James Brown MBE receives Eastside Award for Outstanding Contribution to East Belfast from Chair of the awards committee and Chief Executive of East Belfast Enterprise Jonathan McAlpin, and awards host BBC presenter Tara Mills. www.eastsideawards.org

James Brown MBE receives Eastside Award for Outstanding Contribution to East Belfast from Chair of the awards committee and Chief Executive of East Belfast Enterprise Jonathan McAlpin, and awards host BBC presenter Tara Mills. www.eastsideawards.org

Winners of the first Eastside Awards in association with George Best Belfast City Airport have been announced at a glittering ceremony in the heart of East Belfast, hosted by BBC presenter Tara Mills.

The top accolade for Outstanding Contribution was awarded to highly respected East Belfast businessman James Brown MBE.  The unanimous decision to honour James recognises the outstanding contribution he has made to East Belfast throughout his life.

The winners of the inaugural Eastside Awards are:

Eastside Award for Tourism sponsored by The Foundry: Belfast City Sightseeing

Eastside Award for Digital Innovation sponsored by Connect Telecom: Big Pixel Creative

Eastside Award for Food Product or Services sponsored by McGuinness Fleck: Little Pink Kitchen

Eastside Award for Contribution to Sport sponsored by Charles Hurst and Fleet Financial: Glentoran Academy

Eastside Award for Contribution to the Arts sponsored by Millar McCall Wylie: Strand Arts Centre

Eastside Award for Education sponsored by Phoenix Natural Gas: Go-Berserk

Eastside Award for Contribution from the Community Sector sponsored by Solv Group: Orchardville Society

Eastside Award for Young Person of the Year sponsored by George Best Belfast City Airport: Krizzah Policarpio

Eastside Award for Volunteer of the Year sponsored by Avec Solutions: Sean Brannigan

Eastside Award for Business Contribution sponsored by Ulster Bank: Rebound Physio

Eastside Award for Business Growth sponsored by NIJobfinder: GPS Colour Graphics

Eastside Award for Business Start Up sponsored by East Belfast Enterprise: SENsations Learning Support C.I.C.

Sponsor Michelle Hatfield, Director of Human Resources and Corporate Responsibility at Belfast City Airport, said: “Belfast City Airport would like to warmly congratulate all the winners and applicants of the inaugural Eastside Awards. To see so many businesses and organisations contributing to the local communities that they serve is truly inspiring, and should encourage other companies to find ways they can become more responsible in how they do business.

“Contributing to our local community is integral to the ethos of Belfast City Airport’s business. Through the platform of our Community Fund we work in partnership with local schools, charities and other organisations, and are very aware of the positive impact that businesses working closely with the community can have.

“The businesses and organisations highlighted have had a huge impact on the social, economic and community development of East Belfast and we are delighted to acknowledge them.”

Michael Walker of Orchardville Society receives Eastside Award for Contribution from the Community Sector from Stephen Kane of sponsor Solv Group and awards host BBC presenter Tara Mills. www.eastsideawards.org
Krizzah Policarpio receives Eastside Award for Young Person of the Year from Michelle Hatfield of principal sponsor George Best Belfast City Airport and awards host BBC presenter Tara Mills. www.eastsideawards.org

Sponsor Geri Wright, Communications Manager, Phoenix Natural Gas Ltd, said: “Having been at the heart of East Belfast for over 20 years, Phoenix Natural Gas is delighted to sponsor the Eastside Awards to recognise and reward talent within the East Belfast Community. The award entries have really showcased the best of the East – the contributions entrants have made to their local area through business, voluntary and community work is not only inspiring, but it has helped put East Belfast on the map as a hub for creativity, culture and innovation. Phoenix Natural Gas is proud to support the Eastside Awards and congratulates all the worthy winners and finalists.”

Jonathan McAlpin, East Belfast Enterprise, the brainchild behind the awards, said:  “These awards were commissioned to celebrate the stars of East Belfast and to recognise the drive, ambition and passion they have for this little corner of our city in which they play sport, do business, volunteer and entertain.  It’s been a real labour of love for me to develop the vision into the reality and to see the awards come to life following what has been an extremely well supported and very successful process.  I would like to personally congratulate all the winners of the inaugural Eastside Awards and thank the judges for their expertise in the difficult task they had in choosing the finalists and eventual winners from the standard of entries received.”

Eastside Awards was supported by George Best Belfast City Airport, Avec Solutions, Belfast Telegraph, Connect Telecom, East Belfast Enterprise, The Foundry, Charles Hurst Fleet Financial, McGuinness Fleck, Millar McCall Wylie, NIJobfinder.com, Phoenix Natural Gas Ltd, Solv Group and Ulster Bank.

More than 200 guests gathered at Hastings Stormont Hotel to recognise all that is good about East Belfast at the Eastside Awards.  On arrival guests were entertained by musicians from Grosvenor Grammar School and treated to dancing by NiStars.  Following the awards presentation, The Ronnie Greer Blues Band performed with special guests Ken Haddock and one of East Belfast’s much loved singer songwriter’s, Anthony Toner.

www.eastsideawards.org, www.facebook.com/eastsideawards, www.twitter.com/east_awards #eastawardsni