IT is now just three weeks until the 12th annual Blackboard Awards and we are delighted that Newington Housing Association have come onboard as sponsors of this year's event.

The awards will be hosted at Queen’s University’s beautiful Riddel Hall with a gala dinner on Friday 1 March, when we will be recognising the teaching heroes who embody the very best of Belfast and change hundreds of young lives each year.

Based in North Belfast, Newington Housing Association is much more than just a housing provider.

Newington currently manages 720 homes within North Belfast and have delivered in excess of 350 additional new homes since 2014, but tenant participation, community engagement and community investment are really important to the organisation.

As part of this commitment, Newington Housing Association is delighted to sponsor the 'Community Impact Award' at this year's Blackboard Awards.

Chief Executive Anthony Kerr said it was a "real privilege" to be involved.

"Although we are a Housing Association, we are also a community organisation who are working in partnership with others to improve the quality of life and create opportunities for the people in the communities where we work," he said.

"In my experience schools and teachers can have such a positive impact in creating thriving and vibrant communities. 

"The work of teachers is hugely important and they have the opportunity to help guide and mentor our young people and enable children to fulfil their potential.

"Teachers, like most public sector workers are underpaid and work in a sector that is underfunded. I know personally the amount of additional hours teachers will work each week without pay and that demonstrates their commitment to their profession and the kids that they teach.

"These awards recognise how important schools and teachers are in the lives of individuals and the wider community.

"On behalf of Newington Housing Association, I would like to thank all our teachers and schools for the fantastic work they do and congratulate and wish good luck to all the teachers who have been nominated for awards."