Time to recognise the unsung heroes
You don't have to look far for bad news in Northern Ireland or elsewhere.
The economy is in recession, and things may get worse before they improve. Dissident republicans continue to wage terror in the face of all reason. Hardly a day goes past without the inefficiency of another public body being exposed. But, in reality, much of life in the province is positive, and that is what our Making The Difference awards, which we are launching today, are designed to celebrate.
This newspaper believes that it should not just be a chronicle of events and news stories. Of course, it has an important role in exposing the charlatans, holding those in positions of power to account, suggesting ways of improving our public services, and providing the readers with the necessary information to enable them to make value judgments on a whole range of issues. But we can make a difference in other ways. We can carry the stories of inspirational individuals and altruistic groups who make life so much better for everyone.
The Making The Difference awards will be a showcase for the individuals or communities that have risen above the normal achievements of endeavour. They will champion examples of outstanding cross-community work, for example, or the person who has devoted long, unpaid hours to help others. It could be someone who delivers high-quality service, or it could be a business which puts something back into the community.
Look around you and consider if there is someone in your area who meets those broad criteria. Tell us how they make a difference, either to individuals or to their locality. This is your opportunity to tell the wider Northern Ireland community of exceptional work being done in your area. Those champions deserve to be recognised - and now they will be.