Crewe Road South’s Fet-lor Youth Club and Serenity Cafe from Dumbiedykes will feature on STV’s Real Heroes this Friday
STV’s brand new series of RBS – Finding Scotland’s Real Heroes kicked off again on Friday. Presented by Carol Smillie and sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland, the STV series celebrates people whose tireless effort, resourcefulness, and kindness has improved local communities across Scotland.
The nominees were selected by a special jury and will feature in a series of programmes every Friday evening. Across the five episodes, ‘star reporters’ visit each of the nominees to interview them about their work in the community and their thoughts on the nomination for a Real Hero award.
The star reporters this year include The X Factor runner-up Nicholas McDonald, actress Clare Grogan, Taggart star Alex Norton and actor Bill Paterson.
The year’s shortlist includes deserving Scots from Wick to West Lothian, and Skye to South Lanarkshire, recognising the amazing work local people are undertaking in their communities across the country. The categories include Carer of the Year, Young Real Hero of the Year, and a new award for Hero Animal of the Year.
At the end of each programme viewers are invited to vote for the nominees they believe most deserve to win a Scotland’s Real Heroes Award, with the overall winners being celebrated at a glittering televised awards ceremony later in the year.
Elizabeth Partyka, deputy director of channels at STV, said: “The time has come to highlight the outstanding work modestly carried out by the finalists of the series RBS – Finding Scotland’s Real Heroes. We look forward to celebrating the enormous achievement of all of the nominees. Each story tells of a remarkable accomplishment and is very moving – all the finalists are considered to be most deserving however it is the STV viewers that decide who will pick up an award.”
Chris Wilson, Royal Bank of Scotland’s Managing Director of Branch and Private Banking in Scotland, said: “Everyone at Royal Bank of Scotland is looking forward to finding out more about this year’s incredible finalists. We think it’s important to celebrate those people who go that extra mile for their community. Each one of the finalists is deserving of recognition and we are all looking forward to seeing who the public choose.”
RBS FINDING SCOTLAND’S REAL HEROES 2014
CARER OF THE YEAR
Nell Graham (Portobello Monday Centre) Portobello, Edinburgh
Clare Grogan visits Nell who runs the Portobello Monday Centre, for people who have dementia. The club offers a break for their carers whilst also providing fun filled activities and a homemade lunch for the members.
Maw’s Mafia (The EK Hangout) East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire
Carol Smillie meets this group of four mums who set up The EK Hangout, a club for young adults with learning disabilities, which allows them to set up strong friendships with people their own age and have some fun. All the ‘Maws’ have sons who attend the club and they care for at home.
Anne Swartz (Scottish Kinship Care Alliance) Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire
Ron Donachie visits Anne who is a full time kinship carer for her three grandchildren and is the chairperson of the Scottish Kinship Care Alliance. Anne works tirelessly to improve the provision for children in Kinship care.
COMMUNITY ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR
Jim McConkey Govan, Glasgow
Sanjeev Kohli meets Jim who invents safety gadgets in his garden shed for the pensioners in his community.
Vicki McCarthy (REACH for Autism) Greenock, Inverclyde
Paul Brannigan meets Vicki – the mother of an autistic daughter who set up specialist centre and social enterprise cafe for autistic people and their families.
Ross Cowie (Lucky2BHere) Portree, Isle of Skye
Jayd Johnson travels to Skye to meet Ross Cowie who set up ‘Lucky2BHere’ which provides training and defibrillators to public places across Skye and now Scotland. Ross set up the enterprise after he suffered a cardiac arrest in 2007.
RBS – COMMUNITY PROJECT OF THE YEAR
Fet-Lor Pilton, Edinburgh
Paul Brannigan visits the oldest youth club in Scotland (pictured top), which provides constructive after school activities in a safe environment to young people in an under-privileged area of Edinburgh. The group also puts members through the Duke of Edinburgh Award so they have something positive to put on their CVs when leaving school.
The Driving Force Bonnybridge, Falkirk
Alex Norton spends the day with the volunteers of ‘The Driving Force’ who provide free hospital transport to cancer patients and people with other long-term illnesses. This service gives people with cancer the opportunity to regain a sense of purpose by hiring them as volunteer drivers.
The Serenity Cafe Holyrood, Edinburgh
Carol Smillie visits this special cafe (pictured below) which is run by people in recovery from addiction. It is used by people in recovery and open to public customers too. This safe-haven also provides volunteer opportunities for those in recovery. The cafe is a focal point for various activity groups such as a running club, guitar group and sewing group.
SPORTING VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Elaine McKenna (Special Olympics Lothian) Blackburn, West Lothian
Des Clarke meets Elaine who coaches a multi sport group and football team for people with learning disabilities. From carpet bowls, to new age kurling and boccia – some of her students have gone on to represent team GB at the Special Olympics.
Pat Bannan (Bannan Fitness Club) Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire
Stephen Purdon meets Pat – a 66 year old who is passionate about keeping everyone in his community fit and healthy. From tots to pensioners, everyone is welcome at the Bannan Fitness Club.
Andrew Campbell (Camran Taekwondo) Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire
Jayd Johnson meets this taekwondo instructor who provides low cost and sometimes free lessons for kids in his area, teaching them the ethos of this popular martial art. Andrew has even coached a few medal winners over the years!
