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November 30, 2016

Epic performers wanted

The glitz and glamour of award nights can sometimes seem at odds with the day to day grind of life on the frontline for an under-funded, under-pressure voluntary group. But they have a purpose beyond the undoubted thrill of hearing ….and the winner is….. Winning (or even just being nominated) helps with funding, increases the groups profile and can help to promote your message. The call has just gone out from Voluntary Arts Scotland for any wannabee red carpeters at their annual Epic Awards. VAS have also just published this handy guide for creative fundraisers.



Has your group got what it takes to be an Epic Award winner?

The UK and Republic of Ireland’s premier award for amateur cultural groups is now open for nominations.

About the Epic Awards . . .

The Epic Awards recognise and reward excellence and innovation in the amateur cultural sector, and over 65,000 voluntary arts groups are eligible to enter.

A winner and runner-up is chosen from England, Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, plus a special ‘People’s Choice Award’ voted for by the public.

Groups can nominate themselves online at

Closing date for nominations – 12 January 2017

What the judges are looking for . . .

Creative groups that are doing something exciting and interesting. They could have embarked on a particularly ambitious project over the past year, formed an interesting collaboration or made a difference to the lives of others in their community.

Epic stands for Engagement, Partnership, Innovation and Creativity – and projects should demonstrate one or more of these four qualities.

What the Epic Awards celebrate

From creative writing to making music, from amateur theatre to yarn-bombing, over 65,000 amateur arts groups across the UK and Republic of Ireland make a huge difference in their local areas.

There is growing recognition in the media and public policy of the importance of creative participation, and the Epic Awards shine a spotlight on the incredible achievements of groups who provide these opportunities week in, week out.

What do groups win?

A range of prizes from financial support to advice, partnership and performance opportunities. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, groups who are shortlisted for or win an Epic Award have found it led to new partnerships and collaborations, extra coverage in local and national media, and increased acknowledgement from politicians and funders.

Previous Epic Award winners in Scotland include: a Paisley drumming group that aided mental health recovery; a craft group on the Isle of Barra that reached out to international craftmakers: a multi-arts festival in Braemar that encouraged cultural participation; an art and craft trail in Kircudbright; and a drama group in Aberdeenshire that involved the whole community in a refugee-themed alternative nativity show.

Who runs the Epic Awards?

Voluntary Arts, the development agency for creative cultural participation, which works across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Robin Simpson, CEO of Voluntary Arts, said “The incredible range of diverse projects we discover each year through the Epic Awards is truly inspiring. We’ve been consistently amazed by the imaginative, adventurous and ambitious creative activity that is taking place in every community across the UK and Ireland.

“Groups of all sizes, working in all sorts of areas have been shortlisted in the past so the opportunity is there for any creative group that feels they fit the bill. We’re looking forward to seeing what projects wow our judging panels this year.”

Previous Scotland winner quotes:

“It was something we were really proud of and something that put us on the map.  We were also very honoured to be chosen from the group of projects, and it gave our committee the confidence to say yes, we can do something really good here.” Sarah MacLean Barra Bunting


“It feels like our group is taken more seriously after winning the Epic Award. The sense of pride, achievement and recognition was tangible and something that lasts to this day.” Jane Bentley, The Buddy Beat