Nominations open for awards to honour the city's local unsung heroes

From frontline medics and care workers to neighbours and teachers, the city of Edinburgh has rallied round to help each other out during their times of need.
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Armies of people kept transport, shops, hospitals, classrooms and essential services going during the past year, often putting their own health at risk.

Others stepped up during the pandemic to take food to neighbours or volunteer to give a helping hand to people they don’t know.

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Charities and community groups battled on despite decimated funds to offer a lifeline to those in need, while parents and carers held down jobs and homeschooled children or looked after loved ones.

We’ve drawn together as a community who stand out on doorsteps to Clap for Carers and our giving to causes like Captain Tom Moore’s appeal for the NHS Charities kicked up a gear.

But people don’t always get the credit they truly deserve. To mark all this, the Evening News is launching our Edinburgh Local Hero Awards to say a heartfelt thank you for all people have done to stem the Covid-19 crisis.

Let’s show our appreciation for all the unsung individuals in our communities who eased suffering or just brought some cheer into people’s lives during dark days.

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Help us to shine a light on those whose acts of kindness have helped us forge true community spirit, even in the face of lockdown restrictions and the many trials of the coronavirus crisis.

People like Lewis McLachlin who scooped the top local hero for his tireless work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lewis was last year's main winner and the Health Champion of the Year for his Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts initiative which provided almost 100,000 free meals to those in need throughout the pandemic.

The search is on for this year's heroes with nominations for the awards now open up to 1 October. And everyone who nominates will receive a 25 per cent discount from headline sponsor @pizza at their branches on High Street and Charlotte Lane.

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Euan McGrory, Editor of the Evening News, said: “The last year has been hard for us all in many ways, but we have got through it with the help of others.

“This pandemic has reminded us what it really means to be good neighbours and to look after each other.

“There have been so many acts of generosity, from dramatic interventions to small gestures of kindness, which have inspired and lifted everyone.

“Frontline workers from our hospitals to our buses have acted without a thought for their own safety; volunteers have used their stitching skills to make face masks; neighbours have cooked, shopped and run errands for each other; teachers have put their pupils before themselves. The stories of selfless giving have been almost endless.

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“Now we need your help to recognise these unsung heroes. Please get in touch to let us know about the Local Heroes in your community that deserve a heartfelt thank you from us all.”

Rupert Lyle, CEO & Co-Founder @pizza said: “Having opened @pizza’s first and third restaurants in Edinburgh, we’re passionate about the local area and most importantly the local people who never fail to make us smile. We’re delighted to support the Edinburgh Local Hero Awards following one of the most challenging periods the city and nation has ever faced. We cannot wait to meet the unsung heroes of the pandemic and help to celebrate their achievements.”

The awards are also supported by sponsors Edinburgh Zoo and CityFibre.


The highlight of the night and will be awarded to an individual who the judging panel considers to be Edinburgh’s top Local Hero.

Volunteer of the Year

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Recognises those who dedicate their time to help others, whether it’s spending their weekends or even giving full time voluntary help to those who need it most.

Fundraiser of the Year

Individuals who push themselves so that charities can continue doing the work they do to help others.

Neighbour of the Year

For someone who gives their time to someone who needs company, support and has gone the extra mile to be a good neighbour.

Inspirational Young Adult

Recognises, encourages and rewards an individual (16-24) who has shown exceptional drive and determination for a cause, belief or individual in the face of adversity.

Bravery Award

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For someone who has shown exceptional courage in dealing with an illness or battling through a traumatic experience. They may have demonstrated an exceptional act of bravery and shown great character or fortitude.

Sporting Hero

Recognises an individual or team who have made an outstanding contribution and dedication to local sport and physical activity.

Parent or Guardian of the Year

For any mum, dad, guardian or parent figure in your life who you would like to show your appreciation for when words are not enough.

Community Champion *Sponsored by CityFibre*

For those 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

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To recognise a truly inspiring teacher or classroom assistant in primary, secondary, further or higher education.

Music & Arts Award

This award is for a person or group who has made a difference to the lives of others through music and the arts.

Health Champion

For someone who has improved a person’s health and/or made an impact on the quality of life of an individual.

Carer of the Year

An individual who has cared for a friend or family member who has made personal sacrifices in order to tend to the needs of others, or outstanding care home worker or home help.

Junior Local Hero Award *Sponsored by Edinburgh Zoo*

A child, under the age of 14 who has demonstrated exceptional achievement, overcome great odds or made sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty.