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Published 27 March 2017

A creative school cook who has consistently been rated one of the best in Scotland has been named West Dunbartonshire Council’s Employee of the Year.

Evelyn Bryce, who works in Linnvale Primary, was praised for her efforts to encourage pupils to eat a healthy, balanced diet through rewarding children with stickers if they tried a new dish, meat or vegetable.

The  52-year-old also led West Dunbartonshire’s first Families and Schools Together programme which aims to encourage families to cook and eat nutritious meals by bringing them into the school kitchen with pupils to create dishes together.

Every day Evelyn plans four different menus for the school and early learning centre, having recently learned new culinary skills and changed her working practices to incorporate Halal cooking to meet the religious needs of new pupils at the school

The Clydebank woman has also been recognised nationally in the Scottish School Cook of the Year competition, where she has made it to the final seven in each of the last three years and was presented with a certificate for outstanding accomplishment.

Evelyn said: “I love my job and am absolutely delighted to be named Employee of the Year.  For me it’s recognition of the whole catering team at Linnvale, who are all fantastic. We all work together, and help each other, to provide the best possible service to all our pupils, including those with special dietary requirements. I’m really proud to play my part in helping the children.”

Evelyn was one of six winners at the awards ceremony on Wednesday, 22 March, at Clydebank Town Hall. The awards recognise excellence in service delivery and thank staff members and teams who have made a real difference to the Council and our residents.

This year’s full winners list were:

• Employee of the Year – Evelyn Bryce, School Cook, Linnvale Primary
• Team of the Year – Bereavement Services
• Team Leader of the Year – Lorraine Payne, Team Leader Contact Centre
• Community’s Award - Karen McNab, Daycare Officer, Langcraigs
• Young Ambassador of the Year – Nicole Gallacher, Social Media and Digital Marketing Apprentice
• Chief Executive Award – New Bellsmyre Campus Project 

Hub West Scotland were the principal sponsors of the event, with CBC, Go-Wright, Civica and Barr Environmental Ltd sponsoring individual categories 

Also recognised at the event were 21 employees who were presented with certificates to mark their long-service, having worked for the Council for 25 years.

The Young Ambassador of the Year award went to 23-year-old Nicole Gallacher from Dumbarton. Nicole was praised for her creative vision and for bringing a fresh perspective to the Council’s social media accounts. Nicole launched an Instagram account for the Council to complement the Facebook and Twitter pages, and engage with a younger audience.  The account now has 949 followers – the second largest Council Instagram page in Scotland.

Nicole also enhanced the Council’s Facebook and Twitter platforms with creative posts and video content to attract new users.

Bereavement Services, which includes the cemetery ground maintenance and crematorium staff, were named Team of the Year.  The team were recognised for their hard work in making Dumbarton’s new cemetery the first in Scotland to receive a Green Flag Award.  A recent inspection praised staff at the Crematorium and the cemetery office for being professional, caring and enthusiastic, taking pride in their responsibilities and carrying out their duties to a high standard. The award also recognises the hard work, commitment and compassion of the ground maintenance staff who work year round to ensure Dumbarton Cemetery is a tranquil place for grieving families to visit.

Lorraine Payne, a member of staff at the Council’s Contact Centre, was awarded Team Leader of the Year  for her dedication, motivation and enthusiasm and for continually going the extra mile for residents. Lorraine  played a key role in  the National Entitlement Card renewal process for residents which involved collaborative working with various internal departments and external organisations.

Lorraine has effectively led, developed and motivated the Contact Centre team to deliver excellent customer service and also improved complaints reporting in line with the new Council structure.

This year’s Community’s Award was given to Karen McNab, a Day Care Officer from Langcraigs.  Karen has worked in the care sector for eighteen years and is an active member in Langcraigs Day Care Ventures.  Karen leads on fundraising in the home and money raised has helped to stage live entertainment, support service users on day trips and purchase activities, which are recreational, educational and therapeutic for those within Day Care. Karen also helps raise funds for Macmillan Cancer and Cancer Research and arranges a “Pink Day” to also increase awareness.

This year’s Chief Executive’s Award was presented to the New Bellsmyre School Campus Project by Joyce White presented.

The project team worked tirelessly throughout the two year decant period and in particular the days leading up to the opening to welcome pupils to their new school campus.  The team was hailed as an excellent example of cross team working and the Council recognised the good work and extra effort that they contributed to ensure the new Bellsmyre Campus was an inviting and inspirational learning space when it opened to pupils in August.  The team ensured the opening was a cause for celebration in this community and across West Dunbartonshire.

Chief Executive Joyce White said: “I would like to congratulate everyone who was nominated and shortlisted, they are all very worthy of this recognition. It’s fantastic to hear about the excellent work being carried out in our communities by our dedicated staff who regularly go above and beyond what is expected of them to ensure our residents receive the best service possible. West Dunbartonshire Council staff have a unique opportunity to make a difference every day. As Chief Executive, I’m really proud to hear how our dedicated staff are making a positive impact on local residents.

“These awards acknowledge the tremendous work of our staff and publicly thank them for their achievements over the years and I personally appreciate the part they’ve played in delivering services on behalf of the Council.”