OUR city’s unsung heroes had their moment in the spotlight as this year’s Glasgow Community Champions were crowned.
The banqueting hall at Glasgow City Chambers was transformed into the biggest and best party venue in town on Tuesday, December 5, as more than 200 people paid tribute to our 2023 winners.
The event, supported by our partners Glasgow City Council, Trades House Glasgow, Wheatley Glasgow and Merck, was a fantastic success. There was entertainment from both event host Michelle McManus, who performed her fantastic new single Christmas Glow and a stunning version of her debut hit All This Time, and up-and-coming singer Sophie Ramsay who sang a beautiful collection of hits through the decades.
Eleven awards were presented on the night, including the Lord Provost’s Award which went to young volunteers Jack Smith, 13, and Kallum McQueen, 10, from North United Communities; and the Editor’s Award, presented to Castlemilk activists Bridget Crossan and Cath Milligan.
Jack’s proud parents Lindsey and John said their son was “speechless” after winning the award.
“That doesn’t happen very often,” said Lindsey, with a laugh. “Kallum has ADHD and autism, so to do all this when he has his own challenges is amazing.”
Jack’s mum, Frances, said: “Jack loves helping his community, he just wants to make sure people are okay. I’m over the moon, and he’s in shock.”
Bridget and Cath paid tribute to the whole Castlemilk community.
“We can’t believe this, it’s amazing,” said Bridget. “We’re going to just keep doing what we do.”
The Team Award went to The Croft at HMP Barlinnie, a dedicated bunch of volunteers who provide practical and emotional support to the families of prisoners.
Family support worker Josie Sutherland said: “This is amazing, and will really help us raise awareness of what we do. We are so excited even just to be here.”
The inspirational founder of mental health charity LD Let’s Talk, Derek Reid, won the Individual Award.
Described as “Mr Community” by his friends and neighbours in Castlemilk, where he also runs a football academy, Derek is the driving force behind a suicide awareness campaign which has saved many lives.
Derek said: “This is really not an individual award, it’s for the whole team who support me. Thanks to all of them.”
Groundbreaking podcast Surviving Stalking, which gives the victims of stalking a voice, won the Public Service Award. Presenters Karen Fullerton-Chalmers and Shelcy Garcia were stunned.
Karen said: “The amazing team at Action Against Stalking give us lots of support. We’re grateful for this award, and for being able to give stalking victims a safe space to have these conversations.”
The Senior Award was presented to the magnificent rapping grannies of Possilpark, Wilma Dale, Susan McGinlay, Jean Dallas, Betty Todd and Maggie Cassidy, who inspired their community – and people across Scotland – when they learned how to rap for a TV documentary with comedian Karen Dunbar earlier this year.
An overjoyed Karen joked: “I’ve never been so pleased about an award I had nothing to do with. But I’m delighted for them, because I know how much this means to these amazing women.”
Jean summed up the feeling of everyone in the room as she accepted the award. “What does it mean to be here? We’re all proud,” she smiled. “Proud to be Glaswegian.”
The Uniformed Services Award went to the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital’s neo-natal nurses. Susan Heron, senior charge nurse, and her team play a special part in the lives of those who come through their doors and their expert help can often make the difference between life and death.
Susan said: “It’s all the more special for us because a family nominated us, and that means the world, to know people appreciate what you do.”
Superstar volunteers Summer Weir and Farrah McIvor won the Young Award.
Described by their community as the “heart and soul” of Easterhouse Pavilion, the 16-year-olds are respected mentors and role models who think nothing of giving up their time to help others.
Summer said: “We just want to give back some time to the people who helped us.”
Farrah added: “Thanks to everyone at the Pavilion for helping us on our amazing journey.”
The Health and Wellbeing Award was presented to PEEK, a charity which has been transforming the lives of children, young people and families impacted by poverty in Glasgow for more than 20 years.
PEEK’s CEO Michaela Collins said: “We just want to thank everybody who supports us – we could not do it without them.”
This year’s Sport Award went to the Disability Sports Camp organised by Glasgow’s active school co-ordinators and Glasgow Life apprentices.
The emotional team who collected the award said it was “an absolute joy” to run the camp and an honour to win the award.
The Best School Award was presented to Scotstoun Primary for its remarkable Café Culture project which brings together parents who share stories and recipes to help boost language skills and confidence.
Headteacher Emma McGill said: “It’s like walking into a hug, walking into this project, and we are so proud of these ladies and their families.”
Glasgow Times Editor Stacey Mullen said: “The grand final of the Glasgow Community Champions Awards is always a wonderful night out and this year was no exception.
“Everyone at the Glasgow Times is delighted that with the help of our generous partners, we can share their stories and give them their moment in the spotlight.”