Heroes unsung then the cheers ring out

UNSUNG heroes with an ambition to improve Glasgow were recognised last night at the Evening Times Streets Ahead awards 2014.

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All the nominees were greeted with warm applause at last night's ceremony
All the nominees were greeted with warm applause at last night's ceremony

The evening sun streamed through the Winter Gardens at Glasgow Green as local heroes waited patiently to find out who would take the top spots.

Audience members cheered as Evening Times editor Tony Carlin kicked off proceedings.

Applause rang out as Lord Willie Haughey, Glasgow City Council Leader Gordon Matheson, and George McGrandles, area manager for Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, presented awards.

This was the third Streets Ahead awards, celebrating the transformations carried out by men, women and children across the city.

Mr Carlin said: "The motto of the Evening Times is Nobody Knows Glasgow Better.

"We know our citizens are the very lifeblood of this great city.

"And we know that there are hundreds of people, clubs, companies and charities who share our aim of making a positive difference within their communities.

"That's why I'm delighted Streets Ahead struck a chord with so many."

Among those being celebrated at the fun, informal ceremony were groups that have transformed neglected spaces into beautiful gardens.

Green-fingered pupils from Ibrox Primary and Orchard Grove Kindergarten, who were runners-up in the best schools category, cheered and laughed as they collected their certificates.

Ibrox Primary School Eco Committee and Eco Squad were set up in 2009 by teachers, pupils and volunteers to encourage children to get involved in clean-up campaigns.

They have created an allotment in Bellahouston's Walled Garden and maintained their Flower Field Community Garden across the road from the school.

Orchard Grove Nursery staff, pupils and parents turned a nearby wasteland into a lovely garden.

As well as transforming an empty space, the garden has helped teach the children about wildlife and the environment.

Trophies were presented for the Best Garden, Best Clean-up Campaign, Best Environmental Initiative, Best Community Garden, Best Community Initiative, Green Glasgow Business Award and Best School.

Pollokshaws Area Network was praised by the judges for its work transforming the area with regular clean-ups.

Frances Stevenson said: "I became part of the Pollokshaws Area network to get more involved with the community. I never thought we'd be nominated but it's a nice surprise."

The team was joined on the shortlist for Best Clean-up Campaign by GHA Concierges of Tinwald Path, who go above and beyond normal duties to make life better for tenants.

Over the last decade, GHA has been a driving force in Glasgow's regeneration.

A judging panel of representatives from our campaign partners - Clean Glasgow, Glasgow Housing Association, Scottish Fire and Rescue, City Charitable Trust and ScotRail - whittled down the entries to a shortlist.

Every day, volunteers are improving Glasgow's streets, gardens, parks and shopping areas. Among them are Love Milton, a charity dedicated to making Milton a better place to live.

Nominated for the Best Environmental Initiative award, Love Milton encompasses a zero-carbon self-build programme, community orchard, community garden and recycling schemes.

Upcycling project Rags to Riches, a social enter-prise to boost recycling and training in Govanhill, was also nominated.

Craigton Residents' Action Group, which is supported by GHA's South Area Committee, organises regular clean-ups in their area. The group, which transformed derelict land into a popular garden used for local events, narrowly missed out on the Best Community Garden trophy.

Member Laura Dunbar said she wanted her neighbourhood "to be a place people take pride in".

Mary Williamson added: "We're losing that sense of community these days. People are staying behind closed doors and no one knows their neighbours.

"The Action Group has been a great way to get out there and meet people, as well as making a difference to the community."

Castlemilk Community Garden Project, which has brought together a raft of local organisations to create a beautiful garden and play area, was also nominated for the prize.

Staff at Asda Robroyston, which was nominated for the Green Glasgow Business Award, also organises regular clean-ups in the local area.

Locavore Community Interest Company runs a host of gardening and food initiatives aimed at creating sustainable local food economies.

Locavore, also nominated for the Green Glasgow Business Award, supplies more than 100 boxes of organic fruit and veg to customers across the city.

Reuben Chesters, who set it up more than 18 months ago, said: "I wanted to create a more sustainable food chain by encouraging people to eat more locally-sourced food.

"It's great to be part of Streets Ahead. It's a really good way to promote what's happening in Glasgow."

The North Glasgow Food Initiative, which encour-ages food projects such as gardening, fruit barrows and cookery classes, was also shortlisted in the hotly contested category.

rebecca.gray@eveningtimes.co.uk

Home and Garden

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