find a way to put a smile on faces. She goes above and beyond to make sure the students are happy and that they want to be at school, rather than just having to be at school.

Jake Heather, Fourfields Community Primary School, Peterborough

Jake creates Carpool Karaoke Videos for his children, makes it his business to know every child in the school regardless of their age and designs innovative and engaging 21st Century learning experiences which children and their parents love. He recognises that childhood is a golden period in their lives.

Stephen Hill, St Joseph’s RC Junior, Infant and Nursery School, Oldham

Stephen Hill likes to tell his class that you use more muscles frowning than you do smiling. He is described as a fine example of someone who is determined to make a difference to children's lives in his own school and the wider community. He loves his job and has a desire to mould the children he teaches into well-rounded, fun loving, caring individuals.


HAPPIEST PUPIL

Shawn Sequeira, Lime Tree Primary School, Surbiton, Surrey

Shawn is naturally enthusiastic and inquisitive and is also kind and caring. He builds effective relationships with his peers and the adults around him. He is blind, but is not defined by his disability, nor does he use it as an excuse not to have a go at something and sets his goals high. He always does his best and has a thirst of knowledge, enthusiasm for learning and a zest for life.

Hiren Abhani, Barham Primary School, Wembley, Middlesex

Hiren has faced many challenges, which he does with a smile, and he still challenges himself. His sense of humour remains intact. This has often inspired his peers to manage their disposition when being challenged with learning by remaining positive which has enabled them to maintain their happiness.

Rhys Dooley Williams, Meadowfield School, Sittingbourne, Kent

Rhys copes with a range of physical disabilities and has also had family trauma to deal with. Despite this he still spreads happiness, retains positivity and is an inspiration to others. He is always willing to help others and demonstrates a remarkable ability to cope, showing up for school each day with a smile on his face and ready to learn.

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