A Widnes organisation which provides emergency accommodation and mental health support has been recognised at a national award ceremony.

Nightstop Communities Northwest CIC was named the UK’s top community business at the Federation of Small Businesses's Celebrating Small Business Awards, a special ceremony marking the organisation’s 50th anniversary.

Nightstop Communities Northwest offers a multi award-winning emergency accommodation and mental health support services to both adults and children in Liverpool City Region and Warrington.

At the ceremony, CEO Terri Kearney accepted the award with members of her team at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, from host TV star Tess Daly.

Ms Kearney said: “We believe in ourselves and the work that we do, but it’s still a shock and delight to be given an award like this. We may be a small organisation, but we have such a vast reach. The business fills a much-needed gap in service delivery, and we deliver our services passionately."

She added: "There are a lot of people in need right now and so we’re working hard to expand due to the increased demand and need. The impact of Covid, the cost-of-living crisis and Brexit is taking a toll on our local communities.

"It’s great that people are recognising that they need support and seeking help, but we need to grow to manage rising demand. From a national level, we need to consider how better to help people."

The Federetion of Small Business's (FSB) Celebrating Small business Awards 2024 saw representatives from more than 140 small businesses, plus self-employed professionals, gather from across the UK, with each previously named a regional winner in their respective area.

Other UK winners spanned award categories including Innovation, Young Entrepreneur, Sustainability, Diversity & Inclusion, Family Business, Franchise, Micro Business, Self-Employed / Freelancer, Service Excellence, and Start-up, plus the title of ‘Small Business of the Year’, which was awarded to Edinburgh-based carbon capture firm CCU International.

The FSB’s North West Chair, Holly Bonfield, said:  "We know the vital part played by small businesses in their communities. Nightstop provides key accommodation and mental health support for a range of people in Halton, across Liverpool City Region and in Warrington.  This is so well-deserved and it was a pleasure to be able to celebrate with Terri and members of her team.”