About the Awards

The Eastside Awards is an exciting  initiative aimed at highlighting and celebrating all that is good about East Belfast, whilst showcasing the contributions being made to the economic, social and community development of the area.

Background and Vision:

Over 200 years ago, during the industrial revolution, the birth of heavy manufacturing industry centred on the emerging shipyards of east Belfast. These yards and in particular Harland and Wolff would not only become the economic engine for Ireland at the time, but would become a world leader in shipbuilding – east Belfast was leading the world!! But it wasn’t only shipbuilding. East Belfast boasted the world’s biggest Ropeworks and was the gateway for Belfast to become the world’s biggest linen producer. Inventors and innovators, such as Samuel Cleland Davidson born in east Belfast, founded Sirocco works and brought air conditioning to the world and later Shorts would pioneer the first British vertical take-off and landing aircraft among many other aeronautical advances.

But it’s not just about industry and commerce. East Belfast has produced some of the world’s greatest sports stars, like Danny Blanchflower and George Best to name two, globally recognised actors, poets, playwrights and of course the literary and music giants, CS Lewis and Van Morrison.

Much of that is in the past and fail to notice the amazing things that are being achieved in the modern era. Today, the once globally famous shipyard is no longer the world’s biggest, but we can now boast a world leading tourist attraction at Titanic Visitor Centre. Since the decline of heavy industry in the western world, there has been a focus on the digital and knowledge based economy and again East Belfast leads the way in this regard through Catalyst Inc (formerly the Northern Ireland Science Park).

Entertainment centres at the SSE Arena, home of a professional sports team – The Belfast Giants, the Strand Arts Centre, the seat of Parliament at Stormont Estate. In sport the Oval has played host to some of Europe’s elite clubs such as Juventus and Benfica with Glentoran and world class sport now take place regularly at Ulster Rugby. Many of Northern Ireland’s most vibrant independent retail, food and drink outlets are all located in East Belfast. This part of the City can also boast the best in primary, post primary and third level education and the Connswater Community Greenway is an urban regeneration scheme the envy of any city across the UK or Ireland.

All of this is by no means an exhaustive list of what makes East Belfast a special place to work, live and play, but is a flavour of why it is now important that the endeavours of local people, businesses and community organisations contributing to the vibrancy of this place should be celebrated and recognised.  And this was the vision for The Eastside Awards!

Who runs the Eastside Awards?

The Eastside Awards is organised by a small voluntary committee, chaired by East Belfast Enterprise and comprising members of the business and community sectors.  The organising committee is made up as follows:

  • Jonathan McAlpin, Chief Executive, East Belfast Enterprise
  • Rev Mervyn Gibson, Chairman, EastSide Partnership
  • Stephen Kane, Managing Director, Solv Group
  • Darwin Templeton, Managing Editor, Independent News and Media (NI)
  • Mimi Turtle, Chief Executive, Strand Arts Centre
  • Geri Wright, Communications Manager, Phoenix Natural Gas Ltd

The activity is being funded through sponsorship support from local organisations and the initiative is being financed on a not-for-profit basis, with all monies generated being used to run the event.

 

The Sponsors: