The Provost's Civic Awards

Finalists in the 2022 Provost’s Civic Awards in partnership with CCG

Each finalist will be invited to attend the event, taking place on October 7 at Clydebank Town Hall, in partnership with CCG where the overall winners will be announced by Provost Douglas McAllister.

The 2022 shortlist is as follows:

Arts and Culture Champion (sponsored by Polsec Group Ltd.) 

Lottie Barker, Clifftop Projects

Lottie started Clifftop Projects during the lockdown as a means to making the arts accessible to all regardless of age, ability or personal circumstances.  She works tirelessly to find funding opportunities to keep all Clifftop activities completely free of charge to participants.  This has included:

  • Weekly Art in the Park sessions at 3 of West Dunbartonshire's public parks, providing art packs to take home and running creative activities for hundreds of children in the parks.
  • Founding an intergenerational dance company with a group of novice dancers & taking their performance to the stage alongside professionals from all round the world at Glasgow's Tramway Theatre in July 2022.
  • Running holiday art camps and weekly art classes for 5-8 and 9-13year olds
    Theatre Trips for young people (approx.70 young people benefited from day trips this summer).
  • Running weekly Adult Creative Club to reduce mental health and isolation in the local community through introduction to different art mediums/genres
    running monthly Youth Creative Cafe for 13-25yr olds.
  • Producing short films in and with the local community encouraging mixed media participation.
  • Working collaboratively to produce a Covid Memorial in our local community
    providing paid opportunities to local freelance artists to help them grow their businesses and craft.

Jack Smyth, Salvaged Metal Art

Jack Smyth, from Clydebank was born premature and battled through severe illness, including being on life support, to set up his own business which brings together his love for cars and art.

Jack was only days old when he suffered the first of three bleeds in his brain and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, with doctors believing he would never walk or talk. He also has epilepsy and hydrocephalus, which required him to have shunts in his brain, as well as needing numerous brain surgeries up to the age of 14.

Defying the odds, Jack never allowed his disability to stop him from doing the things he loved and as a young boy he helped his dad work on cars and soon had a dream to open his own garage.

But his time at school was ruined by bullies and even after starting college to study vehicle maintenance the bullying continued and he felt there were too many unnecessary barriers, which ultimately stopped him from learning the skills he wanted and needed to pursue a career in mechanics.

With his self-esteem low, Jack’s uncle began to teach him how to weld and after working on scrap metal and becoming more comfortable using the equipment, Jack realised he could turn his new skills into a business.

Through Street League in West Dunbartonshire, Jack found out about The Prince’s Trust and took part in the Enterprise programme which gave him the knowledge, skills, and confidence to launch Salvaged Metal Art which combines his love of cars with his newfound talents.

Just the Brave

This young four-piece boy band which includes Kaiden McGrath from Bonhill, have been touring schools in Scotland singing songs while using their platform to give talks based on their own experiences of mental health and bullying to all year groups in different sessions. The popular sessions have led to pupils contacting the group about their problems and reaching out to them for further advice. The kind-hearted foursome have also been involved helping LGBTQ charities in Glasgow, charity gigs at Loch Lomond Shores and helping the homeless by doing their bit to help raise funds.

Sports Champion

John Joyce

John started helping out at Renton Craigandro as a parent in January 2018 and by the summer, he was head coach. During the pandemic he continued to interact with the kids and ran zoom training and set up YouTube training videos to keep the kids training, interacting and to socialise with their team mates and friends during a hard time for young kids.

John’s year group (2014s) now have 36 children with a mixture of boys and girls who train twice a week. He has engaged more parent volunteer coaches to assist and children all have the opportunity to plan in a league game at the weekend. John goes above and beyond to encourage the kids to be the best and constantly improve as well as organising lots of additional games /tournaments so the kids can represent their team all over Scotland.

Renton 2014's recently won 'Barca Experience' a tournament which now puts them forward to play football in Spain next May.

Many of his players have been scouted for Celtic and St Mirren and these boys are encouraged to continue to play with Renton as well as their SPL Teams and John welcomes the opportunity and encourages them all.

In 2021, John's daughter Evie couldn’t get into a girls team, so John decided to start the first Renton Girls’ Team. Not knowing if there would be much interest he put a post on Facebook and within 48hrs all the spaces were filled. The Renton girls’ team train currently once per week with three coaches and are starting a Sunday league later this month.

