A DUMBARTON mental health group has been named Citizen of the Year.

Mentor Scotland, a support group tackling the stigma around men’s mental health, took home the prestigious accolade at the Provost’s Civic Awards on Friday.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: The team at Mentor Scotland took home the Citizen of the Year AwardThe team at Mentor Scotland took home the Citizen of the Year Award (Image: West Dunbartonshire Council)The group was founded by Jamie MacLean in 2022 and started off as a talking group for men.

It has since expanded and offers members – both male and female – a safe space as well as social opportunities including walking, open water swimming, and badminton.

Jamie explained he set up Mentor Scotland after realising there was a need for extra support when going through his own mental health struggles.

He said: “I started Mentor Scotland after my own struggles with mental health and the need to find a connection.

“That is what we offer people who are going through a tough time – the opportunity to make real-life connections through talking groups or activities. One positive conversation a day can make such a difference.

“We have seen our members’ lives and their outlook completely change after joining us and it’s fantastic to know we are giving people a place to turn and giving them the support they need.”

Speaking at the annual event, which was held at Clydebank Town Hall, Jamie outlined the plans for the organisation's future. This included seeking charitable status.

He added: “We started off as a men’s mental health group but we are expanding all the time, and we now welcome everyone along to be part of Mentor Scotland.

“We are so proud to be chosen as Citizen of the Year and we are looking forward to doing more in the future to support people all over West Dunbartonshire.”

It was a successful night all around for Mentor Scotland as the group also picked up the award for community/voluntary champion (team).

There were five categories up for grabs at the awards ceremony including arts and culture champion, sports champion, community/voluntary champion (individual), community/voluntary champion (team), and youth champion.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: Martin Perry, sports championMartin Perry, sports champion (Image: West Dunbartonshire Council)Martin Perry, a professional para table tennis player, was crowned sports champion for his incredible success in the sporting world.

Martin, who is from Dumbarton, was born with a condition called Congenital Limb Loss and Deformity resulting in him having no hands and one leg.

He has had major success in the world of table tennis including recently securing a bronze medal at the World Championships.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: Nichola Mable, community/voluntary champion (individual)Nichola Mable, community/voluntary champion (individual) (Image: West Dunbartonshire Council)Nichola Mable scooped the award for community/voluntary champion (individual) for her work at The Recycle Room in Clydebank.

Nichola set up The Recycle Room in a bid to reduce landfill waste but after seeing families in need, quickly developed the charity and now provides practical items from clothes to electric goods.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: Olivia McCord, youth championOlivia McCord, youth champion (Image: West Dunbartonshire Council)Olivia McCord, from Drumry, was crowned youth champion for her inspirational attitude in the face of adversity.

The seven-year-old tragically lost her hands and feet after battling cancer and overcoming sepsis.

However, nothing could stop the incredible youngster from getting back to doing what she loves and she was soon back on stage with her dance group at Champion Dance and Cheer as well as regularly horse riding.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: Awestruck Academy, arts and culture championAwestruck Academy, arts and culture champion (Image: West Dunbartonshire Council)Awestruck Academy, a Clydebank-based arts centre, took home the arts and culture champion award.

The academy was praised for its efforts to create a community space for young people to experience and enjoy the arts as well as socialise and build confidence.

It offers a range of different activities including access to musical instruments, free tuition, and art & digital learning sessions.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: All of the winners with Provost Douglas McAllisterAll of the winners with Provost Douglas McAllister (Image: West Dunbartonshire Council)Provost Douglas McAllister said: “Congratulations to Mentor Scotland, who are extremely deserving of the title of Citizen of the Year for the support they give to some of our most vulnerable residents.

“Great strides are being made to rid the stigma of mental health, in particular with regards to men, and hearing about the work they do – from talking group to open water swimming, badminton, and football – has shown how dedicated they are to making a difference in West Dunbartonshire.  

“All of our winners and nominees are so deserving of the praise they have been given, from volunteering their own free time to give opportunities in the arts, to putting West Dunbartonshire on the map with their amazing sporting achievements and ensuring our communities are empowered. They are all truly awe-inspiring.

“What makes this inspirational work even more special is that more often than not it is done under the radar without much thanks and so it has been an absolute pleasure to recognise their dedication publicly tonight and show them how grateful we all are.”