THE stories Catherine Yuill hears from parents at Glasgow Baby Food Bank are often heartbreaking.

“We don’t ask, we don’t judge, but often people just want to explain why they need help,” she says.

“Especially during the last 18 months, life has been very, very hard for families in Glasgow.

“It’s been horrible, in fact. But people have rallied round to help us like never before and if we can just do anything to help, anything that will make life a bit easier, then we will do it.”

Glasgow Times: Glasgow Times Community Champion Awards 2021, City Chambers, Glasgow. Winners of the Lord Provost's special recognition award is Glasgow Baby Foodbank Ltd. Pictured from left are volunteers- Andrea Watson, Catherine Yuill, Aggie Watson and Tracy

The charity, which provides baby and child essentials like nappies, food and clothing, was set up by a group of 10 mums – “mothers supporting each other,” laughs Catherine – in 2019.

During the pandemic, it supported more than 3000 families.

On Wednesday, the group won the Public Service category at the Glasgow Community Champions Awards, organised by the Glasgow Times and supported by Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Housing Association and Trades House Glasgow. The team also picked up the prestigious Lord Provost Special Recognition trophy.

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“We were shocked even to be nominated,” says Catherine. “The fact that we did so well in the public vote too was really amazing. That people took time out to vote for us, was really fantastic and we are very grateful.

“Winning feels unreal – we can’t believe it.”

Fellow organiser Tracey Pender was in tears when she accepted the award from event host Michelle McManus. “We couldn’t do this without the public,” she said. “Our thought has always been, if we don’t do this, who will? Everyone’s kindness keeps us going.”

Lord Provost Philip Braat said: “I have had the immense privilege of getting out and about during the pandemic and seeing first-hand the tremendous work that goes on. I have been lending a hand at food banks, community groups, charitable organisations and so many others.

“It was during the course of that work that I discovered Glasgow Baby Food Bank.

“All of you will know the immense pressure that the most vulnerable in our society have been under - with it getting harder and harder to make ends meet and to put food on the table. Glasgow Baby Food Bank has been exemplary in making sure that everyone gets what they need, and that no one is left out.

“They have, like so many others, faced adversity and challenge. They have borne the stress and anxiety of those that they help - as well as working to make sure supplies do not run out.

“I am in awe of their work, and I genuinely believe that these dedicated volunteers have let families sleep easier at night.”

Glasgow Times: Glasgow Times Community Champion Awards 2021, City Chambers, Glasgow. .Winners in the School of the year award is FARE Community Allotment Schools' Plots. Pictured is Shanade Duncan age 8..Photograph by Colin Mearns.1 December 2021.


THE fact that Glasgow is full of selfless, compassionate people who go the extra mile for their communities is fantastic news for the city.

It did, however, make judging the 2021 Glasgow Community Champions Awards very difficult.

Glasgow Times: Glasgow Times Community Champion Awards 2021, City Chambers, Glasgow. .Lord Provost Cllr Philip Braat, 2nd from right, pictured with, from left- the Late Deacon Convener of the Trade's House of Glasgow Kenneth Dalgleish, Bernadette Hewitt, chair GHA

Representatives from the Glasgow Times and our partners Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Housing Association and Trades House Glasgow had the tricky task of deciding overall winners from the fantastic shortlist of regional heat champions.

Judging panel chairperson Callum Baird, Editor of the Glasgow Times, said: “This has been an incredibly difficult 18 months for the people of Glasgow, but the standard of entries was absolutely fantastic.

Glasgow Times: Glasgow Times Community Champion Awards 2021, City Chambers, Glasgow. Winner of the Health & Wellbeing award is North Glasgow Community Food Initiative...Photograph by Colin Mearns.1 December 2021.

“All of our finalists were amazing – it was particularly inspiring to see how so many stepped up to the challenge of the pandemic so quickly and creatively, with kindness and compassion.”

Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Councillor Philip Braat, agreed.

“I have been very impressed by how groups and individuals adapted to the ever-changing circumstances in the face of adversity,” he said. “They way everyone really pulled together to help their communities through Covid was inspiring.

“When issues such as food supply, mental health and isolation became even more critical, Glasgow’s people stepped up.

“Men Matter Scotland, for example, was one organisation going the extra mile to help people through this terrible period. They were on the doorsteps, listening to people who might otherwise have no-one else to talk to. It was exceptional.”

Bernadette Hewitt, chairperson of Glasgow Housing Association, said: “This event absolutely reinforces the definition of community.

“The finalists, both groups and individual, are part of the DNA of their communities. It has been joyful to learn more about them.”\

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She added: “Remoteness is something which comes up a lot - these groups, by definition, are ‘there’ for their communities. They are living the day to day problems, they understand the issues affecting them, and they are helping to provide solutions. They are all laudable, but I was particularly moved by the entrants in the Individual and Young categories.

“They are all so driven, and so caring. They are fantastic.”

Kenneth Dalgleish, Deacon Convener of Trades House Glasgow at the time of judging, said: “I feel very strongly about the importance of making sure people do not fall through the gaps in care, particularly during such difficult times as those we have experienced in the pandemic.

“The people we celebrate at Community Champions help to make sure that does not happen. They go beyond their remit, what is written on paper about their duties or aims and responsibilities, and do so much more. They are all doing such great work, with incredible energy – it’s fantastic.”