HERO ANIMAL OF THE YEAR
Barra the dog (K9 Search and Recovery Scotland) Luss, Argyll & Bute
Alex Norton meets Barra the dog – a trained search and recovery dog whose specialist skill is submerged victim recovery. Barra is trained to find the scent of missing people underwater and has helped bring closure to many families across Scotland.
Sid the horse (Aberdeen RDA) Milltimber, Aberdeen
STV’s Andrea Brymer visits Sid the Horse – a much loved member of the team at ‘Riding for the Disabled Aberdeen’. Sid’s great temperament means he is the ideal horse for the riders who all have learning and physical disabilities.
Ben the dog (Therapet) Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire
Ron Donachie meets Ben, a ‘therapet’ who regularly visits the acute stroke ward at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where patients can sit with him, pet him and talk to him. Offering comfort in stressful times, Ben is loved by the patients and the ward staff.
COMMUNITY CHAMPION OF THE YEAR
Bathgate Street Pastors Bathgate, West Lothian
Jennifer Reoch spends a busy Saturday night with this group who help keep the people of Bathgate safe on nights out. Their Saturday night involves handing out flip-flops to girls struggling in heels, providing a listening service to those who’ve had a bit too much to drink, handing out alarms to young women as well as keeping them safe in taxis. This is all voluntarily.
Jackie McIntosh(MS Therapy Centre) Inverness, Highlands
Kelly Cates meets this wonder woman who single-handedly raises £140,000 a year to keep the MS Therapy Centre running. It’s down to Jackie that this vital service is kept running and was saved from closure.
Margaret Gibb (West of Scotland Play Scheme) Bellshill, South Lanarkshire
Clare Grogan meets Margaret who has given over 30 years of her life to the young people of Bellshill with her playgroups and play-schemes. This group have been used as a model for the 300 plus play-schemes now running across the west of Scotland.
HERO NEIGHBOUR OF THE YEAR
Ann Graham Riverside, Stirling
Anita Manning meets this hero neighbour who not only organises local flood defences, neighbourhood clean-ups and a beautiful orchard, she also delivers handmade cakes and Sunday lunches to her doting neighbours.
Mo and Roxy Razzaq Blantyre, South Lanarkshire
Carol Smillie visits the owners of the neighbourhood shop who provide deliveries to the elderly and disabled, a ‘losers lotto’ to regular customers. Mo and Roxy run the local football team, give milk and groceries to the primary school, as well as giving two pence charge for carrier bags to local charities.
Margaret (Garry) Robertson Wick, Caithness
Kelly Cates visits ‘Garry’ who lives in sheltered housing. Garry arranges activities and days out for others in the home whilst volunteering at the local scouts, running a chess class at the primary school and helping as treasurer at a bell ringing group. On top of all this Garry assists the local archives, and mentors people with mental health issues.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECT OF THE YEAR
Saltburn Woodland Walk Invergordon, Highlands
Ron Donachie visits Bob and Sandy. They are a pair of retired friends who have dedicated years to regenerating an area of Invergordon. What was formally an aluminium smelter has been transformed into a lovely woodland walk. All the work was carried out with their bare hands and a small tractor.
Yooz Reuse & Recycling Bellshill, North Lanarkshire
John Amabile visits this social enterprise which provides products from recycled building materials for people to buy at a reduced rate. All profits go to the Scottish sporting centre of excellence for disabled people.
Killie Can Cycle Kilmarnock, East Ayshire
Bill Paterson meets the children’s charity that recycles aluminium cans for money. This allows them to buy parts for fixing up bikes that in turn are sold back to the local community at a very low cost.
SCOTLAND’S YOUNG REAL HERO OF THE YEAR
Danii McArthur (Young Carer) Barrhead, Glasgow
Sharon Rooney meets Danii (18) who cares for her ill mother and two younger sisters whilst also having diabetes herself. On top of this she highlights the plight of young carers by giving talks and putting on workshops. Danii is also working towards her dream of becoming a primary teacher by volunteering at her old school.
Mitchell Kinnen (Bright Lights Theatre Group) Blantyre, South Lanarkshire
Jayd Johnson meets trainee primary teacher Mitchell (18) who set up and runs the theatre group for people of all ages in his area, only charging £1 for the class. Anyone of any age is welcome at Bright Lights no matter what their level of ability.
The Volunteers of the Glasgow 77th (Disabled) Scout Group Glasgow
Stephen Purdon meets the volunteers at this very special Scout Group for boys aged 8-25 with physical disabilities and life limiting conditions. All the volunteers are in their teens or early twenties and pair up one-on-one with a member of the group.
SCOTLAND’S REAL HEROES COURAGE AWARD
Dean Reilly (Dean Reilly vs MS) Portobello, Edinburgh
Mark Beaumont meets Dean who has multiple sclerosis, but won’t let it limit his life. He fundraises for the MS Therapy Centre in Leith through a range of tough challenges. Dean is currently in training for a boxing match with ‘The Celtic Warrior.’
Amanda MacTaggart (Wig Bank Glasgow) Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire
Jennifer Reoch visits Amanda who has overcome breast cancer and set up the ‘Wig Bank’ in Clydebank to provide a relaxed and comfortable service for female chemotherapy patients who have lost their hair.
Jenny Cook (Wee Jenny Cook) East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire
Nicholas McDonald surprises Jenny with a visit to her car boot fundraiser. Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at four years old, she has since raised over £30,000 for Yorkhill Children’s Charity and the Catherine McEwan foundation. Jenny is also a Yorkhill buddy, providing support for other sick children.