Streets Ahead 2018: Meet the inspirational finalists helping to make Glasgow better

CREATIVE clean-ups, cracking community gardens and super schools are all in the running for the 2018 Streets Ahead Awards.

In the second part of our two-day feature, we reveal the rest of the finalists in this year’s competition, supported by our generous partners Glasgow City Council, City Charitable Trust, Scottish Fire and Rescue and City Building.

Yesterday, we told you all about the contenders for best garden, best clean-up and best environmental initiative.

Today, we reveal the groups and individuals battling it out for best community garden, best green business, best community initiative and best school.

The four finalists for Best Community Garden, one of this year’s most hotly contested categories, are: the inspirational people behind Cranhill Community Garden, who have turned a derelict football pitch into a buzzing community hub; the fantastic Shettleston Community Growing Project, who continue to help local people garden, grow and relax; Queen’s Cross Housing Association, who run gardening sessions, helping people back into work and combatting loneliness and isolation; urban community food growing project Concrete Garden; and Castlemilk Stables Community Garden.

A fun ‘soup off’ competition is just one of the ways Castlemilk Stables Community Garden has brought local people together. The gardening group has been running for 10 years, helping people improve health and self-confidence, as well as acting as a community hub.

Common Wheel, who support people with mental health issues through bike recycling, music and visual arts; Jaw Brew, who teamed up with a local bakery to use waste bread in a low-alcohol beer; Govanhiill upcycling project Rags to Riches; and green food delivery company Eco Runners are competing for the Glasgow City Council Green Business Award.

The four groups who made it on to the short list of Best Community Initiative, in the face of stiff competition, are East End Flat Pack Meals, Possibilities for Each and Every Child (PEEK), Andy Cameron and St Roch’s FC and North Unitied Communities.

Recognising the challenges facing low income families struggling to eat healthily, East End Flat Pack Meals came up with a simple pack with recipes and ingredients for affordable, tasty meals, which the volunteer group distributes in the east end. It has had such an impact, schools and nurseries in the area are now backing the project.

North United Communities is a diverse youth and family support programme in the north of the city, which works hard to reduce alcohol and drug-taking in the area.

Jill Mackay, who nominated the group, says it is “scaffolding for families”, supporting young people and helping them to reach their full potential. She said: “It has shown to have reduced crime and gang involvement by young people in north Glasgow and it is a first port of call for young people and their carers.”

The mighty PEEK has been a force to be reckoned with for almost 10 years, and now delivers free outdoor play sessions in streets, parks and playgrounds in 34 communities around the city.

It cleans up derelict spaces, brings families together and encourages young people into volunteering.

St Roch’s is more than just a football club – under the guidance of boss Andy Cameron, it has organised an impressive range of free initiatives which support hundreds of local people; from homework clubs and employability programmes to a free football academy for kids, festive dinners for pensioners and homelesspeople, and charity tournaments.

As always, schoolchildren across the city have enthusiastically taken up the challenge of Streets Ahead and this year’s shortlist comprises an outstanding collection of projects and initiatives.

Adelphi Nursery, whose “hens and bakers” project continues to inspire other schools and nurseries across the city; St John Paul II Primary in Castlemilk, who run an impressive array of community initiatives, including clean-ups, healthy eating and planting; young gardening fans Pollok Children’s Centre; and St Francis Primary Nursery Class, who are tackling health issues with a range of activities from hip hop to football, are all hoping to triumph.

As well as the individual category winners, an overall champion will be crowned at the awards party in the People’s Palace Winter Gardens on Tuesday, June 19.