It might have its problems, but Hemlington’s two councillors say they love being part of “the best community in town”.

Hemlington’s two Labour councillors, Nicky Walker and Jeanette Walker, share more than a surname – they’re both passionate about where they live.

Both Nicky and Jeanette volunteered in the community before becoming councillors.

And despite problems with anti-social behaviour and deprivation in their ward, they both agree they’re representing the best Middlesbrough has to offer.

“We’re very community minded in Hemlington,” said Jeanette.

What are the big issues affecting Hemlington?

Cllr Nicky Walker (Left) and Cllr Jeanette Walker (right)
Cllr Nicky Walker (Left) and Cllr Jeanette Walker (right) (Image: Copyright Unknown)

Nicky said: “There is the anti-social behaviour which is not just Hemlington, but we are one of the wards that has problems.

Jeanette said: “We’ve just had recently a spate of graffiti and that’s not very nice.

“And the person is attacking specific police officers and that isn’t very pleasant at all.

“But by people contacting us straight away on our community page, it gave us the opportunity to get something quickly done about it.

“So it was quickly removed, got rid of and changed.”

Nicky continued: “We get quite a lot of comments about litter and rubbish, but that’s because people care about the area.

“It doesn’t tend to be the streets. It’s more the back areas and around the lake.”

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Jeanette added: “We get some problems with the shopping centre as well, people will say there’s gangs of youths here, there and everywhere.

“It alerts us and we can do something about it.”

Nicky said: “Yes. We’ve recently got upgraded CCTV in the shopping centre.

“There was that incident where the man was hit by the toy truck. We recently put pressure on and got CCTV in that subway.

“I haven’t seen it so I don’t know if it has helped identify who it was, but if people know it’s there it is a deterrent.”

Jeanette said: “It was originally put in because it was a bit of a hot spot for stones being thrown at cars.

“So we said we need to try and get CCTV in that particular area.

“We needed it not just to see the road but the underpass as well.

“We just kept on and on and on and we got it.”

Nicky said: “Another thing that is coming up is Universal Credit. That’s going to affect this ward.

“From the Universal Credit conference and from our Facebook group Passionate About Hemlington, we know there are people concerned about going over to Universal Credit.

“There is one guy who reckons that he’s looking forward to it. But I expect we’ll have quite a lot more worried about it now.”

Jeanette said: “We’ve got a food bank here in Hemlington too that’s really quite well used – it wouldn’t be there if we didn’t have a need for it.

“Parts of Hemlington are classed as a deprived area.”

Nicky added: “All the ward is deprived – the ward as a whole when you average it out is deprived.”

What makes Hemlington special?

Sunset over Hemlington lake
Sunset over Hemlington lake (Image: John Smith)

“The way that the community rallies round,” said Nicky as she remembered the aftermath of the death of Andrew Corfield.

The 39-year-old Hemlington resident died and his daughter Alice was left severely injured after a joyrider hit their car in October 2014.

“It was towards the end of October and bonfire night there was nothing,” said Nicky.

“There was nothing, not a bit of trouble. It was like the whole of Hemlington was in mourning – just like a big hush.

“There’s places with more wealth and everything, but I don’t think they’ve got a community like we have.

“The community laid the flowers for Andrew in a heart shape. After the funeral we asked the family what they would like.

“So now it’s like bushes still in that heart shape.”

“These aren’t just residents, they’re friends as well,” said Jeanette.

“What the family do now, is they go there on his birthday and anniversary and things – they go there to remember.”

Both Nicky and Jeanette volunteered in the community before becoming councillors.

Two councillors called Walker? Are they related?

“People are always asking if we’re sisters and they don’t believe me when I say we’re not. To be fair, you have got two councillors in the same ward with the same surname,” said Jeanette.

“We are like sisters though I suppose,” said Nicky.

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