Esh and Nice receive GEM award

Esh Group and Nice Network have picked up a Going the Extra Mile Award (GEM) for their work on the SR1 Connect campaign...

Nikki Lee


A campaign that saw two of the region’s most progressive businesses provide free internet connectivity to independent, high-street retailers has been recognised by Northumbrian Water.

Esh Group and Nice Network picked up a Going the Extra Mile Award (GEM) at a glittering ceremony, hosted by the water company, at which projects that go above and beyond the call of duty to help Northumbrian Water maintain its status as a national leader in sustainable water and wastewater services.

The SR1 Connect campaign, supported by Sunderland BID, saw Esh and Nice Network donate free connectivity packages to independent retailers in Sunderland city centre to help them improve their digital presence and compete with the ever-growing rise of the e-commerce sector.

SR1 Connect beat off stiff competition to win the ‘Responsible Procurement’ Award and both organisations were praised for ‘fantastic core values’ and dedication to ‘supporting the wider community’.

Mike Mead, Corporate Account Director at Nice Network and Paul Carmody, Head of IT at Esh Group, were presented with the award by Northumbrian Water CEO Heidi Mottram.

Speaking about the win, Mike said: “We were incredibly surprised when we found out that we’d even been shortlisted for the GEM Awards, so to win the ‘Responsible Procurement’ accolade is a huge achievement.

“Nice Network, Esh and Northumbrian Water are very like-minded in the sense that our core values are built around giving back to the communities that serve us and the SR1 Connect campaign is a fantastic example of this.

“As a company which has been rooted in Sunderland for over 30 years, we take great pride in our CSR activity and giving back to the local community, so to receive such high praise for our work is absolutely fantastic and is a credit to everyone associated with the company.”

Paul Carmody, Head of IT at Esh Group, added: “To be recognised by Northumbrian Water with this award is fantastic. Esh Group and Nice Network are both committed to supporting local communities and having a digital presence is incredibly important for a business to be competitive, therefore it’s hugely rewarding to see so many independent retailers in the city taking advantage of the scheme. Not only does it enable them to add value to their own business but it also provides a positive impact to the wider community.”

The ninth annual GEM Awards ceremony was held at the Eagles Community Arena in Newcastle on Monday night (16th Sep) and was attended by 125 business leaders.

For more information on the SR1 Connect campaign, visit: