Award nominees show the best of Scotland

Engaging pupils with industry, working to prevent offending and supporting disabled people into work were among the prominent themes in this year’s bumper entry for the annual Herald Society Awards.

Now in their eighth year, the event gives an impressive overview of the scale, imagination and results achieved by workers in Scotland’s public and voluntary sector, and can throw up some interesting ‘fashions’ as well as inspiring contributions.

Bees featured again this year, along with a number of projects using art and creativity to bring joy and self-confidence to deprived communities and marginalised groups.

Our expert team of judges had the unenviable task of selecting the very best from a host of impressive entries and have now determined the shortlist for the 2015 awards.

These include the three contenders for our newest award, the 2014 Legacy award for the best project carrying on the work of Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games. Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said: “Congratulations to all the finalists. This is a strong shortlist of organisations who are all doing great work to make sure there’s a lasting legacy to the Commonwealth Games.”

The Health and Social Care Integration Award is sponsored by Social Work Scotland (SWS) and recognises the intense work going on across the public, private and voluntary sectors to improve results for people by bringing services closer together. Jane Devine, business manager at SWS said: “The system goes live in April and it is difficult to be innovative and creative under this kind of pressure. Social Work Scotland would like to congratulate the finalists for doing just that and for managing to do it in such inspirational ways.”

Jim Sweeney is chief executive of YouthLink Scotland, which supports the Young People’s Project of this year’s award. He congratulated a strong list of nominees and added: “This year’s finalists for the Young People’s Project Award really demonstrate the innovative work and dedication of youth workers and volunteers across Scotland.”
Older People’s Project of the Year, sponsored by Glasgow Caledonian University School of Health & Life sciences, has produced another strong shortlist. Vincent McKay, Dean of the School of Health and Life Sciences at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), said: “Congratulations to all of the finalists. They should be proud of their achievements and I wish them all the best in this next stage.”

A larger than usual entry for this year’s Unsung Hero award gave the judges plenty to consider, and Eamonn Connelly, director of sponsors for EVH said: “Once again the Unsung Hero category has unearthed some real gems. This is why these awards are so important as there are pearls to be found everywhere – here’s to the next one!”

Last, but not least, another recent addition to the awards list is Social Entrepeneur of the Year, sponsored by Firstport.

Karen McGregor, Firstport chief executive, said: “It is inspiring to see such a diverse range of innovative social enterprises shortlisted. The judges will have a tough task ahead of them.”