Belfast Telegraph

Making the difference 2012: How to enter

Time to recognise those who go above and beyond the call of duty

By Victoria O’Hara

The Belfast Telegraph is looking for the heroes who make a real difference

Inspirational people and projects are being praised for their efforts in improving the lives of others across Northern Ireland. Since their launch in October, the Belfast Telegraph Making the Difference Awards — supported by Tesco — have received hundreds of amazing nominations for your unsung heroes.

Now we want to receive yet more nominations for volunteers, carers and even streets that are making a positive impact on daily lives and deserve to be recognised.

Readers have until February 15, 2012 to put forward the name of the person, group or business in one of 11 categories — from Spirit of Youth to Best School.

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

All finalists will be invited to a glittering gala night in the Grand Opera House on March 23 2012, when the overall winners will be announced.

Among those in contention is Holy Cross Boys’ Primary School in north Belfast for the Best School category.

For one parent, the teachers make it the “best school in the country”. Stephen Hughes, whose six-year-old son Conal is a pupil, said: “It is a school set in a community that has suffered greatly during the conflict bringing with it many of the legacy issues, violence, poverty, social and economic deprivation and neglect — teaching becomes a challenge that few understand or accept.

“This truly is a great school and the staff are a credit to the board and the community.”

Pensioner Betty Campbell (72) from Templepatrick has been nominated for Best Volunteer.

This “amazing” woman has raised more than £550,000 for countless cancer charities.

In the 999 Hero category two firemen, Hugh Magill and Rick Allen were praised by a couple for their “quick thinking” that they say saved their lives.

The inaugural awards held last year revealed 11 deserving winners.

Mike Gilson, editor of the Belfast Telegraph, described last year’s entries as “truly inspirational”.

He said for the second Making the Difference Awards the newspaper wanted to uncover even more unsung heroes.

“We were absolutely overwhelmed by the stories that we uncovered in the first year of the Making the Difference Awards.

“We hope friends and colleagues will get nominating straight away.”

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

Nominations can be made by anyone who knows a person or project worthy of an award.

You can enter two ways:

1. Write a nomination in no more than 200 words clearly stating the category and contact details of nominator and nominee and send to Making The Difference Awards, Belfast Telegraph 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast, BT1 1EB.

2. Send an email to:

The 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.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph