WHO should be crowned Glasgow Community Champions for 2021?

The public vote to determine the winners of the regional heats kicks off today – so it is time to get behind your favourite.

The Glasgow Times awards, in association with Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Housing Association and Trades House of Glasgow, celebrate everything that is great about the city and its people.

Once again, our readers will determine who triumphs in each category in the north west, north east and south areas.

Today we are announcing the finalists for the Team and Individual categories.

Tomorrow, it will be the turn of the Public Service, Uniformed Services and Young categories.

And on Wednesday, we will reveal the finalists in the remaining three categories – Health and Wellbeing, Sport and School of the Year.

You can vote on our Glasgow Community Champions website here: http://newsquestscotlandevents.com/events/glasgowcommchamps/

Voting closes on October 26. The winners will go through to the Grand Final on December 1.

The Team Award finalists in the North East are: Denmilne Community Action Group, Fuse Youth Café, Musical Memories Springburn and PEEK - Possibilities for Each and Every Kid.

Glasgow Times: Heather Bryson, age nine, who is shortlisted in the individual category.

Denmilne Community Action Group cleaned up the streets, back courts and open spaces of Easterhouse in a bid to boost community spirit. The team also rallied everyone from schoolkids to pensioners to take part in events and activities such as fun days for children and ‘afternoon-tea-in-a-box’ deliveries during lockdown.

Fuse Youth Café is a safe and inclusive space for young people in the north east of Glasgow, running a variety of drop-in clubs and attainment programmes. During lockdown, they extended support to the wider community, helping families tackle everything from food and fuel poverty to digital exclusion and mental health and wellbeing.

Musical Memories in Springburn – also known as the Yellow Shirts - run weekly music sessions for people with dementia and their carers. When these had to be suspended because of COVID, volunteers made more than 1000 calls and doorstep visits to local residents in a bid to keep everyone connected.

Team PEEK (Possibilities for Each and Every Kid) were relentless in their support of communities in the north east and beyond during the pandemic, providing food, activity and wellbeing packs and online play, art and cooking sessions to families. Between March 2020 and 2021, the charity supported more than 3500 children and young people and delivered more than 350,000 meals in their new food truck delivery service.

In the North West, the following teams are in the running - Farebears Community Support - KSS Farebears; G3 Litter Free and the Glasgow Baby Food Bank Limited.

Glasgow Times: Staff and volunteers of former Community Champions award winner Men Matter Scotland pictured outside the hub in Drumchapel, Glasgow. Photograph by Colin Mearns

The Farebear team consists of a Fare family liaison officer, two Fare youth workers and a Rangers Charity community hub officer based at Knightswood Secondary School. They provide invaluable social and emotional support for young people and their families, and during lockdown co-ordinated a programme of emergency support including food parcels, resources and vouchers.

G3 Litter Free run monthly litter picks in Anderston and as well as creating a cleaner community, the group is bringing neighbours and friends together.

Glasgow Baby Food Bank helps vulnerable parents with everything from formula milk and breastfeeding pads to nappies and clothing. The 10-strong team are all volunteers and during lockdown stepped up to help around 3000 families.

The Team Award contenders in the South are Castlecroft Residents Association, Croftfoot Quad Hub and Friends of the Southern Necropolis.

Castlecroft Residents Association turned an overgrown lane into a beautiful community hub. Poppy Lane is now a safe and welcoming space which also pays tribute to those who lost their lives in war. Croftfoot Quad Hub created a ‘wee street shelf’ to encourage local people to share what they had and take what they need and it quickly grew into a much-loved resource showing solidarity with those in need. Friends of the Southern Necropolis are well-known on the south side for their work transforming the Gorbals cemetery, but during lockdown, volunteers went above and beyond to support the local community with online Live From Oor Living Room fun music and quiz sessions.

Glasgow Times:

The North East Individual Award finalists are John O’Hara, a hardworking volunteer at cycling charity Freewheel North, who despite his own health challenges always goes the extra mile to help others; inspirational nine-year-old Heather Bryson, for her phenomenal work supporting people with dementia and encouraging people to recycle more; and Sophie Ross, of NHS24, whose passion for helping others helped her overcome personal challenges to become a dedicated call handler.

READ MORE: 'It's a lifesaver' - Govan nurse on project helping a Glasgow community

The individual North West finalists are Seon McLaren of karate club JKS Glasgow, who has created a fun and supportive environment for young people; and two of the driving forces behind vital mental health charity Men Matter Scotland Fraser Devine and Jon Craig.

Glasgow Times: Donna Foote

The finalists in the Individual category for the South are Stuart Cherry, of Crossing Franchises, who has overcome challenges associated with autism to support a variety of charities through ingenious cosplay projects; Donna Foote, kind-hearted founder of Greater Pollok Volunteers which helped provide a lifeline for many during the pandemic; and David Patterson, a hard-working volunteer whose dedication to helping Riverside Hall Community Centre survive and thrive is second to none.