2017 Community Champions make huge impact!

On Saturday the 4th November, communities from in and around Loch Lomond and the Trossachs park area gathered together to celebrate the achievements of the real stars and community groups who have made a huge impact and contributed greatly to the development and enhancement of their communities.

The Community Champion awards were part of this years Gathering programme  ‘Heritage; sharing experience, creating legacy’;  a daytime community event designed to inspire and develop collaborations around heritage across the park area. 2017 was also remembered as a special year to mark the 250th anniversary of the translation of the bible into Gaelic.

Volunteer of the Year 2017!

This category is in recognition of a community member who has gone above and beyond to demonstrate their on-going and sustained commitment to supporting community life in their area:

Winner:  Marina Brennan

Drymen Community Council told us why they thought Marina should win this award!

“Marina has lived in Drymen since she was a child. Over her many years here she has taken a conscientious interest in village affairs and when the Village in Bloom committee was formed many years ago Marina was ready to get to work. Her main hobby is gardening.

Marina is expert in her ability to plan and display the many tubs and containers in and around the village she has a team helping her at the busiest times, she sources different bodies and grant giving departments

She is a very community spirited person and loves village life she also has a very friendly and welcoming disposition. The community has benefited enormously from the time and efforts that Marina gives freely to making our village a very attractive and pleasant environment not only for our residents but also for the many hundreds of tourist visiting our area”

Top photo: Highly Commended James Kennedy (left) (representing Strathard), Marina Brennan (right).

Left photo: Highly Commended James Kennedy and Louis Stott (Strathard),

Highly Commended: Moira Tester who was unable to be there on the day (representing ‘Shore Sweepers’ Benmore & Kilmun)

Rising Champion of the year!

This award recognises a community member who is relatively new to voluntary work in their community and has demonstrated their potential for their skills to grow.

Winner: Louise Corrieri

The Callander Resilience Group, a sub-group of Callander Community Development Trust nominating Louise told us why she deserved this award.

“Louise was responsible for initiating and organising significant and urgent fund-raising activities which met with amazing success in Callander, in response to 2 major fires in Callander and Kingshouse, Balquhidder in May last year. Using social media to amazing effect, Louise started fund-raising appeal/activities to help people in hardship or homelessness resulting from these two serious fires.

She organised fund-raising buckets, tombola, jumble sale for items remaining, followed by collection of unwanted clothes in exchange for payment or collection by other charities. Local businesses donated high value gifts, which were auctioned raising more funds via a Just Giving page. From these activities, Louise raised over £12.5k providing food, clothing, replacement furniture and household goods for fire victims. These act of kindness and generosity has had a big impact on Callander Resilience Group, who widened their scope to include fire in their emergency plans.

Without Louise’s amazing efforts these people would not be in the position they are today!”.

Louise was unable to accept the award on the day so Marilyn Moore, Callander Community Development Trust accepted it on her behalf. Congratulations Louise!

Community Organisation of the year!

This award is open to all community interest groups who have shown innovation, commitment and a positive approach to improving life for those who live in, work in or who visit their community.

Winner: Strathard Community Trust and Strathard Heritage Network.

This years winning nomination comes from Strathard Initiative partners SEPA and Forest Enterprise Scotland who have been working closely with the Strathard Community Trust and the newly formed Strathard Heritage Network.  At the helm of the Trust has been Katinka Dalglish,  and James Kennedy for the heritage network which have helped to reinvigorate community action and drive forward priorities in the new Strathard Community Action Plan.

The Strathard Heritage Network is leading on a project call ‘Robert Kirk revisited’ and are keen to make a link with other groups. To find out more about the Trust and Network and all their latest projects visit http://www.strathardct.org.uk/

(Photo: left to right: Highly Commended Award Duncan MacLachlan (Arrochar Hydro Scheme), Highly Commended Award Eileen Connel on behalf of Pat Lynn (The Hub, Benmore & Kilmun), James Kennedy and Katinka Dalglish (Strathard Community Trust and Strathard Heritage Network)

Young Volunteer of the year:

This award is in recognition of a young person who has demonstrated a commitment to supporting their community and is open to anyone under the age of 25.

Winner: Jonathan Rainey, West Dunbartonshire

“Jonathan is on an environmental mission to raise public awareness through social media and local action, for society to take responsibility for their litter and waste materials. Jonathan’s campaign includes picking litter from Overtoun Estate Woods, the beach beside Levengrove Park and he is currently assisting the council part-time in Fisher Woods, Balloch. He posts the results from his litter picks using hashtags #CleanUpOvertounWoods #CleanUpLevengrovePark #Litterati and more recently #CleanUpBalloch highlighting just how much public waste and litter is discarded.

Jonathan who has high-functioning autism has come on leaps and bounds through his passion to clean up our environment, and runs a blog called ‘The Young (Autistic) Litter Picker” and posts regular videos on YouTube.

Jonathan you are an inspiration to all generations to take responsibility for their litter, keep up the fantastic work!”

Inspirational speakers & workshops, great networking and fabulous food!

As well as this year’s fabulous awards, we were extremely delighted to be joined by key speaker Professor Donald Meek  and live music from Scottish Gaelic singer Linda Macleod who have both been involved in a new Community Partnership collaborative park wide project ‘Celebration of the Role of the National Park in the Gaelic Bible’ funded by Bord Na Gaidhlig. Delegates had a chance to see the film that has been developed to accompany the project which will be available for the public to view online soon.

Here are a few photos from our event!

  • Dinah McDonald (CP), Prof Donald Meek, Linda Macleod and Gordon Watson (CE, NPA)