John does all of this while being a local firefighter, husband and father to 3 kids. His dedication, passion and enthusiasm helps local kids realise their dreams, all within his own time.

Karen Nicoll

For the past four years Karen Nicoll has been taking children from Christie Park Primary out running every Friday. This has extended to her becoming a guide runner for visually impaired Felicity Kelly – who she takes out running every Sunday to attend Victoria Parks’ Junior Run. One day on the way home Felicity asked why there wasn’t a local junior park run in West Dunbartonshire, and this was the only catalyst Karen needed. She wondered herself why this wasn’t the case, and started looking into how she could make this happen, Karen didn’t know where to start or how to go about it, but contacted her friend Anna who is involved in the Levengrove Park Run and their support throughout was nothing short of amazing. What they now have established is amazing, with local kids turning up each week at Levengrove Park for the fun, free 2k event – which has now been dubbed Felicity’s Park run.

Stewart Smillie

Stewart, 26, is the head coach at Alexandria Kickboxing Academy.. He has dedicated his daily life to the wellbeing and welfare of his 156 students often working 6 days a week without taking breaks or holidays.

He works tirelessly to coach the students bringing them new techniques to help them win at competitions. He has produced 3 World Champions and a runner up World Champion in 2019. Himself, Mia Bisley, James Young and the runner up Lochlan Peddle Temple. This year since returning from Covid, he has coached and produced 5 Scottish champions and currently has 7 students that have been called up to represent Scotland at the World Championships later this year in Wales.

He has taken several young students and given them opportunities to coach and train other students in a positive way which the younger students thrive at - given them a sense of responsibility, coaching skills and the ability to pass on their knowledge.

Stewart’s students adore him and absolutely love that he brings them healthy alternatives to the couch lifestyle that so many children this day have.  He promotes fitness to the students not just for the physical wellbeing but for mental and social aspects as well, providing confidence sessions for children that have been bullied.

Stewart also runs summer camps to help keep the children active and fit during the holidays. He has also campaigned for a para sports division within the sport driven by the fact he has students with disabilities and felt that they should be given the same rights and opportunities and his other students.

Stewart has achieved so much for the community, for his age and in so little time.

Community/Voluntary Champion (Individual)

Colin Hay, Linnvale Community Group

Colin had an idea during the pandemic of helping people and improving our local area in Linnvale. Over a year and a half ago he started the Linnvale community group by approaching people he met while out walking his dog, and by using social media to spread the word.  Since then the community group has gone from strength to strength.  Colin is the driving force of the group helping to encourage and support others with ideas to improve Linnvale community.

Kevin Crawford, The Big Disability Group

Kevin set up The Big Disability Group in 2017 after he did not know where to turn to for support or information when he was dealing with various health conditions. Feeling lost and alone, he  decided to set up a group for people in a similar situation. He researched everything he could about what was available locally. The group was very popular and grew quickly. It became a registered charity and continued to grow. Kevin has battled his own health conditions while continuing to run the charity.

Kirsty Campbell, Daniel’s Wish

Daniel’s Wish was set up by Kirsty Campbell to provide a support network for parents like her who have children with additional learning needs. From her own experience, Kirsty realized they was a massive gap in support for parents and carers. The organization, named after Kirsty’s seven year old son, Gives children an opportunity to participate in developmentally appropriate activities in a safe, stimulating and non-judgemental environment – regardless of diagnosis. This includes parental support, arts & crafts, social clubs, sensory play, basic life skills such as food preparation, washing up, hair brushing and styling and are currently in talks to have sports coaches come along and hold disability football sessions designed to cater for the children’s needs. 

Kirsty has already hosted Family Picnics, Parents’ Cuppa & Chat sessions and understands there is a strong need for a local Dad’s support group, with mental health on the rise particularly within men, she is keen to ensure support is readily available for them too.

The Group is only newly established, but already has over 240 people within its community online, Health Visitors and Outreach Workers are actively promoting it when speaking with families and Kirsty has applied for funding to ensure the support continues and grows for the people of West Dunbartonshire through the help of volunteers.

Community/Voluntary Champions (Team)

Bags Full of Love

Bags Full of Love is a charity that was formed by two foster carers Fiona and Leigh-Ann Hennebry, who understand through experience that 99% of children coming into foster care come with nothing other than the clothes on their back. They arrive into a strange new environment with people they had never met before.

