Young people celebrated their efforts in the community on Tuesday (7 November 2017) at the annual Orkney Youth Awards Ceremony.
Convener of Orkney Islands Council, Harvey Johnston, welcomed young people to the event, which took place at the King Street Halls and is hosted each year by the Council’s Community Learning and Development team and Voluntary Action Orkney (VAO).
He opened by praising them for their ‘time, energy and commitment’ given ‘for the wider good of the Orkney community’: “Giving your own time on a voluntary basis is such a special thing to do – and although you are getting awards, it’s actually what you have done and what you have achieved that matters most.”
“The fact that you can put in the effort have achieved your target is only the start. You can now apply that energy and commitment to anything else you want to do, and be a success.
“You’ve already proved to yourself and to us here that you are an achiever – and that can be taken with you for the rest of your life.
“As Convener of Orkney Islands Council I am immensely proud of our young people in Orkney – for what you have managed to achieve and more importantly what you have done for others in the process.
“In your work together you will have inspired each other – and here tonight you are an inspiration to others.
“Well done to all of you – and let this be just the first step of many achievements to come.
Following the event, Councillor Johnston added: “I hope the young people attending enjoyed the night, something they have worked very hard themselves to organise, and which is truly theirs - and wish them well in their future work.”
Local MSP Liam McArthur and Wilf Weir, Director of the Council’s Education, Leisure and Housing Service, also addressed attendees, with talks also by Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYP’s), Orkney’s Young Scot Young People Champion, and the Year of the Young People Ambassadors.
Community Learning and Development Officer at Orkney Islands Council, Cheryl Rafferty, said: “We’re delighted each year in partnership with VAO to host this event. It’s a great way showcase the benefits that young people have given back to their community through volunteering, and the skills they have built up along the way.
Cheryl added: “We hope the event will inspire other young people to get involved in awards and volunteering opportunities and the immense rewards they can bring”.
Young people played a lead in organising this year’s event, with host duties, catering and entertainment all provided by young folk themselves.
The list of awards presented on the night cover a range of activities and schemes, from achievements in the Saltire Award and Dynamic Youth programmes as well as recognition of young people involved in sports, inter-generational work and other community projects.
Local young person Kelsi Taylor gave a special presentation on her participation in the Youth Achievement Award.
Among those who received an award are a group of volunteers from the West Mainland who run an activity session with St Peter’s residents every Thursday after school. Activities have included bingo, painting, board games and blethering.
Also revealed on the night was this year’s recipients of the Saltire Summit Award – young people nominated by organisations for volunteering efforts in the community, and judged by a panel of their peers.
The Youth Achievement and Dynamic Youth Awards are equivalent to National 4, National 5 and Highers qualifications and are listed on formal exam results and are accredited by Youth Scotland. Young people work on activities such as fundraising and volunteering which benefit the community and contribute to their own personal development. There are two categories within the scheme – Dynamic Youth Awards for 10-14 years olds, and Youth Achievement Awards for 14-25’s. There are eight organisations across Orkney who can help young people plan and record their work – Youth Café, Orkney College, Papdale Halls of Residence, KGS, Stromness Academy, the Connect Project, and the East Mainland and West Mainland Youth Achievement Groups (clubs led by Orkney Islands Council Youth Work staff to support young people through their Awards.) To find out more and to get involved, contact the Orkney Islands Council’s Community Learning and Development (CLD) Team by visiting the Council website, phoning the Council's CLD team on 01856873535 ext 2425, email Kerry Spence, or follow the Council's CLD team on Facebook.