IN JUST three weeks’ time, the East Lothian Courier will celebrate the people who make such a positive difference to the lives of others and our communities.

Our Community Champion Awards night takes place at Haddington Corn Exchange on Thursday, May 30, when we will reveal the winners in categories covering everything from sport to business, and teaching to charities.

East Lothian Courier: East Lothian Courier Community Champion Awards logo

Last month, our judging panel had the difficult task of deciding the finalists for our awards, and the task of choosing the winners was no easier.

Now we can’t wait to recognise the people who make our communities a better place – every one of our finalists certainly does that.

Courier editor Robbie Scott said: “There are so many people in our towns and villages who, week after week, year after year, step up to help those less fortunate than themselves, giving their time and efforts to make other people’s lives better.

“We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to submit a nomination, as well as everyone who was nominated for everything they do for their communities, and we’re excited to highlight the great efforts of all our finalists. I’d also like to give a special mention to our awards sponsors, without whom none of this would be possible.”

The Community Champion Awards are generously sponsored by East Coast Buses; PureMalt; SSE Renewables; and Sustainable Facilities Management.

East Lothian Courier: The East Lothian Courier Community Champion Awards are sponsored by East Coast Buses, PureMalt, SSE Renewables Berwick Bank Wind Farm, and Sustainable Facilities Management

Tickets for the awards evening, hosted by TV and radio personality Bryan Burnett, can be purchased online via:

Here’s a look at all the finalists for the Charity Champion of the Year award:

The Haven

East Lothian Courier: The Haven is based at the Fraser Centre, Tranent. Inset: Roslyn Neely, CEO of ECHC

THE Haven is a new pilot service which aims to tackle the mental health crisis facing children and young people.

Developed by Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC), The Haven wellbeing and resilience service at The Fraser Centre in Tranent is available to families living within the catchment area of Ross High School.

It aims to support families with children struggling with their mental health, and to prevent problems escalating to the point where professional intervention is needed.

Roslyn Neely, CEO of ECHC, said that she hoped The Haven would be “part of the solution” to the mental health crisis.

Rosemary Moffat

East Lothian Courier: Rosemary Moffat, The Hollies

ROSEMARY, a volunteer and now trustee at The Hollies in Musselburgh, has played a vital role in trying to keep The Hollies from shutting after it had been set to close down in November 2023.

Thanks to funding from Musselburgh Common Good Fund, The Hollies, a centre for over-60s in Musselburgh, was thrown a lifeline.

Hailed as the “glue that has kept everything together”, Rosemary has helped massively to keep The Hollies open serving the elderly and vulnerable in the community.

Rosemary has stepped up to the mark and played a vital role in fighting for the centre’s future when all hope seemed lost.

Richie Roncero/Steps To Hope

East Lothian Courier: Richie Roncero. Image: Kenny Brown

RICHIE raised more than £250,000 for charity by spending eight weeks homeless in eight different cities in the UK in order to raise awareness of homelessness and addiction.

Richie also founded Steps to Hope, a charity which supports homeless people and those suffering from addiction.

The group’s mission is to provide support and resources to individuals who are struggling with addiction and to help them achieve long-term recovery.

The group offers a variety of services to support individuals on their journey to recovery, including educational resources.

The Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland

East Lothian Courier: The Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland

SPORTING Memories was founded in 2011 by Chris Wilkins, from Dirleton, to help older people connect and reminisce through the power of sport.

Mr Wilkins was originally inspired to find a way to support older people who were facing challenges in later life, be it living with dementia or long-term conditions, depression or simply being isolated and lonely.

Members go back weekly, saying that it is the highlight of their week.

The group’s work across East Lothian has grown rapidly over the past few years, with work targeting frailer older people who are sedentary and not physically active.