Margaret is a real hero

Margaret Gibb (left) has been caring for children in the Hattonrigg area  for nearly 40 years.
Margaret Gibb (left) has been caring for children in the Hattonrigg area for nearly 40 years.

Bellshill play leader Margaret Gibb has been nominated as one of this year’s STV Real Heroes after giving nearly 40 years of service.

Margaret has been running North Road playgroup and playscheme for 39 years.

Initially it was based in St Gerard’s Primary and over 25 years grew from using one classroom to using three, however when the school needed the space back a move to Hattonrigg Senior Citizens’ centre was necessary.

Margaret has also served on the committee of the West of Scotland Play Scheme for the last 15 years which oversees the running of over 350 groups across the west of Scotland.

She was nominated by Caileigh Mitchell, who helps at the playgroup, but Margaret admits she wasn’t all that keen to receive recognition in the Community Champion of the year category.

She said: “I have enjoyed my time running the playgroup over the years or else I wouldn’t have been doing it for so long.

“At first the playgroup was for children up to three, but with legislation changing to offer nursery places to all three-year-olds we have now dropped it to two.

“We also run a playscheme for kids aged 5-14 after school and during the holidays so I’m kept plenty busy.

“I wasn’t all that thrilled when I was told I had been nominated for the award, but eventually they managed to talk me round and it is lovely that people think so highly of you.”

The playgroup received a visit last week from an STV camera crew and presenter Clare Grogan, and they will appear in the second series of Real Heroes this autumn.

Margaret is up against Bathgate Street Pastors and Jackie McIntosh of the MS Therapy Centre in Inverness.

Also nominated as Real Heroes are Yooz Reuse & Recycling from Mossend in the Environmental Project of the Year category.

Yooz was set up in 2009 to support the Scottish Charity Active4All and over the years has grown into an exciting social enterprise that focuses on the environment, education and increasing people’s employability.

Yooz were nominated by volunteer Robert Robertson, a locality worker with the social work department.

He said: “I nominated Yooz for this award as I totally believe they deserve recognition for the work they do and look forward to continuing to do my wee bit.”

A statement from Yooz said: “It’s great to be recognised for supporting lots of people in our communities – including many who suffer from mental or physical ill health and many young unemployed looking for opportunities to gain more real life and work experience.