THE hunt is on for the 2018 Glasgow Community Champions.
This year’s awards, organised by the Evening Times in conjunction with our partners Glasgow City Council, Scottish Fire and Rescue, Police Scotland and Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, kick off in the north east of the city – and we want to hear who you think should win.
It’s the most uplifting event on the city’s calendar, as Evening Times Editor Donald Martin explains.
“The Glasgow Community Champions Awards have been giving our city’s superheroes their moment in the spotlight for more than a decade,” he said.
“Each year, we are overwhelmed by the number of selfless individuals and brilliant groups working hard to make life better for others, and we know 2018 will be no exception.
“They could be volunteers or emergency service workers; schoolchildren or pensioners; grass roots sports coaches or inspirational community leaders – whoever you think deserves to be crowned a Community Champion, we want to hear about them.”
The awards comprise three heats, in the north east, north west and south of the city, with all winners being invited to the grand final in the City Chambers in November.
Since winning the Team Award at last year’s North East heat, and subsequently triumphing at the grand final, the team at Fuse Youth Café has had a busy time.
The club has been running activities for young people, including drugs and alcohol awareness events, sports clubs and employability and drama sessions, for more than 10 years.
Youth worker Julie Duff explains: “It’s been really incredible. We have been focussing on parental engagement, so bringing in parents for sessions on cooking and healthy eating, for example, which their young people then join in too, so everyone works together.
“When Fuse started out, there were about 12 to 15 kids coming along every week – now our junior club alone has more than 40 coming each day.”
In fact, Fuse plays host to hundreds of young people every week, many coping with difficult situations or coming from deprived backgrounds.
“Life can be tough for some of these young people, and yet many of them come back to volunteer with us,” says Julie.
“It’s amazing – they are fantastic, wanting to give up their time to help others.”
Julie joined Fuse four years ago. “It’s great to see young people growing in confidence because of what they do here,” she smiles.
“I met a girl recently who had come along to Fuse when she was younger.”
SHE continues: “Back then, she was so shy and didn’t know what she wanted to do, but she has gone on to do really well and is now at college studying sports coaching.
“She was so pleased to come and tell me all about it – that’s really rewarding.”
A recent refurbishment at Fuse has also helped spread the word about the project.
“Before it was hidden away, and not a lot of people knew we even existed,” says Julie.
“Now people can see in and drop by, and it’s become a real community hub. We’re not a big charity, so sometimes you can get overlooked. Winning the award was a great boost for us.
“We never expected to win, we just went along to enjoy the night, because it is fantastic. You get to see what everyone else is doing around the city, and you realise you are all sharing the same experiences and having the same obstacles to overcome.”
Julie says winning the award was a powerful way to recognise everyone
who works hard for Fuse.
She smiles: “It really helped raise awareness of what we do. And once you walk in here, and see everything that goes on and how hard people work to help the young people living here, it just speaks for itself.”
To get involved in Community Champions 2018, we want to hear your nominations for the following categories – Team Award, Individual Award, Public Services Award, Uniformed Services Award, Senior Award, Young Award, Health and Wellbeing Award and Sports Award.
You can nominate anyone – perhaps the coach of a local sports club or a hardworking parent, a police officer who has saved lives, a nurse who goes above and beyond the day job or a pensioner who campaigns for better services.
A list of nominees will be published in the Evening Times and on our website in the run-up to each event and the finalists, decided by a judging panel made up of representatives from the awards’ partners, will take their place in our hall of fame.
It all begins at the first event in the North East on March 27 and nominations must reach us by March 1. Visit newsquest
scotlandevents.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information call 0141 302 6018.