Nominations have been flooding in for Dundee’s Champion Awards – with even more of the city’s local heroes being put in the spotlight.
Dozens of individuals and groups from around Dundee are in the running for this year’s awards – but there is still time to nominate your community champion in each of the categories listed below.
Two of our latest nominees have proved that community spirit and helping others can be done at any age.
Eight-year-old Zara Chaplin has been nominated in our Young Person category while 68-year-old Jake Chalmers has been put forward for the Community Award.
Downfield Primary pupil Zara recently featured in the Tele after deciding to cycle 149 miles to ensure folk in Dundee had a meal on Christmas Day.
Zara, who is a keen footballer with Dundee United’s girls’ academy, is undertaking the cycle to raise money for Dundee United Community Trust’s festive friends, which provides gifts and a tasty meal to those who would otherwise spend Christmas alone. In just four days she covered more than 26 miles and raised more than £500.
Mum Rachel Jackson said Zara couldn’t believe the news after finding out she had been nominated.
“When Zara heard she had been put forward for the awards you could just see her face light up, she was so happy and so thankful,” said Rachel.
“Zara has been involved with fundraising since she was tiny. She was part of Water Babies which does a lot of fundraising and from then she has done lots of things for a number of different charities and good causes around Dundee.
“She always wants to help people and when she found out about the community trust’s festive friends, she immediately wanted to get involved.
“Every £20 raised contributes towards a meal and a gift for each person on Christmas Day.
“She is not looking at the total amount raised, she is looking at how many people she will be able to help.
“When she got to £100, she thought ‘that is five people who are now not going to be alone on Christmas Day’.
“She does so much and wants to help so many people and doesn’t want thanks for it so it is incredible she has been nominated.”
Jake is another kind-hearted local who has been doing his bit to make people smile and ensure they don’t go without on his street in Coldside.
The retired stores and transport operator at Ninewells Hospital had spent the past 10 years caring for his wife Margaret before she died in October.
Now he is passing his caring attitude on to his neighbours by making soup, organising barbecues and ensuring they all have what they need during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Neighbour Gillian McNally, who nominated Jake, said: “There are several things that made me think about Jake for the award. Firstly, he’s gone out of his way to provide his neighbours – myself included – and friends with food, toiletries or books and games he has no further use for.
“He has been making use of surplus vegetables by making huge pots of homemade soup, including a vegetarian option to distribute to those who want it and he also held a social distanced barbecue for us all in June doing most of the preparations and cooking, along with his good friend Billy.
“Every single one of us is so grateful for what Jake does. Since he lost his wife his world has been upside down so I thought he deserved a little recognition for how he has rallied and kept his good humour and humanity.
“Jake is a very proud, humble man but I think this award would raise his spirits no end like he has for us.”
Jake was also surprised to hear about his nomination. He said: “It really put a smile on my face when I heard my neighbours had nominated me for the award.
“I just wanted to make sure everyone was happy and had what they needed, especially as there are a lot of people like me on their own in the street.”
“I didn’t expect to be put forward but it was very nice of them and I am really pleased.”
Evening Telegraph editor Dave Lord, who is a member of the judging panel, said: “It is fantastic to see the nominations pouring in for our Dundee’s Champion Awards.
“So many people go that extra mile to help out in their community – from charity efforts and sporting endeavours to simply getting the shopping in for an elderly or infirm neighbour.
“The global pandemic has, of course, touched every area of life and it goes without saying it is an experience none of us would ever want to repeat.
“However, if there has been any kind of silver lining to what has been a very dark cloud, it has surely been the way in which communities have pulled together – whether it be to entertain, inform or assist.
“There are hundreds of unsung heroes right across this wonderful city of ours and these awards represent a great way to recognise some of them. Get nominating now!”
If you know of a business which has gone above and beyond during these unprecedented times, or perhaps key workers who have shown the importance of team working and have been by each other’s sides throughout the pandemic, then nominate them now.
The award ceremony, sponsored by Ninja Kiwi, is being held virtually on Friday September 25 and will be hosted by Tele columnist and Homes Under The Hammer presenter Martel Maxwell.
One local business supporting the event is affordable housing association, Hillcrest Homes, which is sponsoring the charity category.
With more than 50 years of experience, Hillcrest Homes is one of Scotland’s largest housing associations, and is known for its tenant care and support, housing and service quality and effective management of more than 7,000 properties for social rent across the east of Scotland.
Hillcrest chief executive Angela Linton said: “As a Dundee-based company we know how well the people in this area rise to a challenge.
“During this crisis we have witnessed first-hand so many examples of people going above and beyond and showing innovation and determination to reduce the impact on those most vulnerable.
“We’re delighted to be sponsoring the Charity Champion Award and showing our support to something that will truly showcase the heroes in our area and give recognition where it is due.”
Making a nomination is easy – all you have to do is visit www.dundeeschampionawards.co.uk and click ENTER NOW.
- Closing date for entries is Monday August 3
Community award: Through a lifetime of thoughtfulness or by an act of courage or kindness, this individual or group exemplifies the essence of community spirit. From a neighbour to a whole street, the winner of the Community award will be selfless in their actions and care for others around them. The winner will be someone who has gone out of their way to make a difference and help those who live within their community/Dundee.
Entertainment award: In difficult times this individual or group have embraced their creative sides and provided a form of light-hearted entertainment to lift the spirits of others. This award will be presented to anyone who has done anything from dancing in the street to hosting virtual events such as pub quizzes or musical shows.
Business award: Despite it being a testing time for businesses especially, this firm will be one which has gone above and beyond to help vulnerable people or communities. Undeterred by the current climate, the winning business has put itself out there to maintain contact with its customers – new and regular – and continue to tirelessly serve them or provide a service.
Young person award: This award is open to individuals under the age of 20 who have shown wisdom beyond their years, selflessly taking it upon themselves to spread positivity and help others within their community. Undeterred by their young years, they have bravely tried to make a difference in a troubling time.
Sport award: Recognising that both mental and physical health is important, especially when times are tough, the winner of this category could be an individual or well-known business. Despite people being confined to their homes, the winning candidate will have continued to provide a service – from virtual fitness classes to online exercise guides. The judges also want to hear from sporting firms or individuals who may have launched their own campaigns or started a new initiative, keeping Dundee engaged with its activities.
Keyworker award (individual): The judges will present this award to an individual key worker who has tirelessly worked to help others, going beyond what is expected of them within their role. The key worker could be a passionate teacher who has used innovative ideas to deliver youngsters an education, a caring health worker who always puts others before themselves and always maintains a positive outlook, or a hard-working police officer on the beat who is determined to keep our communities safe. an extraordinary person, the winner of this award will inspire others.
Keyworker award (team): Being able to work together in times of need is essential. This group of key workers know all too well that working together side-byside, day-to-day is key to achieving the best results. From a ward of passionate nurses to a team of dedicated doctors, considerate care home colleagues, to a police duo who work hard to keep us safe – the judges want to hear from the ultimate Dundee dream teams.
Charity award: This category will honour those incredible and selfless individuals who have dedicated themselves to helping Dundee charities. The judges are looking for those who have worked well as a team to raise funds or someone who has taken on a lone challenge – the award will not be based on total funds raised but on the creativity and effort that has gone into the fundraising campaign.