IT started off as a small, South Side football club but has since been able to expand into turning itself into a sports hub, offering more to its community that it had previously imagined.

As the Evening Times celebrates the 11th year of the Community Champion Awards, the search for the heroes in the South is, once again, well underway.

We have already rewarded more than 400 community champions from across Glasgow for over a decade and now Mark McGraw, of Our Lady of the Annunciation Football Club, has spoken about the importance of nominating the unsung heroes in everyday communities.

“It’s just great to give recognition and to the time and effort people put in,” he said.

“Life after our win has been really positive.

“Our numbers have increased substantially. We started off as a football club but are now a sports hub. We’re able to offer a lot more and have expanded our offerings into netball and hopefully golf.”

Winning the Community Champion Sports Award last year “really helped” the group, Mark added.

He explained: “We’ve developed better links with with the community and are better associated with the school. We’ve even increased the number of volunteers who help us out.”

One-woman whirlwind Marilyn Cunningham picked up the Individual Award.

The expert organiser and activist helped to save Clyde Community Hall from closure and it is now the beating heart of Ibrox, with youth clubs, fitness sessions, charity nights and community events going on.

“It was just mind-boggling to win,” she said, still reeling from the big night.

“It was just fantastic. I never thought I’d win. I’m still volunteering away.”

In a calls to readers to nominate, she said: “Just be dead proud and honoured that there are people in your community doing good things.”

The Evening Times wants to hear more about the people who make Scotland’s biggest city great.

So, whether you or someone you know has made a difference by caring for others, campaigning for better services, or in general creating a positive environment, we want you to tell us about it.

We are also delighted to, once again, be working in partnership with Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, Scottish Fire and Rescue, Glasgow Fort, City Building and Police Scotland, who will each assist in our search for this year’s champions.

Graham Paterson, executive director at City Building, said the council organisation is “very proud” to be a sponsor of the awards.

He said: “As an organisation, we believe in the power of strong communities as a force for good and this ethos underpins everything we do.

“For that reason, we are delighted to help honour those individuals and organisations whose efforts make such a vital impact on the lives of the people in their local areas.

“Already, the stories that are emerging from this year’s awards are proving to be inspirational and involve many people who are well-deserving of being honoured for the contribution they make to their communities.”

Evening Times deputy editor Henry Ainslie said: “For more than a decade now, the Evening Times and our generous partners Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, Glasgow Housing Association, Scottish Fire and Rescue and Police Scotland have been proudly to honour our city’s most selfless workers and thanks them for their tireless efforts.

“Every year, we are amazed and delighted to see the scope of nominations from every neighbourhood.

“We’re looking forward to hearing about more of Glasgow’s unsung superheroes as we launch the 2018 awards.”

Finalists are chosen at three events which take place across the city.

Heroes in the North East were announced on March 27 with ceremonies yet to take place for those in the South and North West of Glasgow.

The winners from each local event are automatically selected as finalists for a prestigious grand final awards ceremony at the City Chambers in November 2018.

The awards are free to enter. Contact Hannah Docherty on 0141 302 6037 for more information.

Nominate your unsung heroes at

The deadline for South nominations is May 3.