Fiona and Leighann started Bags full of Love last year in West Dunbartonshire. The new charity gives a specially made up backpack to suit any age, ready to be given out at any time of the day. This will ensure that carers do not need to go out shopping immediately for clothes etc. and the initial and important bonding can happen. The bags for babies include nappies, vests, sleep suits, clothes for at least three days plus a cuddly toy. Older children will have toiletries in their bags. The bags vary for all ages up to 16. Bags Full of Love has identified a great need to provide items for the baby or child and older child to have something that is theirs and that no one can take from them. The children may grow out the clothes but the bag and cuddly toy is there to keep. 

They are both foster carers for West Dunbartonshire and are well regarded by both other carers and Social Work.

A child who all of a sudden is removed from his/her usual environment is very vulnerable and to be handed clothes that others have worn before has an affect that makes them feel unwanted even more. This is a wonderful initiative and Fiona and Leigh-Ann are doing an amazing job ensuring all children that come into care have something to call their own..

Let’s Make a House a Home

‘Let’s make a house a home’ was set up by kind-hearted local couple Des & Louise McFarlane during the pandemic to help families struggling on the run up to Christmas, ensuring those hardest hit could ensure their little ones still got presents on the big day. Since then, it has grown bigger than they could ever have anticipated thanks to a thriving community Facebook group which helps those in need of everyday items year round now. This can be anything from furniture and clothing, to prams, toys and even wedding dresses.

During the pandemic, they set up rules on the Facebook page to ensure that items could be safely collected from doorsteps and ensured social distancing which everyone followed and have had such a massive response, seeing the community come together in uncertain times. Taking advantage of people doing clear-outs, they not only help those most in need, but also inadvertently help support a circular economy within West Dunbartonshire. Something that is big on the agenda for the Scottish Government.

They’ve helped those fleeing domestic violence, those coming out of prison and individuals/families who find themselves homeless and starting from scratch, meaning they have created a lifeline for so many people. You only need to take a look at the 6.8k followers and every-thankful community to see the local impact this group has made to those struggling in West Dunbartonshire. The couple do this off their own backs, along with an admin team of four other people who have not only created a streamline process to connect those most in need with those needing to get rid of things in a cost effective and sustainable way, but also go above and beyond to hand deliver items to those who don’t drive.

Lomond Radio

Lomond Radio is a non-profit social enterprise run by a great team of 40 volunteers, all of whom give up their time to give something back to the community by producing and presenting radio shows and running radio roadshows throughout the Dunbartonshire area.

Broadcast from studios in Strathleven House, the radio station has been on air since August 2020. Their main goal is to entertain and inform the local community as well as provide a platform for young people looking to take up a career in the industry.

Getting involved with local events throughout the area and supporting local charities and businesses by giving them a platform to advertise their organisation / business. They also work with local singer/songwriters to give them airplay.

Lomond Radio was started during the initial lockdown and it soon became obvious there was an appetite for a truly local radio station in the area, providing local information, supporting local businesses and with local people presenting the shows. Presenters range in age from 9 years old through to 60+ and all of them work very hard. The station is currently broadcast online via online, mobile app or on smart speakers with plans to add Digital DAB to this in the near future.

Youth Champion

Zoe Neeson

Look for a Book West Dunbartonshire is an exciting 'hide and seek' style game created locally by school girl Zoe Neeson, who after visiting Edinburgh Zoo found a book and was excited to not only read the book, but was encouraged to hide it for other kids to find and enjoy.

Zoe had so many books in the house she had outgrown and so decided to hide 5 around the Dumbarton area to see if others would get involved. Zoe and her Mum posted a video on social media with clues to help other kids locate the books and were excited to find children reading them excitedly on their way home.

Look for a Book West Dunbartonshire has proved hugely popular with school kids all across West Dunbartonshire, with Zoe's Mum Claire setting up a Facebook page and encouraging others to take part.

The Facebook page now has 2500 followers and continues to see parents and children find and hide books via the social media platform. Claire also helped get thousands of waterproof packs stocked across West Dunbartonshire Libraries to encourage others get involved.

Zoe has set up one of the most talked about self-starting initiatives in this area which focuses on learning, reading and getting outdoors - but most of all, makes reading fun and exciting for all involved.

Citizen of the Year

At the end of the evening, Provost McAllister will also announce the overall winner who will receive the Citizen of the Year award, sponsored by CCG.