2016 Evening Times Community Champions are crowned

Local heroes raise the roof at City Chambers as the 2016 Evening Times Community Champions are crowned.

GLASGOW’S hidden heroes had their moment in the spotlight last night as the 2016 Evening Times Community Champions were crowned.

The rafters of the City Chambers rang to the sound of cheers as this year’s inspiring individuals and hardworking groups accepted their awards.

The event, hosted by Glasgow City Council and supported by our other campaign partners, Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, Glasgow Housing Association, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland, was a fantastic success.

Evening Times Editor Graham Shields said: “The grand final of our much-loved Community Champions contest is always an uplifting and heart-warming event and this year was no exception.

He added: “Tonight, thanks to the generous support of our partners, we have the chance to reward them in style.”

Ten awards were presented on the night, including the top honour the Lord Provost Award for Community Service – also known as the Champion of Champions award – which went to Glasgow East Rugby Club.

The first group of its kind in the north-east of the city, East Glasgow encourages men, women and children of all ages to join to boost fitness, beat isolation and learn new skills, whether they want to pursue rugby or not.

Coach Fraser Jackson, 16, who joined as a player at the age of seven, said: “It’s brilliant to win this award. We’re not just a rugby club, we’re the start of a whole world of opportunities for these kids and we’re all really proud to be part of it.”

Lord Provost Sadie Docherty presented the Team Award to 3D Drumchapel Volunteers, who support around 500 families with a raft of activities and services.

Volunteer Jennifer Gowans said: “It’s lovely to be here. I joined when my daughter was two, 17 years ago, because they supported me and I wanted to give something back. That’s why we all do it, to give something back to this amazing group that’s at the heart of the community.”

Council Leader Frank McAveety presented the Individual Award to Jane Hook, who runs Buddies Clubs and Services, a support group and after-school care club for children with complex conditions and disabilities, while the winner of the Public Service Award, Gehan Macleod, received her trophy from Chief Superintendent Brian McInulty of Police Scotland.

Gehan, programme manager at inspirational boat-building charity Galgael, said: “This is a real honour, because I know there are many, many community champions out there – I see them every day in my neighbourhood. Without the team at Galgael it wouldn’t work, so I am very grateful for their support.”

Kate Willis, board member of Glasgow Housing Association, presented the Uniform Services Award to Govan Police Office: The GAB Project, which cuts through red tape to support victims of domestic abuse. The Health and Wellbeing Award winners, bike recycling project The Glasgow Bike Station, received their trophy from Soryia Siddique of Glasgow Community Planning Partnership.

Volunteer co-ordinator Janie Smith said: “It’s a great project to be part of because it touches so many areas of our lives, from education to the environment.”

The Sport Award, which went to a delighted North Kelvin Sports Development Group, was presented by Scottish Fire and Rescue area manager George McGrandles.

As well as running 12 football teams, the group organises several outstanding community projects, tackling issues as diverse as social exclusion and sectarianism.

Proud mum Maxine Demspey said: “We are overawed – everyone in this room deserves to win so it’s a real honour.”

Graham Shields presented the Senior Award to Margaret Simpson, who chairs the Unity Lunch Club and is a member of Swinton Community Council, and accepted the Young Award on behalf of inspirational teenager Martin Gallacher, who could not attend because of family circumstances. Martin, who has overcome illness and personal heartache to dedicate his time to others, received a huge cheer from the 400-strong crowd.