Finalists in North-West Community Champion awards 2015

THE round of applause as every finalist took to the stage last night nearly brought the house down.

Under the ornate vaulted ceiling of Maryhill Community Central Halls, nominees for the North-West round of the seventh annual Community Champion awards had their moment in the spotlight.

Hosted by Evening Times columnist Michelle McManus, the hard work and dedication of the city’s unsung individuals were recognised.

Finalists for the Team Award were volunteers at Milton Food Hub group, who have learned landscaping, building and gardening skills to create a community garden which is now thriving with produce.

Possobilities was established in 1984 by people with disabilities to provide opportunities for all. They run community initiatives such as a daily café, a laundry service and social clubs offering activities for those who are often isolated or lack the confidence or support they need.

While, the Clutha Trust was set up after the fateful accident in November 2013. Volunteers deliver music projects to young people all across the city who might not otherwise have access to musical instruments, tuition or the opportunity to attend music gigs.

“We didn’t expect to be nominated, it was a surprise,” says Dutch Rukowski of the Clutha Trust. “We set up nearly a year ago, and everyone has put in a lot of hard work. It has given us all a boost to be nominated.”

Finalists in the Individual Award included Ahmed Owusu-Konadu, who came to Glasgow as an asylum seeker and has become an important member of his community.

He is secretary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community group and runs the youth programme at the mosque which aims to reach out and involve younger members in the area.

“It is very humbling to be nominated. I belong to the Muslim community and this is all part of my faith. I didn’t do it for any of this.”

Catriona Lessani has been organising the Sapphire Gymnastics Club for the past five years and transformed the group into a thriving, popular place for youngsters in the North of Glasgow.

Public Services Award finalists include GHA Clydeside Environmental and Enforcement Officers who work to bring the communities in Scotstoun North together, as well as encouraging them to improve their environment and living spaces.

The LCR at Drumchapel High is a specialist programme, providing dedicated support for young people with autism, language and communication needs which allows them to be taught in mainstream classes.

Philip Rawnsley is an active schools co-ordinator in Hillhead Learning Community, driving physical activity in his cluster of schools.

In the Uniform Services Award category, finalists include Firefighter Ian Thomson, who has been instrumental in the success of the Fair Hand project where he works with youths from troubled backgrounds to help reduce statistics on malicious calls and anti-social behaviour.

The Maryhill Community Policing Team works with a group of young people from the area to prevent their involvement in anti-social behaviour.

“This is a bit of recognition for doing something positive in the community,” says Sergeant Ryan McMurdo. “We did a diversionary project, working with local community groups. It was a great success.”

Senior Award finalists were Edith Ward, who has held voluntary positions at Maryhill Housing Association over a 34-year period.

And Elsie Elliott, who has been working at the Donald Dewar Day Care Centre for nine years.

Finalists in the Health and Wellbeing Award include Crohn’s and Colitis UK Local Clyde Group. Volunteers support people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and the group has 700 members in the Clyde area.

“We provide information and support for sufferers and organise meetings for people to come together and talk about their experiences,” says volunteer Jana Moravcova.

The Stag Group addresses issues with social isolation and health and wellbeing with older male tenants in sheltered housing.

For the past 17 years, The Coach House Trust has been promoting health and wellbeing services for adults with learning disabilities and mental health problems.

“We’re absolutely delighted to be finalists and for the work the organisation does for people with mental health and learning disabilities to be recognised,” says chief executive Don Jameson.

Annie Hutton and Anne Fraser were Sport Award finalists. They have been volunteering to offer regular extra-curricular activities and clubs for the children of Camstradden Primary School.

Carolynne Sinclair Kidd is a parent at Hyndland Primary School, the driving force behind the school’s netball club.

Dunard Primary School aims to include all children from nursery to primary seven in active healthy pursuits, because they believe that healthy kids makes healthy minds.

“We’re very proud of our children and all the staff,” says headteacher Annemarie Connolly. “Everyone works really hard to make sure they get a fantastic experience.”

Young Award finalists were Andrew Maxwell, a sixth-year pupil at Hyndland Secondary School, who is always willing to go above and beyond to give back to his community.

The Drumchapel D60 Group was created to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Drumchapel Community in 2013, and the momentum has continued. “It’s great to be here,” says volunteer Charles Bailey. “Our events are for everyone.”