MORE than 200 people raised the roof of the Winter Gardens last night as our sensational Streets Ahead winners were revealed. Cheers rang out as Shettleston Community Growing Project was crowned best community initiative and overall winner at the event, organised in conjunction with Clean Glasgow.
A delighted Marion Bate, project co-ordinator, said: “We can’t believe it – we are over the moon to have been recognised in this way. It means such a lot to all our hard-working volunteers.”
Two of the project’s youngest volunteers, nine-year-old Ben Samuels and 10-year-old Josephine Havlin, jumped for joy when the result was announced. Josephine said: “Our project is used by everyone, and it’s extra special for people who don’t have gardens at home. We love it.”
Ben added: “It’s made our community a better place.”
Shettleston Community Growing Project was praised by the judges for its work in transforming a derelict piece of land into a community garden, allotments and mini-orchard. As well as community food growing and the children’s project the Smelly Welly Club, the group also provides volunteering opportunities for local people.
Representatives from our campaign partners, Glasgow City Council, Clean Glasgow, Glasgow Housing Association, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and City Charitable Trust presented the awards, with up and coming singer Lee-Ann Douglas providing the entertainment.
Gorbals Healthy Living Network won the best community garden category for its efforts in turning an overgrown, abandoned eyesore into a peaceful haven which offers horticultural skills and learning opportunities for local people.
Director Helen Trainor said: “This is fantastic for us and we’re so delighted. Our garden isn’t just about growing food or having a nice place to look at – it’s about bringing people together.”
The trophy for best garden went to Gordon Kendall, from Balornock, whose delightful garden is the toast of the community. It is also a special place for his parents, Annie and Ronald, who are practically housebound because of ill-health.
Gordon, who helps other elderly people in the community look after their gardens, said: “I am gobsmacked – I just love doing my garden and helping my neighbours. I never expected to win an award for it.”
The best school in Glasgow, when it comes to our Streets Ahead campaign, is Castlemilk High. Pupils at the secondary have worked hard all year to clear rubbish from the gardens at Castlemilk Stables, the restored Georgian building rescued from ruin by local campaigners. They also plant and grow vegetables.
Pupils Courtney Richardson, 14, and Dylan Morgan, 14, said they loved being part of the project.
“We worked hard and it looked great at the end,” said Courtney. Dylan added: “It’s dynamite to win.”
Head teacher Diane King said: “We’re really proud of this fantastic third year group – they have done so well.”
The hard-working staff of McDonald’s Trongate and the team behind social enterprise and charity Glasgow Wood Recycling were named joint winners of the Green Glasgow Business award.
It’s the second time McDonald’s staff have triumphed in the category and Arlene Marsella, who helps to co-ordinate the work, was delighted.
“Winning last year helped us make our activity programme bigger and better, so it’s fantastic to win for a second year in a row – we are so pleased for everyone who has helped out,” she said.
The burger chain staff were praised by the judges for their clean-ups and regular litter picks in the area.
Glasgow Wood Recycling help businesses recycle wood destined for landfill and provide opportunities for socially disadvantaged people to learn new skills, gain confidence and help their local communities.
Chief executive Peter Lavelle said: “Just being here is a big boost for all of our volunteers, and to win an award is absolutely fantastic.”
The best clean-up campaign award went to After Schools Activities Programme (ASAP), a charity set up to restore the Maryhill Park tennis courts to their former glory. As well as making the area safer and more attractive, dozens of young people now use the courts in after-school tennis sessions.
Community police officer Danny Moran, who nominated the group for the award, said: “They are amazing – they have given new life to a park no-one used for 20 years, and they do it for nothing. They deserved to win.”
Dumbarton Road Corridor Environmental Trust was named best environmental initiative, for its fantastic efforts in helping the communities of Scotstoun, Yoker and Whiteinch clean up their areas. They have helped to create community gardens, help eco schools and recycle bikes.
Chairperson Tam Munro said: “It’s been an amazing night. Streets Ahead is a great campaign and we’re pleased to be part of it. Our project has done a lot to break down barriers and we’re very proud of everything we have achieved.”
Evening Times editor Tony Carlin said: “What an uplifting evening it has been, full of incredible people doing extraordinary things. We’re delighted to be able to support so many inspirational projects and we are looking forward to another year of Streets Ahead.”
**Don’t miss Wednesday’s Evening Times for our spectacular 24-page Streets Ahead souvenir supplement, with more pictures from last night’s awards ceremony and a look-back at the last 12 months of our award winning campaign.