THE superstars of the south celebrated in style last night at the second heat of this year’s Glasgow Community Champions Awards.
Supported by our generous partners Glasgow City Council, Scottish Fire and Rescue, Police Scotland, Glasgow Fort, City Building and Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, the event – at Pollok Community Centre – rewarded all the inspirational individuals and great groups working hard all over the southside.
The Team Award went to Coming Home Centre, which provides support to veterans and their families in Govan.
It has supported 400 veterans over the last three years, providing everything from warm meals and financial help to jobsearch assistance and help with housing.
Operations manager Ian Hopkins said: “We didn’t expect to win at all, we were just very happy to be part of this.
“These awards are a great way for us to raise our profile, to let people who need us know that we are here.”
Active Life Club founder Raza Sadiq won the Individual Award.
The club was one of the winners at our very first Community Champions event 11 years ago, and its members have picked up a clutch of accolades ever since.
“It means a lot to us, to be part of theGlasgow Community Champions Awards,” said Raza. “These awards are very important for the city because they recognise the great contribution made by volunteers. Volunteers are the fabric of our society.
“I’m extremely honoured to be here – winning is the icing on the cake.”
Glasgow Clyde College Community Learning and Development Team won the Public Services Award.
The hard working team helps adult learners achieve their goals and in the last year alone, has supported around 1800 people in developing literacy, language and digital skills.
CLD officer for the south Cheryl McLean said: “We are extremely proud to be here.
“We cover such a huge area, working with many people, and we don’t really think about getting recognition for it. It’s not about us – we are community workers, we do it to help others, and that’s what’s really important.”
Operation Mighty (PCs Nicola Baird, Sarah Smith, Paul Mallon and Iain McIntosh) in Govanhill won the Uniformed Services Award.
Nicola and Sarah were unable to make it along on the night, so Paul and Iain picked up the award on behalf of the team.
Paul said: “It’s really nice to get recognition for what you do. Operation Mighty has had a positive impact on the community and we are really proud of that.”
Iain agreed: “What we started has now developed into a bigger project and it’s a great feeling to have kick-started something that continues to bring a community together.”
The Senior Award was presented to Marie McMonigle and Marlene Johnston, who run bereavement support groups at Family Addiction Support Services.
The women both lost their sons to drugs in 1995 and their support to other families in the same situation has proved invaluable.
“Every boy and lassie that comes through that door could be my son or daughter,” explained Marlene.
“I hope the work we continue to do inspires mothers – and others – and helps them find the support they need when times are very difficult. It is the ultimate nightmare, to lose a child.”
Judges could not separate Abdul Haseeb, who inspires and encourages young people at Active Life Club and kind-hearted volunteer Kelsi McFadden – so they shared the Young Award.
Abdul was unable to attend on the night so Raza Sadiq accepted the award on his behalf.
A stunned Kelsi said she was shocked to have won the category.
“I was really surprised to be nominated, I just like helping people,” said the 15-year-old Govan High student.
“I got help when I was young so I wanted to give something back and help other kids like me.”
Her tearful mum Kirsty Richmond said: “We’re all really proud of Kelsi – she has a heart the size of an ocean.”
The Young category was so close, judges awarded the third finalist, St John Paul II Primary in Castlemilk, a special commendation.
Music programme Givin’ It Laldie, won the Health and Wellbeing Award.
As well as running free choirs, instrumental groups and workshops for everyone, the hardworking team also runs community events, helping to reach everyone – including young and old, people with poor physical and mental health, or those with addiction issues or living in poverty, through the common language of music.
Michelle Burke said she was “shocked” the group had triumphed. “It was such an amazing category, with so many fantastic groups up for the award,” she said.
“We are really over the moon to have won and very proud to be part of the event.”
The Sport Award was presented to Demi Mitchell, lead youth worker at Shell Twilight Girls Govan session, which encourages black, Asian and ethnic minority girls to be active in their communities.
“It was a big surprise to be nominated but I feel honoured,” she said.
“It’s very rewarding to be able to help young women overcome challenges to take part in sport.”
Her proud dad, David, said: “We are delighted for Demi, she works so hard. Whatever she does, she gives it 100 per cent.”
A special commendation was awarded in this category to runners-up SAPC Community Hub.
Evening Times editor Donald Martin said: “It was fantastic to reward the inspiring individuals and great groups that make Glasgow a wonderful place to live and work.
“Our second heat of the year was a really emotional and uplifting affair – congratulations to all of the finalists, who are superb.”