Award for Outstanding Contribution to East Belfast

The Committee of the Eastside Awards thought that it would be appropriate to single out an individual, organisation or business who they consider most worthy of recognition with the Award for Outstanding Contribution to East Belfast.

Across the nominees, finalists and award winners, we’ve seen breadth of commitment, endeavour and talent demonstrated across all walks of life to make East Belfast a great place to be. There are many people making considerable contributions and this final award is the only award decided by the committee to recognise a stand out individual, business or community organisation working tirelessly for East Belfast.

In this inaugural year, the committee has decided to present the award to someone who, in their view, is a very worthy recipient.

Educated at Ashfield Boys High School in East Belfast, our outstanding contributor left school at 15 and joined the family business which had been founded in 1904 on Newtownards Road by his grandfather.

When he was just 23 his dad died and he then took over the running of the family business which employed 40 staff almost 50 years ago.

The family were renowned for their donations and contribution to the local community and their involvement with the churches of East Belfast. His dad bought the local children new gutties for their Sunday School trip and it was instilled in him from a young age that it was important to give back to the local community who supported the family business. He got married soon after taking over the business and is father to two children.

He had a keen interest in the local community and was involved in Glentoran Football Club in the 1960s and 1970s while developing and expanding the business over the next 25 years to be the largest of its kind on the island of Ireland.

He sold the business in the 1980s and took on a role of managing director of the largest business of its sector in the UK.  Having worked in England for 10 years he returned home in 1999 and assumed the role of managing director in a local business which employs 140 staff today. Although now formally retired he keeps a very close and active interest in its overall strategy and ethos.

He was involved in the early stages in the development of Connswater Community Greenway and also The Dock at Titanic Quarter. He is Chair of Landmark East within the EastSide Partnership and was responsible for a number of physical improvements along the Newtownards Road, including the Bridges Family health centre at Bryson Street and the Eastside Visitor centre at CS Lewis Square, as well as being involved in the Enler complex in Ballybeen Estate.

He received an MBE for services to the community of East Belfast in 2011 and was Chair of Skainos until the end of last year.

We were delighted to announce that the recipient of the

Eastside Award for Outstanding Contribution is

Mr James Brown.

Mr James Brown

James Brown