Glasgow Community Champion Awards 2018: Meet the finalists

THE north east of Glasgow is full of local heroes – now it’s time to give them their moment in the spotlight.

Today we reveal the finalists for the first 2018 heat of the Glasgow Community Champions Awards.

The awards, supported by our generous partners Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, City Building, Scottish Fire and Rescue, Police Scotland and Glasgow Fort 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 at the GESH in Easterhouse on March 27.

Battling it out for the Team Award are Beacon Warriors, who bring families together for exercise, healthy eating and more; community cycling project Team Free Wheel North; St Paul’s Youth Forum, an outstanding food poverty project helping families move away from emergency foodbank support; and Dennistoun Community Council, which gives local people a voice in citywide issues.

Beacon Warriors listen to what its community wants, running everything from breakfast clubs to girls’ boxing sessions and ‘the warrior effect’ has had a huge, long-lasting impact on hundreds of local people.

Team Free Wheel North encourages people to get on their bikes and enjoy cycling. In the last year alone, it welcomed 40,000 visitors to its Glasgow Green centre, taught 500 people how to ride bikes and regularly hosted more than 1300 people on group cycles around the city.

Tesco community champion Susan Wilson, Glasgow East Women’s Aid support worker Clare Elliot and badminton coach Pat Ferrie are the Individual Award finalists.

Susan volunteers for a group supporting disabled adults, organises food drives for charities and helps out in local schools, forging partnerships with businesses and individuals all over the north east of the city.

Janet O’Neill, who nominated Susan, explains: “Susan stands out from the crowd because she puts her heart and soul into everything she does.

“She turns every project into a success and most importantly, she makes people happy.”

The young people of Cardinal Winning Additional Support Needs School faced losing their much-loved badminton club because they had no coach – until Pat Ferrie came along.

Pat volunteers at the school two days a week, helping pupils take part in a sport they might not otherwise have access to. The fact that he is 84 makes his commitment all the more impressive.

Connect Community Trust, Royston Youth Action and Bridgeton Community Learning Campus are going head to head for the Public Service Award.

Connect Community Trust runs a breathtaking range of activities for young people, adults, the elderly and people with disabilities, including lunch clubs, football tournaments, knitting sessions and social nights; while Royston Youth Action has been helping young people reach their full potential for almost 30 years. Bridgeton Community Learning Campus runs educational courses, keep fit classes and activities for young people and the elderly, welcoming around 10,000 people through its doors every year.

The contenders for the Uniform Services Award are Scottish Fire and Rescue watch manager and CPR training champion Gary Canning; Scottish Fire and Rescue group manager Joe McKay, who runs a hate crime awareness programme; Police Scotland’s hardworking Baillieston Local Problem Solving Team and popular PC Paul Ferguson, whose presence on the beat in Easterhouse has helped reduced crime and anti-social behaviour, and restore a sense of community spirit.

The finalists in the Senior Award are popular handymen Harry Scalley and Bob Martin, who keep Baillieston allotments shipshape; inspirational Red Star Athletics coach and volunteer Donald Adie; the hardworking volunteers of Cranhill Parish Church Nearly New Sale, which has been helping low-income families for 20 years; and Brian and Ruth Johnston, the incredible Dennistoun duo behind a host of local initiatives.

Champion volunteer Savannah Ross, Sunnyside Primary School’s mighty Ocean Defenders and Active East sports coaching star Chanelle Gallagher will battle it out for the Young Award.

The Ocean Defenders are a bunch of primary seven pupils on a mission to make the world a better and safer place to live, with a range of conservation campaigns including convincing businesses to get rid of plastic straws.

Teacher Aileen McCaffer says: “The Ocean Defenders in P7 inspire all other classes in their endeavours – through their campaigns for climate change, saving endangered animals, reducing pollution and reducing single use plastic, they are changing the world.”

The three finalists for the Health and Wellbeing Award are Glasgow East Women’s Aid, which has been supporting vulnerable women and children for 25 years; Cranhill Community Gardens, which transformed a neglected piece of land into a fantastic neighbourhood hub; and YoMo Youth Health Champions, who get important health messages out to young people all over Glasgow.

And finally, the Sport Award will go to either Glasgow East Rugby Club, Glasgow Gals Cycling Club, Red Star Athletics or Shettleston Harriers.