Winners take a bow in North East 2015 Community champion awards

THE roars and cheers off applause nearly brought the house down last night at Barmulloch Community Centre.

 The East End venue was packed as celebrations began for the first event in the seventh series of the Glasgow Community Champion Awards.

To mark the work carried out in the North East of Glasgow, groups and families gathered to recognise the work of those who have made an outstanding contribution to their local area, from Baillieston and Barlanark to Calton, Dennistoun and Riddire.

East End girl and Evening Times columnist Michelle McManus hosted the evening, along with Evening Times editor Tony Carlin.

This was an evening to honour and thank those groups and individuals who have worked to make the North East of the city a better place to live, work and play.

From the Team Award to the Health and Wellbeing, Sport and Uniform Services Award, our winners were richly rewarded at last night’s event in Pollok Community Centre.

Audience members just about raised the roof as Michelle and Tony kicked off proceedings.

Depute Lord Provost Councillor Gerry Leonard announced the winner of the Team Award, Easthall Residents Association.

Set up in 1973 to tackle social inequalities in the area, it is a registered charity now responsible for promoting and supporting a varied range of services.

“We are delighted to be here,” said Andy Gilbert, project manager.” “It’s a great way of recognising all the hard work the guys put in.

“Being nominated had been absolutely amazing.

The Individual Award recognises an outstanding individual for their work and contribution within their community.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Area Commander George McGrandles presented the award to Audrey Campbell, a volunteer at Carmyle Primary School, who has been described as a selfless person who makes many sacrifices to help others.

Audrey litter picks, helps older people with their shopping, runs the school’s credit union and is a member of the Parents 4 Pupils group.

“I was really nervous before the awards started, but I’m just delighted to be here,” she said. “The school nominated me and I am very proud. I have been volunteering at the school for 16 years.”

George also presented the Public Service Award to Royston Youth Action. The charity has been running for more than 25 years, and was set up by local parents and community leaders concerned at the rise of anti-social behaviour and lack of facilities for young people.

The social, recreational, educational and sporting opportunities offered have enabled more than 350 children and adults to grow in confidence.

Director May McCusker said it was wonderful for the children to get the opportunity to pick up the award.

“I call them my kids,” she said proudly.

The Uniform Services Award was presented by GHA chairman Gordon Sloan to Watch Commander Allan Brown, who co-ordinates the daily activities of the Community Action Team and community firefighters, as well as liaising with local schools in the area.

“I am based in the Calton area and was nominated for my community work with school kids from P1 up to S1 and 2 as well as other community groups,” he said.

” I feel humbled and proud for the organisation as a whole. It’s good to be recognised for my achievements in the community.”

Councillor Marie Garrity came on stage to present the Health and Wellbeing Award to Community Transport North East Glasgow for Healthy Journeys.

The volunteer car scheme was set up in response to a local need for improved transport facilities for senior members of the community.

A team of nine volunteer drivers and a project officer improve access to health and social care by offering free hospital transport to vulnerable members of the community.

“We really didn’t expect it,” beamed community driver David Miller. “We get a lot of satisfaction from the work. If we were paid I don’t think it would be half as enjoyable.”

Police Scotland Superintendent Andy Bates gave the Sport Award to Active East. Inspired by last year’s Commonwealth Games, it was set up to create more opportunities for young people in the area to participate in sport and physical activity.

Project leader Ahmed Mumin said: “About 60 local kids are now involved in the group, which was set up as a 2014 legacy project.

“We are really happy to have won.”

The Senior Award was handed over to Mae Gahagan by Tony Carlin.

Mae has been running Lambhill Senior Citizens Club for 16 years, long before she was one herself. Thanks to her, club membership has risen dramatically, seeing members celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary recently. Despite suffering ill health, she has tirelessly fought for funding.

“I look after 62 members of Lambhill Pensioners club, I felt quite overwhelmed when I heard I had been nominated. I’m so proud to have won,” she said.

Tony also presented the Young Award to Beatroute Arts, for making a real difference in the community and helping others.

Its Take a Bow programme offers free tuition on string

Project manager Jenny Reeve said the charity provides opportunities for young people and adults to improve their quality of life.

“Everyone in the organisation works really hard,” she said. “An event like this brings the whole community together. It’s also a good opportunity for the kids to see the achievements of other groups too.”

A special award was made by Tony Carlin to Scottish Fire and Rescue Service City of Glasgow group manager Iain Goodlet to mark his retirement after 30 years of service.