Nominations for TOPA are now open to the public ahead of the award ceremony in November
People across South Ayrshire are being asked to nominate exceptional individuals and groups that have made a significant impact to their communities in 2016. The Council has launched a newly expanded The Outstanding People Awards (TOPA) which has been opened up to non-council workers in two brand new categories.
The Council has teamed up with the Ayrshire Post as media partner to promote the event which started in 2009. The number of categories has risen from five in previous years to 12 this year, and for the first time, the public are being given the chance to nominate people with no connection to the Council in the 'Outstanding young person' and 'Outstanding community group' categories ahead of this year's TOPA ceremony in November.
In the six years the awards have been running almost 600 Council employees have been nominated for the outstanding work they do to make a difference to the people of South Ayrshire. Previous winners have included a modern apprentice, a pupil from the Work Out programme, catering staff, a home carer, alongside the Council's housing policy and employability and skills teams.
Eileen Howat, Chief Executive at South Ayrshire Council, said this year marked an exciting expansion for the awards, "Working with our communities to make life better in South Ayrshire is the central theme of our new two-year Council Plan, which has partnership and consultation at its core.
"TOPA plays a part in that, and these two new public categories recognise the importance of the work people are doing to improve peoples' lives each and every day.
"I would urge anyone who knows of a community group or young person that's working hard and making a real difference where you live, to make a nomination. I'm looking forward to recognising their achievements in the coming months."
As well as being the event's media partner, the Ayrshire Post has also agreed to sponsor the new 'Outstanding school' category, with prize money of £150 being donated to the overall winner for use in the school.
Kenny Smith, Editor of the Ayrshire Post said the paper was pleased to support to event, "Our schools in South Ayrshire are full of outstanding teachers, brilliant pupils and hard-working members of staff.
"The Ayrshire Post is proud to be able to sponsor this category and honour those who put their hearts and souls into their school communities."
The awards reflect the Council's collective standards known as the South Ayrshire Way, which aim to deliver an excellent level of customer service across the board. This is achieved by ensuring that all staff focus on the needs of our customers when planning and delivering our services.
Joan Elliott won Gold in the 2015 Equalities in Action category. She said it was a great experience, "I'm involved in bringing a lot of great events to South Ayrshire, most of which usually throw up something unexpected along the way.
"At the time you do the best you can to make life easier for as many people as possible and to help make the event memorable for all the right reasons.
"If you know a community group or young person who's doing good work, please send in your nominations because TOPA really is a fantastic event to be part of."
For full details of all the award categories, and to make your nomination online, please visit the website. Alternatively, you can call 0300 123 0900, or visit one of our Customer Service Centres located in Troon, Prestwick, Ayr, Maybole, and Girvan.
The 2016 Outstanding People Awards Ceremony will take place on Thursday 17th November at Ayr Racecourse.