THEY are the inspirational community champions, fundraisers and carers who work tirelessly behind the scenes, often without the recognition they deserve.
Many have shown exceptional courage, battled through adversity or gone above and beyond in the line of duty.
The Local Hero Awards aim to honour the talented and the brave, the compassionate and the determined. The people who make Edinburgh and Lothians what it is today.”Frank O’Donnell
Others have made a profound difference by fighting for their community or have made great personal sacrifices to care for a friend or family member.
But all of these unsung heroes – young and old – have shown that ordinary people do extraordinary things and have inspired their community in some way.
With the launch of the Local Hero Awards 2015, the Evening News is determined to show them that their bravery and hard work has not gone unnoticed.
“We are so proud to be sponsoring the Local Hero Awards and we look forward to getting the chance to really celebrate the unsung heroes in our area,” said Kai Hepworth, regional operations manager of award sponsor Costa.
“There are some really inspirational people in our community who go above and beyond, dedicating their own time and efforts to benefit the communities in which they live and these awards will be all about honouring them.”
The glitzy awards ceremony will be held on Friday, June 5 in the Assembly Rooms in George Street when around 300 people will gather to honour the winners.
In attendance will be panel of judges including Frank O’Donnell, managing editor of The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday. He said: “There are numerous reasons why we should all be proud to live in and around Edinburgh.
“But the most important one of all is the incredible people who live and work here and who make it one of the greatest cities on the planet.
“The Local Hero Awards aim to honour the talented and the brave, the compassionate and the determined. The people who make Edinburgh and Lothians what it is today.
“These awards will shine a light on these stories and honour that courage.
“These unsung individuals are our true heroes and should be an inspiration to us all.”
There will also be representation from supporting organisations Costa, Central Taxis, Edinburgh City Council, Edinburgh Airport and Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation.
Winners will be announced over 14 categories, culminating in the highest honour of all – the Local Hero Award.
But now it is up to you, the people who have seen their work first hand, to share their unique stories and tell us why they deserve to win.
Perhaps it was a hero who has risked his or her life to help save yours, or a friend who has helped you through a low point.
The nominee could be a person who has realised their dreams with jaw-dropping determination or someone who has inspired you to achieve your own goals.
One of the categories is the Bravery Award which celebrates those who have battled through an illness or a traumatic experience, or carried out an exceptional act of bravery.
Or perhaps you would like to nominate someone in the Community Champion category. This award not only recognises people who have made a difference within their community but also those who have led by example, inspiring others to do the same.
Also waiting for nominations is Inspirational Young Adult, which recognises an individual who has shown amazing drive and determination for a cause, charity or belief.
Perhaps they have made a bold stand against racism or bullying or have thrown all their energies into their beliefs. They may have acted selflessly or shown great courage.
Share their stories and we will give them a platform where their achievements can be celebrated.
We are also looking to hear tales for our 999 Hero, Teacher of the Year, Carer of the Year, Sporting Achievement, Contribution to Local Sport, Fundraiser or Volunteer of the Year, Neighbour of the Year, School of the Year and Child of Achievement.
The ultimate prize will be the Local Hero Award, the winner selected either from entries received via nomination for this category or from another category.
Popular winners last year included Child of Achievement Amy MacBeath, who has cerebral palsy but took on a series of runs to raise funds for the Sick Kids and Thornton Rose Riding for the Disabled Association.
Kickboxer Samera Ashraf, who works with vulnerable women teaching self-defence, won in the Sporting Achievement category.
The top prize was claimed by Sheila and Freddie Buchanan, of Gilmerton Road, who have been foster parents for almost 30 years.
To recognise a member of the emergency services who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Sponsored by BT
For someone who has shown exceptional courage in their life. They may have overcome great odds or made sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty. The nominee may have shown courage in dealing with an illness or battling through a traumatic experience. Judges would like to see strong evidence of this individual showing great character and fortitude in their life. Sponsored by Peoples Ford
An individual who may have supported an individual and/or a family, or who has made a significant contribution to the community. The award not only recognises, encourages and rewards people who make a difference within their community but inspires others to do the same. The award will be made to an individual whose time, effort, support and aspirations have made a significant contribution within their community for the benefit of those who live there.
