Help us find all those hidden local heroes

THE passion people have for their friends, neighbours and local areas never fails to impress Evening Times columnist Michelle McManus.

As host of our annual Community Champions awards she has the honour of meeting the finalists and winners and says the level of commitment and enthusiasm always bowls her over.

It is no surprise to hear she has been looking forward with great delight to the launch today of Community Champions 2015.

This is the time to celebrate the very best of Glasgow, the unsung heroes who think of others before themselves and whose efforts go above and beyond to make the city a better place to live.

They are our Community Champions and today the Evening Times is delighted to announce the seventh ¬season of the awards.

Kind-hearted individuals and organisations are recognised for their tireless efforts to help make a difference and we want you to tell us about the remarkable people without whom Glasgow would be a poorer place.

We have already rewarded hundreds of community champions from across the city and now we want to hear more about the people who make Glasgow great. Whether you or someone you know has made a difference by caring for others, campaigning for better services, or in general creating a positive environment, we want you to tell us about it.

These are the inspirational people who will be crowned our Community Champions.

“I love Community Champions because it is a real opportunity to see and hear what goes on in my city,” says Michelle. “The media are very good at covering what’s happening in Glasgow and all around the world but it’s not until you are actually standing in a room beside these people that you feel so humbled.
“For me it is an amazing honour and an opportunity to meet people who are just going about their day to day lives but what they do is so extraordinary.

“What struck me about each event last year was the buzz of excitement in the room and the camaraderie between all the nominees. Although there has to be a winner on the night in each category, we always bring the finalists up on stage to receive their certificates because every single person in that room is a winner, and that’s what I love about it. It doesn’t feel like there are any losers.”

Award categories include the Team Award, Individual Award, Public Services Award, Uniform Services Award, Senior Award, Young Award, Health and Wellbeing Award and Sports Award.

The awards are open to everyone and anyone can nominate a team, public servant or themselves.

You could nominate the coach of a sports club or a parent who organises after-school activities, a pensioner who takes on housing issues or a uniformed officer who has saved lives. A list of nominees will be published in the Evening Times and on our website.

The finalists, decided by a judging panel made up of representatives from the awards partners, will take their place in our hall of fame, joining an illustrious band of local heroes who strive to improve the lives of others.

We are delighted to once again be working in partnership with Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, Glasgow Housing Association, Scottish Fire and Rescue and Police Scotland, who will each assist in our search for this year’s champions.

The finalists will be chosen at three events which will take place across the city: the North-East, South and North-West, from as far afield as Baillieston and Carntyne to Ruchazie, Springboig and Tollcross.

The winners from each local event will automatically be selected as finalists for a glittering awards ceremony to crown the champions of Champions to be held in the City Chambers in December.

“The Community Champions Awards are our opportunity to honour and thank the army of unsung heroes who make our city great,” says Evening Times editor Tony Carlin.

“They come from all walks of life, from schoolchildren to senior citizens, from volunteers to those in public service. The one thing they have in common is a determination to make life better for their fellow citizens.

“Over the past few years hundreds of these remarkable men and women, young people and organisations have been hailed at these awards. They have all demonstrated, with their selflessness and commitment, that they are truly exceptional citizens.

“It is both an honour and a privilege for the Evening Times to be able, with our partners, to pay tribute to them for their efforts which make our city a better place to work and to live.

“The Evening Times’ motto is ‘Nobody Knows Glasgow Better’. We know that the outstanding individuals and organisations we honour at these events are the very lifeblood of our city and, for that, we all owe them a great debt of gratitude.”

It all kicks off at the first event in the North-East on March 12.

Nominations of those making a difference in the East End must reach us by February 12.

The awards campaign has gone from strength to strength since being launched in autumn 2008 as a way to recognise local heroes at 10 ceremonies across the city. Such was the demand for more heroes to be honoured, we repeated the format in 2010.

The essence of the campaign was then distilled into five events – grouping together two areas within each – in 2011. And in 2012, we introduced a Sport category honouring those who cultivate grassroots sports to reflect the success of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Last year’s winners were: The Spark, Connie O’Hara, Donald Dewar Day Care Centre, Colin Ferguson, Castlemilk Relaxation Centre, Glasgow Girls FC, Maureen and Michael Ferrie and Glasgow Disabled Scouts.

Categories

TEAM AWARD

A local team or group of volunteers who make a difference to their community by improving amenities or raising the quality of life for local residents.

INDIVIDUAL AWARD

Someone who gives up their free time to make a significant contribution to other people’s lives – they may run a local club, campaign for better services for their area or fundraise for charity.

PUBLIC SERVICES AWARD

This award will reward a public service team or individual who has gone that extra mile and continually demonstrates a ‘can do’ attitude.

UNIFORM SERVICES AWARD

An extraordinary team or individual from the uniformed services. It could be a person you turn to in times of need, or a team responsible for keeping your community safe.

SENIOR AWARD

Individuals or teams aged 60 and over who, after many years of hard work, continue to devote much of their time to helping others.

YOUNG AWARD

For individuals or teams aged 17 and under. Nominees may have made a difference to their community or have inspired others through their achievements.

HEALTH AND WELLBEING AWARD

This award recognises groups, projects or individuals which promote the improvement of health and wellbeing within their communities.

SPORTS AWARD

This category recognises those working at grassroots level to encourage participation in sport and fitness ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

HOW TO NOMINATE:

CONTACT Claire Reid on 0141 302 7319, email claire.reid@heraldandtimes.co.uk or visit our website at http://eveningtimesevents.com/communitychamps/enter/

The awards are open to everyone. All entries must be accompanied by a completed entry form.

Previous nominees and winners are eligible to enter.