Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Last chance to vote for a star

Which unsung hero is your choice to win?

NI ClownDoctors, who visit over 4,000 children in hospices and hospitals each year, have been nominated for a Belfast Telegraph Making The Difference award

Today marks the final call for entries for the 2012 Belfast Telegraph Making The Difference Awards, supported by Tesco.

Readers have until 5pm today to shine the spotlight on Northern Ireland’s unsung heroes.

We launched the search last October to find volunteers, carers and even streets that are making a positive impact on daily lives that deserve to be recognised.

The awards have attracted a huge response from across the province with amazing and humbling nominations submitted.

But there are still a few hours left to nominate more inspirational people and put forward the name of a special person, group or business in one of 11 categories, from Spirit of Youth to Best Carer.

In around 300 words, just explain why they make a difference.

After the nominations have been received, three finalists will be chosen from each category and a winner selected by our judges.

Among those in the running for Best School is St Columbanus’ College in Bangor.

Pupils have spearheaded countless fundraising events, created hampers for the elderly and also launched family appeals.

And the “grit and determination” shown by the residents of Henry Street when they opposed plans for a phone mast to be placed near their homes has led to a nomination for Best Street category, sponsored by Airtricity.

Among the many nominations submitted for the Best Art/Sport/Community project is the NI ClownDoctors who visit over 4,000 children in hospitals and hospices each year.

Set up by Arts Care, the NI ClownDoctors team works in partnership with the clinical staff to brighten the lives of children battling illness.

All finalists will be invited to a gala night in the Grand Opera House on March 23, when the overall winners will be announced. UTV’s Alison Fleming and Marc Mallet are the hosts.

The inaugural awards last year discovered 11 humbling winners.

Belfast Telegraph editor Mike Gilson said: “There are some truly inspirational people out there who make a real difference to others. Today is your final chance to nominate and say well done.”

Caoimhe Mannion, marketing manager for Tesco, said: “Tesco is delighted to be able to support this celebration of unsung heroes.”

How to enter: nominations must be received by 5pm. Send an email to: makingthedifference@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Categories

Best School: A school that has many ‘outreach’ projects which could include pupils going into the community to spruce up gardens or going ‘green’ within the school. Or a school that makes a difference.

Best Street: We want to find the street where there is an amazing sense of community pride that is shown through activities such as clean-ups or street parties.

Best Volunteer: Someone who has worked tirelessly for a charity or in the voluntary sector for many years.

Best Neighbour: A person who is the ‘heart’ of the street. They look after other neighbours, either by running errands, giving lifts or just being there to listen.

Best Enterprise: This business takes charity fundraising seriously. It has either done something for the environment or given back to the community through school programmes.

Best Art/Sport/Community Project: We are looking for the artist who runs classes for underprivileged children or the elderly, or the sports coach who teaches football to young people.

Spirit of Youth: This is for a young person who has demonstrated great achievements.

Service with a Smile: This is the ambulance driver, shop owner, home help, or meals on wheels worker who gives their all to their job.

999 Hero: Someone who, through an amazing act of bravery, has saved a life.

Best Garden: This ‘oasis’ does not need to be acres of landscaped beauty. It could be the urban garden that brightens up dull streets.

Carer in the Community: We want to find a person, young or old, who has dedicated their time to caring for someone in their home.

Making The Difference Award: The overall honour for the outstanding individual, organisation or project that has made a huge contribution to the community.