TEACHER OF THE YEAR
To recognise a truly inspiring teacher in primary, secondary, further or higher education. Someone who has made a significant difference to the learning experience of a student or a class.
Someone who has improved people’s health and/or made an impact on the quality of life of an individual. They may work in the NHS or healthcare industry, providing a service above and beyond the call of duty, taking personal responsibility for a person’s wellbeing. They may be a champion for health and wellbeing issues, healthy lifestyles and exercise in the community. Sponsored by Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation
CARER OF THE YEAR
This person may be someone who has cared for a friend or family member or who has made personal sacrifices in order to tend to the needs of others. Sponsored by Social Care Alba
This award recognises individuals who have proved outstanding achievement in a specific sporting field. Not only does it recognise sporting skill but also recognises drive, ambition, and determination even through the face of adversity The award will be made to an individual who demonstrates exceptional sporting talent and determination. The judges will assess the background history of the person, and the achievement he/she has made within sport and where applicable to personal challenges.
CONTRIBUTION TO LOCAL SPORT
This special award recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution and shown dedication to local sport and physical activity, over a number of years. A real unsung hero, who has gone above and beyond the call of duty.
FUNDRAISER OR VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
This award recognises individuals who, by their hard work and dedication, have made a difference to a charity or cause. The judges are looking for individuals who have demonstrated continued commitment to a charity or individual through fundraising support and successfully co-ordinated fundraising events, giving their own time and effort to help out a good cause. Sponsored by the Scottish Blood Transfusion service
NEIGHBOUR OF THE YEAR
This award recognises an individual who has gone the extra mile to be a good neighbour. The award is for someone who gives their time to someone who needs company, support and acts selflessly towards making a neighbour’s life more pleasant. Sponsored by
McCarthy & Stone
INSPIRATIONAL YOUNG ADULT
This award recognises, encourages and rewards an individual who has shown exceptional drive and determination for a cause, belief or individual in the face of adversity. This may be someone who has stood up for a worthwhile cause such as racism, bullying or community cause. They could have acted selflessly and shown great bravery in a situation. Sponsored by the Omni Centre
SCHOOL OF THE YEAR
This award recognises a school either primary or secondary which has achieved outstanding success in the education system. The judges are looking for a school which has achieved results that many thought previously unachievable. A school which has surpassed all expectations through hard work and determination, which may have battled through adversity to achieve great results. Sponsored by Harper Collins
CHILD OF ACHIEVEMENT
We are looking for a child who has demonstrated exceptional achievement in their life. They may have overcome great odds or made sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty. The nominee may have excelled academically, achieved great sporting success, raised money for a good cause, or been a great support to someone with an illness or battling through a traumatic experience. Sponsored by the Scottish Government – playtalkread
THE LOCAL HERO AWARD
This award is the highlight of the night and will be awarded to an individual who the judging panel considers Edinburgh’s Local Hero. Judges will select the winner either from entries received via nomination for this category or from another category who judges believe stand out above all other nominations. The Local Hero Award will look to reward someone who has done something truly remarkable. Sponsored by Costa Coffee
How To Nominate
THE Local Hero Awards are open to anyone who lives in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Winners will be announced on Friday June 5 at the Assembly Rooms.
The easiest way to nominate someone is to visit www.localheroaward.co.uk.
This dedicated website will allow you to choose which category you wish to enter, as well as allowing you to tell us all about your nominee.
If you would prefer to enter by post, please send your entry to Edinburgh Evening News, The Local Hero Awards, Orchard Brae House, 30 Queensferry Road, Edinburgh EH4 2HS.
Entry forms are available in today’s paper on page 20. Entries must include your name, address and telephone number. Please make it clear which category you wish to enter your nominee for and explain why you think they deserve to win the award.
The closing date for nominations is Tuesday, May 5.