DARLINGTON has been recognised as on of the top ten most thoughtful communities in the country.

In a report by Boom & Wild, pulled together using Government data, Darlington has been named the sixth most thoughtful community across the UK.

The florist looked at criteria like at the number of registered charities, volunteering opportunities and the recycling rate in towns and cities and scored them out of 100 – Darlington scored a high 74.

As the only North-East area in the top, the town came below Swindon, Bath, Oxford, Milton Keynes and Sevenoaks – which was just one point ahead.

After identifying the number of opportunities to give back to the community, the figure was divided in relation to each location’s population size and the score was standardised.

Darlington has 265 registered charities, 51 volunteering opportunities, six community gardening schemes, a recycling rate of 39.8 and 251 owned electric car.

The findings do not come as a surprised to residents, who have given time and resources to helping the vulnerable and those in need throughout Covid.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

George Jabbour and Kimberley Scott, founders of the town's coronavirus support group, said: "When we started this project at the beginning of the pandemic, we received a phenomenal response from the people of Darlington who came forward in great numbers to dedicate their time and energy to serve residents.

"Without the continuous hard work, kindness and selflessness of so many volunteers in our town, Darlington Support would not have become one of the most successful groups – if not the most successful – in the country to tackle Covid at a local level. We are not surprised to read that Darlington is the most thoughtful community in the North as we knew that all along."

Darlington residents' grassroots volunteering through the pandemic was noted by the florists and, seeing this at scale, is one of the reasons it came up with the thoughtful communities list.

Jonathan Dulston, deputy leader of Darlington Council and cabinet member for stronger communities said: “I’m delighted by the findings of this report, which is just one of many over the years that showcases how amazing Darlington is. I’ve always said that the success of our town is our residents who continue to show amazing generosity. In particular the challenges of Covid-19 which have highlighted the strength of our communities by coming together to support each other."

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Mayor of Darlington Chris McEwan said: "As Mayor, I have witnessed the best of people emerge during lockdown, with a real and meaningful desire to help others, be that from a key worker or volunteering perspective.

"That is why I feel so important to get to and thank these people when I can - they are our Darlington lockdown heroes."

Over the last six months, people have written letters to the elderly, pubs and cafes have delivered free to the isolated and most recently building society have began working with Age UK.

Marisa Thomas, head of brand at Bloom & Wild: "While there were so many amazing cases of communities being thoughtful across the North-East, Darlington consistently scored highly for giving back, specifically in the number of charities, volunteering opportunities, and community gardening schemes available per person.

"We noticed incredible levels of cohesion and thoughtfulness in the town, from charity coffee mornings and fundraising bike rides to businesses helping those who may be feeling lonely during the pandemic."

Gateshead was also recognised in the report specifically for its charitable opportunities, where it came in fifth.