NOT all superheroes wear capes – it is time to meet the mighty men, women and children who are changing communities for the better in the north west of Glasgow.
The third and final heat of the Evening Times Glasgow Community Champions Awards takes place in October and today we reveal who is on the shortlist.
The awards, supported by our generous partners Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, Glasgow Fort, City Building, Scottish Fire and Rescue and Police Scotland, reward the heroic individuals and hardworking groups who make life in the city better for all.
After weeks of nominations, our judging panel – made up of representatives from all of our partners – has agreed on a shortlist, with the winners to be announced on October 2.
Battling it out for the Team Award are Braveheart Industries, a group of social enterprises generating employment and other life-changing opportunities for ex-offenders; Chara Garden Group, which provides a safe space for women escaping domestic abuse or dealing with mental health issues and homelessness; and North West Glasgow Recovery Communities which helps people recovering from addiction.
Fantastic Frances Smith, who took over the running of a local dance group after the death of her friend; champion fundraiser Derek McShane, who has raised more than £10,000 for cancer support; Caroline Thomson, the driving force behind Maryhill Mobile Children’s Services; and Poverty Alliance fieldwork development officer Twimukye Macline Mushaka, who has overcome personal health issues to help others, are the Individual Award finalists.
Catherine Hughes, who nominated Twimukye, said: “Twimukye had used her personal experience to try and make Scotland a better place for everyone.”
Anne Marie Robertson Dryburgh and the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian Law Clinics are going head to head for the Public Service Award.
Anne Marie is a force to be reckoned with, having run older people’s social project Alive and Kicking for more than 30 years.
Eulalia Stewart, who nominated her for the award, said: “To have been there since day one of Alice and Kicking and still be so dedicated is staggering – Anne Marie always goes the extra mile for people and their families.”
The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic, the first of its kind in Scotland, has been working tirelessly to provide access to justice to some of society’s most vulnerable people for more than 15 years. As well as providing free legal advice to those in need, the Law Clinic has also helped to pioneer the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre, which ensures women who have been affected by gender-based violence, can get advice and support.
Glasgow Caledonian University Law Clinic also provides free legal advice to those who cannot afford a lawyer and who do not qualify for legal aid. The team works closely with schools and other partners to reach out to the local community.
The contenders for the Uniform Services Award are The Scottish Fire and Rescue Community Action Team, for its inspirational work protecting vulnerable children from sexual exploitation; White Watch at Cowcaddens Community Fire Station, who are teaching lifesaving skills to local schools and businesses through its CPR training programme; and paramedic Pat McGrattan who was recently awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal in recognition of his mentoring work.
The finalists in the Senior Award are Alexander Watt, who has dedicated the last 30 years of his life to running a Springburnsports club; Jean Forrester, a one-woman community whirlwind who helps everyone from the homeless and the elderly to young and grass-roots activism; and The Rockers, the Possilpark line dancing group currently enjoying a viral hit on social media after their impromptu performance outside the City Halls.
Ann Lawrence, who nominated The Rockers (and filmed the video which caused such a sensation) said: “I have huge admiration for this group, who go above and beyond to make sure their members are included in all the activities they organise – they bring a warmth to the community centre.”
The three finalists for the Health and Wellbeing Award are Just Like Us, a peer support group helping people with mental health issues in Milton; Notre Dame Children’s Centre, which supports children living tough lives and the kinship carers who help them; and The Coach House Trust which runs a variety of initiatives designed to support isolated people.
And finally, the Sport Award will go to James Davidson, who dedicates his free time to coaching and supporting the under-11s Drumchapel United girls team; Partick Thistle Charitable Trust, which runs a project helping homeless people; or North Kelvin Sports Development Group, which is successfully tackling sectarianism with a range of innovative projects.
The winners from the north west heat will join the north east and south champions at the grand final in the City Chambers in November.