The shortlist for the 2017 Voluntary Arts Epic Awards have been revealed
From ballet in the Hebrides to a Glasgow knitting group commemorating the Battle of the Somme, eight inspirational cultural projects across Scotland have been shortlisted for a national award.
The Epic Awards are an initiative of Voluntary Arts, which aim to highlight the diversity of voluntary-led creative cultural activity across the UK and Republic of Ireland.
This year eight organisations will fight out for the title of best in Scotland before the winner competes with the winners of the other regions to be named the UK and Republic of Ireland champion.
All projects from across the UK and Ireland are entered into the people’s choice award with the public invited to vote on the awards’ website.
The winners will receive £250 as well as a tailored package of training, mentoring and promotion to help take their group to the next level from Voluntary Arts and other Epic Award partners.
Competing this year from Scotland are projects from around the country.
Included are the Auchtermuchty Media Project in Fife, which in 2016 created a short film about life in Auchtermuchty during WW2; Ballet Hebrides, an amateur ballet group for men and women of any ability on the Isle of Lewis; and MugStock Festival, a volunteer-run 3-day festival in East Dunbartonshire, that attracted over 1,000 people in 2016, showcasing local and international talent and raising funds to improve the park.
From Edinburgh Creative Electric, a theatre production conceived and created by a group of 17-22-year-olds, exploring what it means to be a young man in 2016 are up for the award as are WHALE’s Without A Cause, an adult drama group that provides a safe space for anyone, including those with additional support needs, to create theatre.
Glasgow however appears to be the most popular location for entrants. Those hailing from Scotland’s largest city who have been shortlisted are the RE-Tune Project, a project, where those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or other mental health difficulties, can learn to make or repair guitars, then play them at a workshop and recording studio; SOCK Glasgow, a knitting group that ran a global project to collect thousands of hand-made panels to commemorate each soldier who fought in the Battle of the Somme; and Say It Ain’t Sew, which as well as Glasgow also runs free, easy and fun hand sewing classes in pubs and bars in Edinburgh, Stirling and Aberdeen.
Voluntary Arts Scotland director Jemma Neville said: “It is fantastic to have such a diversity of entries from across Scotland this year.
"From Ballet Hebrides in Lewis to WHALE Arts in Wester Hailes and from community-led festivals to crafting stringed instruments, and everything in between, Scotland’s voluntary arts sector is thriving and worthy of recognition.
"There’s still time to get voting for your favourite to win.”
The winners will be announced at a reception in Gateshead on 19 March.