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The search is on in Scotland to find 'community heroes' who have joined the effort to rid the country of the misery...
The search is on in Scotland to find 'community heroes' who have joined the effort to rid the country of the misery caused by antisocial behaviour. Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson today led the call for people to step forward and gain recognition with the launch of the Standing Up to Antisocial Behaviour Awards 2006. The scheme, organised by the Co-op and the Executive, aims to raise awareness of the difference individuals and groups can make.

Last years winners included a team of 10 young people from Canonbie in Dumfries and Galloway who set up a youth group to organise activities for youngsters in their village. The group gave their peers something positive to do with their free time and helped to prevent antisocial behaviour problems.

At the Co-op store in Balornock Ms Jamieson said: 'Anyone who has had to endure any kind of persistent antisocial behaviour will know how depressing it can be. We can't turn a blind eye to the misery antisocial actions cause and we won't walk away from the challenge. We will stand up and support the law-abiding majority in reclaiming their communities.

'That is why Scottish Ministers delivered the Antisocial Behaviour Act - giving local authorities and the police much-needed measures to deal effectively with antisocial behaviour.

'And while local agencies are making use of this legislation to stamp out antisocial behaviour, we also know that local people in hard-pressed communities are making important and inspiring contributions that deserve to be recognised.

'That is why I am delighted to launch this year's Standing Up to Antisocial Behaviour Awards -an opportunity to say thank you to the people whose efforts have made a real difference.'

Deputy Justice Minister Hugh Henry said: 'People have had enough of antisocial behaviour and we are committed to supporting local people who rightly want to live in areas that are safe, secure and attractive.

'At last year's Standing up to Antisocial Behaviour Awards I was impressed by the commitment, dedication and courage of the award winners, who had all made inspiring efforts to shape their communities for the better.

'I hope that they will keep up the good work and that their stories have inspired others. I hope they have given people the confidence and courage to stand up and make a difference. And I look forward to recognising that difference through this award scheme.'

Martin Beaumont, Chief Executive of the Co-operative Group, said: 'Many of our stores are in the heart of local communities, and we often see at first hand how anti-social behaviour can blight a neighbourhood. Lots of people work very hard, and often very bravely, to tackle these problems. We are again delighted to support this scheme which recognises those individuals.'

Winners will receive up to£5,000 to spend on an activity to stop antisocial behaviour in their area.

There are four categories of awards:

- Individuals

- Local groups or projects

- Young people (individuals or groups under 18)

- 'Above and beyond' where officials such as community wardens, local housing staff or a school for example have gone above and beyond the call of duty to tackle antisocial behaviour

All applications must be received by June 30.

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