THE eighth exciting year of Streets Ahead came to a lively, lovely end at the City Chambers last night.
Our annual awards ceremony, supported by our generous partners Glasgow City Council, City Charitable Trust and City Building, showcased the wonderful work being done in communities across Glasgow.
Stars of the show were the team behind Kinning Park’s Pacitti Garden, crowned Best Community Garden and overall winners.
This wonderful green and growing space in the heart of the urban city centre gives people of all ages and walks of life a place to breathe.
The volunteers who run it, led by chairperson Elaine Derrick, were gobsmacked to win.
An emotional Elaine said: “We are absolutely over the moon – we can’t believe it.
“What a fantastic night. It’s great for all the people who have worked so hard, for so long, to make it happen.”
The award for Best Garden was presented to Erica Quinn, who has created a beautiful ‘pocket-sized’ growing space in her tenement garden in the west end.
Erica said: “I am very, very surprised to have won – but it feels pretty awesome.”
Scottish Youth Forum and its driving force Tahir Mohammed won the award for Best Clean Up Campaign.
Unfortunately, the group was unable to attend and Evening Times deputy editor Henry Ainslie collected the trophy on their behalf.
He said: “Scottish Youth Form are worthy winners – they do fantastic work in Pollokshields, organising monthly litter-picks and helping local residents with all kinds of recycling and environmental issues.”
The Malls Mire Conservation Group run by Urban Roots won the Glasgow City Council Environmental Initiative.
Malls Mire is an urban woodland which has been transformed into a thriving community hub and Local Nature Reserve. The hardworking volunteers have turned a ‘no go’ area into a lovely woodland and wetland, with improved paths, free community events, outdoor learning and mental health programmes and more.
Growing Communities project manager Gemma Jennings said: “These volunteers turn up once a week, in all weathers, working hard to make a huge difference to this woodland. Because of their efforts, it is a safer place for all. It’s meant we can open it up to all kinds of groups and none of that would have been possible without these volunteers.”
The Glasgow City Council Green Business Award went to Locavore, the Govanhill social enterprise which offers local people an alternative to conventional supermarkets.
As well as selling local, organic and zero waste foods and goods from a shop and café on Victoria Road, Locavore delivers veg boxes to more than 1000 households and grows organic food which it supplies to other local cafes and shops.
It has had a huge impact on food poverty in the area.
Founder Reuben Chesters said: “It’s really exciting to be part of Streets Ahead, especially to be nominated alongside two great social enterprises like Bike for Good and Glasgow Wood Recycling.
“We’re proud of what we have achieved, but know there is still a lot more we can do.”
The Schools Award was presented to the Jimmy Dunnachie Family Learning Centre.
The children and staff have teamed up with the older members of Rainbow Day Care Centre for an intergenerational project and the centre is now working on turning a small plot in the grounds into a community garden for use by all.
Head of centre Ann Robb said: “Our project is about community unity, like everyone else here tonight. It’s making a difference and we are proud of that. And on a personal level, as I retire after 50 years doing this job, this award is the icing on the cake.”
Cranhill Development Trust’s community shop The Cabin won Best Community Initiative.
Set up to give local people the choice of healthy, low cost food – some of it grown in the community garden – this wonderful new initiative has come up with lots of ways to help its customers.
Marie Ward, chief executive of Cranhill Development Trust, said: “We are so proud to be here – it’s been an amazing journey for us. When we had the idea two years ago we asked the community what they wanted, and they continue to drive it. We’re delighted it has already been so successful.”
For the first time, judges presented a Spirit of Streets Ahead award.
It was awarded to Steve Koepplinger, for his fantastic community work around the city including his recent restoration of the Knightswood running track.
Steve said: “I’m very honoured. It’s great to be part of such a positive event.”
Evening Times Editor Donald Martin said: “It has been a fantastic night, with some incredible stories and very worthy winners.
“Nobody Knows Glasgow Better than the Evening Times and we know our citizens are the lifeblood of this great city.”
He added: “That’s why I’m delighted Streets Ahead has struck a chord with so many people. It has inspired, fired imaginations, brought neighbours together and encouraged everyone, young and old, to work towards the common goal of building better communities.”