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  • Writer's pictureJim Manclark

The National and SIF launch first-ever Yes movement awards

The National and the Scottish Independence Foundation (SIF) are delighted to announce the first-ever award scheme to recognise the achievements of individuals and groups working for the cause of Scottish independence.

Nominations can be made for any group or individual that has made a substantial contribution to the cause for independence. As we near the end of what has been a most challenging year for the Yes movement, as it has been for everyone in Scotland,

The collaboration between this newspaper and the SIF will enable people across the movement to nominate the individuals and groups who they think deserve awards for their campaigning activities and achievements. The Independence Awards are in two categories – the Indy Campaigner of the Year and the Indy Group of the Year. Given the coronavirus pandemic, we are interpreting that “year” as starting in January 2019 and lasting until the close of nominations The winner of the individual Campaigner award will receive £1500 and a trophy, and the winning Group will get £1000 and a trophy.

In each case, the money is to be donated to a pro-independence group/project of the winner’s choice, and which is compatible with SIF’s aims, such as education or training of activists, design/production of materials, or running events that will increase support for independence. The Awards event will be broadcast live on The National’s Facebook page on Wednesday, December 30.

It will be compered by Elaine C Smith while SIF convener Dr Willie Wilson and National editor Callum Baird will each give a brief outline of how we are all working towards our common destiny. Elaine will then announce the winners, as decided by our panel of judges, whose names we will publish shortly. Elaine C Smith will host the awards ceremony

Nominations for either of these awards can be made online at where you will also find the relatively simple rules governing awards. Information can also be found on the SIF website at: The closing date for nominations is December 16, so we would urge you to discuss nominations with your Yes groups or just make your own entries as soon as possible.

Some nominated projects may simply deserve a big “thank you”. Some may have “good practice” which points the way for other local groups to follow. The National will therefore publish a series of articles highlighting the work done by the winners of both awards, so please do provide comprehensive details of the individuals and groups that you are nominating and why they deserve to be nominated – you will see a space on the online nomination form for doing so.

SIF chief executive Greg McCarra said: “We are at the point of looking back on the challenges of the year past, and forward to the opportunities of the year coming. The Scottish Independence Foundation is working with The National to mark that transition with our first ever Independence Awards.

“SIF was founded in 2018 to provide financial support to campaigning for independence – mainly at the grassroots level. Achieving our shared aims would be much more difficult without the dedicated work of local activists throughout Scotland.

“To date, SIF has invested more than £170,000 in projects throughout Scotland which cover all of those aims. Even the last nine months of Covid have not dampened the enthusiasm for independence, and indeed it has grown throughout that time, while work has continued in the Yes movement to prepare for a future referendum. It is time for that enthusiasm to be recognised and rewarded; hence the Independence Awards.” National editor Callum Baird said: “As the only daily newspaper in Scotland which supports independence, it seemed right to us to join with the Scottish Independence Foundation to organise and promote these new awards. Only in the pages of The National will you read journalism that charts the growth of the Yes movement, and with the Foundation we are looking forward to the coming year when hopefully our dreams of independence will come true.

“Nominations can be made for anyone you think has made a substantial contribution to the cause of independence since January, 2019. That includes individual contributions within a Yes group or by someone acting on their own or with others outside a group, and also activities and successes by a particular group or organisation. Even if that person or group does not win they will have the pleasure of knowing that their work has been acknowledged by fellow Yessers and that in turn will boost their enthusiasm and inspire all of us to work towards our goal of an independent Scotland – and the sooner the better.”

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