The winners of the first Belfast Telegraph Making the Difference Awards, in association with Spar, will be announced on March 9, 2011.
Hundreds of nominations from across Northern Ireland were submitted to 11 categories to find the individuals, projects and businesses that make a positive impact to the daily lives of people. The successful shortlist of inspirational nominees will be invited to be part of the audience at a glittering gala event in the Grand Opera House, Belfast, where the winners will be revealed.
Best Service with a Smile Sponsor firmus energy
Neil Holland, Head of Sales & Marketing firmus energy, said:
"At firmus, we are committed to delivering lower cost natural gas prices coupled with excellent customer service.
"Our customers tell us that what we do really makes a difference to them in making natural gas purchasing easy and affordable.
"We are delighted to be involved in the Making the Difference Awards, which celebrates individuals, projects and businesses that make a positive impact to the daily lives of people across the province.
"Supporting the local communities in which firmus energy operates is at the heart of our business.
"Over the last three years we have been delighted to support over 400 local community groups across Northern Ireland.
"Businesses play a key role in helping improve the communities in which they work, for the benefit of all.
"Delivering exceptional customer service is really important to firmus energy.
"We invest in our staff providing them with training to allow them to deliver the type of service our customers expect.
"We are delighted to sponsor the 'Service with a Smile' category which recognises those individuals who are recognised as 'going the extra mile for customers'."
Best Street: We want to find the street where there is an amazing sense of community pride, shown through activities which involve everyone in the area.
Best School: A school that has an ‘outreach’ project where pupils go into the community, raise money for local causes or have gone ‘green’ within the school.
Best Volunteer: Someone who has worked tirelessly in the voluntary sector for many years.
Best Neighbour: A person considered to be the ‘heart’ of the street. They look after their neighbours and are always there to help.
Best Enterprise: This business has helped improve the environment or ‘given back’ to the community through school programmes.
Best Art/Sport/Community Project: We are looking for a person who helps give groups fresh purpose.
Spirit of Youth: This is for a bright spark who has demonstrated great achievements at a young age. They have achieved academic, sporting or artistic heights.
Service with a Smile: This is the person who gives everything they have to their job and the people they help.
999 Hero: Someone who, through an act of bravery, has saved a life. They can be a member of the public or emergency services personnel.
Best Garden: This ‘oasis’ doesn't need to be set in acres. It could be the little urban garden that brightens up dull streets or a small back garden.
Carer in the Community:This person has dedicated time to looking after someone in their home.
Making The Difference Award: The overall honour awarded to an outstanding individual, organisation or project that has made a huge contribution to the community.