WHO should be crowned Glasgow Community Champions for 2021?

The public vote to determine the winners of the regional heats is now open – 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.

Yesterday, we announced the finalists for the Team and Individual categories.

Glasgow Times: Ardoch Childcare Centre's litterbusting heroes

Today, we reveal those fighting it out in the Public Service, Uniformed Services and Young categories.

And tomorrow, it is the turn of 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/

It is free to cast your vote and voting closes on October 26. The winners will go through to the Grand Final on December 1.

The Public Service Award finalists in the North East are Freewheel North; Fuse Youth Café - Shettleston Does Digital; and NoFeart.

Following on from volunteer John’s nomination in the Individual category yesterday, Free Wheel North are back in recognition of their tireless efforts in providing children and adults of all ages and abilities with the chance to take up cycling in a safe and friendly environment.

There’s a second nomination too, for Fuse Café, this time showcasing their excellent Shettleston Does Digital project which offers free, one-to-one help for anyone struggling to get online, for whatever reason. It has been a lifeline for older people, those on low incomes and local residents with significant language barriers.

NoFeart is a social enterprise working to help people affected by domestic abuse. Its programmes aim to help victims and perpetrators understand behaviours, and they have had life-changing results.

In the North West, the finalists are Bike for Good Pandemic Response, Chara Centre and Glasgow Baby Food Bank Limited.

Glasgow Times:

Bike for Good is an established Glasgow charity, refurbishing, repairing and teaching communities how to ride bikes. During the pandemic, the team reacted quickly and creatively to support the increasing number of people for whom cycling had become a lifeline. They also provided bikes to key workers to help them get to work safely, and stepped up to support people in need, delivering food and care packages to those shielding.

Chara Centre supports vulnerable women, many of whom are escaping violence and trauma. It is a safe space with dedicated staff and volunteers, helping women rebuild their lives.

Glasgow Baby Food Bank, which is also nominated in the Team category as revealed yesterday, 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 helped around 3000 families get the food and equipment they needed.

The South finalists are the Community Renewal Govanhill Roma Team; Allana Kyle, of Community Veterans Support; and Susanne Lyall, of Riverside Primary School.

There are an estimated 4000 Roma living in Govanhill and south Glasgow, facing a number of economic, political and social challenges, particularly through Covid. Part of anti-poverty charity Community Renewal, the Govanhill team is made up of British, European and Roma employees and Roma volunteers and they support the community through a range of initiatives including a local canteen, online activities and more.

For ten years The Coming Home Centre has supported armed forces veterans, through a drop in centre providing free hot lunches, emergency accommodation, food boxes, a safe space and more. During lockdown, realising many veterans would struggle with isolation, operations manager Allana Kyle developed an impressive outreach programme which included delivering food and care packages, regular calls and eventually, face to face meet-ups. Allana went above and beyond to deliver the service, packing more than 200 food parcels a week from her garage.

The contenders for the citywide Uniformed Services Award are Bike Theft Initiative – Gorbals Community Policing Team; NHS GGC - Glasgow City Quit Your Way Community Services; and Scotservs.

With cycling becoming a lifeline for many during the pandemic and lockdowns, bike theft also sadly increased. The Gorbals Community Policing Team leapt into action, recovering and returning stolen bikes, running awareness-raising campaigns and setting up bike marking schemes, all of which has also helped to strengthen relationships between the police and local communities.

Smoking is the biggest cause of ill health and early death in Scotland and it impacts the poorest in our societies the most. Glasgow’s community NHS Quit Your Way teams offer week to week support to those who find it hardest to stop. Working in partnership with local pharmacies, and the hospital and pregnancy Quit Your Way teams, these dedicated teams moved online during the pandemic, often giving lonely people someone to talk to, and helping to change lives.

Scotservs, based at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, is the country’s only volunteer emergency medical transport charity, delivering vital tissue samples, blood, case records and equipment by bike and car in all weathers. On average, the service, entirely run by volunteers, responds to 400 calls a month.

This year, the Young Award will also be judged citywide and the finalists are CHAS fundraiser Che Gallagher, Hubert Rudnicki, Mary Jane Anderson of MCR Pathways, Andrew McNally of Pavillion Drop Ins and the Ardoch Childcare Centre’s Litter Team.

Che Gallagher is a champion fundraiser who has supported Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) since the death of his older brother in 2017. Through a variety of activities, he is keen to give back to the charity which helped him through a difficult time.

Hubert is a volunteer at FARE’s Lochend allotments in Easterhouse and he has inspired many with his hard work, imagination and determination. The 14-year-old pupil of Lochend Community High School has dug, planted, weeded and built structures for the garden, quietly encouraging his peers to get involved with a valued and much-loved community resource.

Mary Jane Anderson is a pupil at St Roch’s Secondary where she often goes above and beyond to help others in need despite adversity in her own life. The sixth year student is head girl, will be the first in her family to attend university and is a constant source of positivity for her peers. She is helping to shape the MCR mentoring programme, and has helped vulnerable young people at the school cope with bullying and other issues.

Andrew McNally has given up more than 60 hours of his own time, on top of studying for his Highers, to volunteer for The Pavillion in Easterhouse, helping young people cope with the transition to high school.

The children at Ardoch Childcare Centre in Possilpark were so horrified by local littering, they decided to do something about it. Persuading teaching staff and parents to lobby for litter picking kits and new bins, they set about cleaning up the streets and hope to encourage the local community to get involved too.