Community Champions: Our judges on an incredible group of finalists

ALL of the finalists for the 2019 Glasgow Community Champion Awards are passionate, hardworking and selfless individuals who make other people’s lives better.

This is great news for the city – but it did make finding winners exceptionally hard for this year’s grand final judging panel. For the first time, a public vote decided the heat winners for north west, north east and south areas of Glasgow – and almost 10,000 readers took part.

Representatives from our generous partners, Glasgow Fort, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, Trades House of Glasgow and Glasgow Housing Association – found it a difficult task to choose winners from our exceptional heat champions.

Chairman of the judging panel Henry Ainslie said: “The standard of entries throughout 2019 was absolutely fantastic. It is extremely impressive and uplifting to see people who spot an issue or injustice in their community and step up to do something about it.

“The word ‘selfless’ comes up a lot in the Community Champion Awards, but this year it seems more than most that the finalists simply sum that up. These people are why community works.”

Phil Goodman, Glasgow Fort centre director, said: “It has been, for me, particularly humbling to see some of the incredible things people are doing in their communities. It makes you reflect upon the problems people face in their everyday lives, and the strength and resilience they show in overcoming them.”

He added: “At Glasgow Fort, community is extremely important to us in everything we do, and we are very proud to be supporting the Glasgow Community Champion Awards for the second year running.”

Phil was particularly impressed by the standard of the finalists in the Individual and Young Awards categories “The stories are compelling and moving, and both these categories are full of self-starters who make real difference to the lives of people facing particular challenges,” he added. “Finding winners is a tough call.”

Depute Lord Provost Philip Braat said: “The standard is so high, it is practically impossible to choose winners.

“All are impressive, and I was particularly struck and encouraged by the calibre of the Young Award finalists.”

He added: “It is refreshing to see so much intergenerational work and cross-boundary projects existing in the city too – there is some very strong pan-Glasgow work being carried out by people working at the sharp end of a range of tough issues.”

Steven Dowling, community council liaison officer for the Community Empowerment services team, said: “The range of skills that people make available so selflessly to help others is very refreshing. I’m incredibly impressed by the level of passion that exists in our communities, from people who simply want to help their neighbours.”

Tom McInally, Deacon Convener of Trades House Glasgow, said he was particularly impressed by the Uniformed Services Award finalists.

“I am astounded by the level of commitment shown by the uniformed services,” he said. “I have had some experience of the NHS this year following ill-health, and the dedication and hard work of nurses working at the frontline of our health service, is second to none.”

Bernadette Hewitt of GHA summed up the panel’s feelings on this year’s awards: “The finalists tackle the gritty issues of life and, in true Glasgow fashion, ‘look after their ain’. They are all incredible and we all benefit from their dedication and determination.”