The much anticipated Eastside Awards in association with George Best Belfast City Airport, celebrating all that is good about East Belfast, returned after a year’s absence with winners being recognised in 16 sought after categories.
The sense of celebration was almost palpable as sponsors joined with finalists and their guests at the glittering awards ceremony, hosted by television presenter Tara Mills, in Hastings Stormont Hotel.
Emotionally charged, the evening climaxed with the announcement that Eileen Kerr of Care Counselling would receive the coveted Outstanding Contribution Award sponsored by East Belfast Enterprise. Eileen’s counselling service has been vital in East Belfast as she has helped men who faced a difficult upbringing, young people uncertain of the future, women who have lost a baby and cancer nurses stretched to their limit. She has worked with ex-paramilitary men who thought they were sinners beyond forgiveness to clergy who were doubting themselves, members of the LGBTQA+ community, people who have faced abuse and people who felt they could no longer go on. Eileen has been there for all of them, supporting her clients no matter their background or the shape of their journey. She has laughed with them and cried with them, supporting them to realise their full potential.
There was double delight for Pacem as the accountancy firm took the titles of The 2021 Eastside Award for Business Growth sponsored by Kainos and The 2021 Eastside Award for Employer of the Year sponsored by Fleet Financial. Pacem previously won the title of Eastside Awards Employer of the Year in 2020. There was a double celebration too for LaVeau Hair being named Favourite Hairdresser for the second time, having won the category previously in 2019.
Eastside Awards in Association with George Best Belfast City Airport winners are:
The 2021 Eastside Award for Favourite Teacher in East Belfast sponsored by The Open University: Mrs Compton, McArthur Nursery
The 2021 Eastside Award for Favourite Beauty Business in East Belfast sponsored by We’resure Insurance Services: Nails by Lauren Ralph
The 2021 Eastside Award for Favourite Takeaway in East Belfast sponsored by Belfast Live: Fryar Tuck, Bloomfield Road
The 2021 Eastside Award for Favourite Hairdresser/Barber in East Belfast sponsored by Wolseley Plumb & Parts Center: LaVeau Hair
The 2021 Eastside Award for Favourite Eatery (Café/Restaurant) in East Belfast sponsored by Solv Group: Dock Café
The 2021 Eastside Award for Business Start-Up sponsored by Belfast City Council: Refresh Property Solutions Ltd
The 2021 Eastside Award for Business Growth sponsored by Kainos: Pacem
The 2021 Eastside Award for Excellence in Health & Wellbeing sponsored by Millar McCall Wylie: East Belfast Community Development Agency Health Staff
The 2021 Eastside Award for Sports Initiative of the Year sponsored by GLL: Glentoran FC / Ashfield Boys’ Academy
The 2021 Eastside Award for Contribution to the Arts sponsored by Phoenix Natural Gas: Ballymac Friendship Trust
The 2021 Eastside Award for Employer of the Year sponsored by Fleet Financial: Pacem
The 2021 Eastside Award for Tourism Experience sponsored by EastSide Partnership: Maritime Belfast Trust
The 2021 Eastside Award for Community Impact sponsored by Belfast Harbour: Ashfield Girls’ High School
The 2021 Eastside Award for Volunteer of the Year sponsored by East Belfast Mission: Angelike Dzenite
The 2021 Eastside Award for Young Person of the Year sponsored by George Best Belfast City Airport: Gareth Wright
The 2021 Eastside Award for Outstanding Contribution sponsored by East Belfast Enterprise: Eileen Kerr
Stephen Patton, Human Resources and CR Manager at George Best Belfast City Airport, said: “This is the sixth year Belfast City Airport has had the pleasure of partnering with the Eastside Awards to celebrate the very best of this fabulous place we call home.
“Despite a challenging couple of years, spirit and hope have prevailed within our community and we have witnessed phenomenal efforts by businesses, charities, community groups, and individuals, both old and young, towards making East Belfast a great place to live, work, and play.
“The bar was once again raised in terms of the calibre of finalists in this year’s awards and I would like to not only congratulate each and every nominee but sincerely thank them for their invaluable contributions to our community.”
Jonathan McAlpin, Chief Executive of East Belfast Enterprise and Chair of Eastside Awards Committee, said: “The Eastside Awards has truly established itself in celebrating all that is good about East Belfast and, in this our sixth year, I’m honoured and humbled in congratulating those who have achieved magnificent success within our community in this past year. Since our last in person awards ceremony just before the pandemic began, to recognising our heroes virtually last year with our film ‘East Belfast Our Story 2020’ and having the joy of meeting again this year to recognise 16 wonderful winners, I am filled with immense pride at how the people of East Belfast are recovering from the impact that COVID-19 has had on our community groups, our businesses, our sports initiatives and our people, both young and old. The 2021 Eastside Awards has been a truly memorable occasion and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate every one of our award winners.”
Eastside Awards finalists were treated to a VIP reception courtesy of sponsor Belfast 1912 Gin and entertainment was sponsored by The Urban Villages Initiative.