By LISA WARD
VOLUNTEER Centre Shetland (VCS) held its sixth annual MV Awards ceremony last Thursday, presenting 16 to 25 year olds with certificates celebrating their completion of 50, 100 and 200 hours of volunteering.
The event, which took place at the Shetland Museum and Archives before an invited audience, was presided over by Eliot Stark, the elected chair of the Partnership Management Group of Volunteer Centre Network Scotland (VCNS) and Manager of Volunteer Development East Lothian.
Mr Stark, who the previous day had been re-elected as Chair of VCNS, said that he was delighted to be in Shetland to present the awards.
He said that it was a pleasure to be part of a positive news story about young people rather than a negative one.
He added: “Sometimes I think we hear too many negative things about young people and we miss out on positive news stories such as this one.
Gwen Williamson, Youth Volunteering Development Worker at VCS, said: “Although I have only been in post for two weeks I have already been impressed by the value placed by those working with young people on the MV Awards, and the enthusiasm of the young people themselves.”
She said: “This isn’t just a box that’s been ticked, this award shows that the young person who receives it is a little bit special; offering a potential employer or college the extra something they are often looking for.
Mrs Williamson added that she would be delighted to talk to any young person who was thinking about volunteering, and to help them find the best role for them which suits their interests and aspirations.
The young volunteers receiving awards came from all over the Isles, from Walls to Whalsay and Unst to Sandwick, and had volunteered in various different sectors from providing classroom support in primary schools to helping out at the agricultural shows.
Anona Hughson, 25, of Unst, received a 200-hour Award for Excellence for her volunteering with the Baltasound Hall and the Brownies.
Ms Hughson, who began volunteering after a friend who was going away for a year asked her to stand in for her in post at the Brownies, said: “I was very happy to get an award. I heard about the MV Awards from my friend who got one, and thought it would be a good idea to apply too because it would look impressive on my CV.”
In total, 20 young volunteers were awarded with MVs bringing the total of such awards gained in Shetland to date to 73 for 50 hours, 46 for 100 hours and 31 for 200 hours.
The presentation was followed by music by Jillian Isbister and food was provided.
Volunteering coordinator at VCS, Sue Beer, said that the staff at the Volunteer Centre would be happy to talk to anyone interested in volunteering, regardless of their age. She said that no experience was necessary and staff could help to match individuals to the best opportunity to suit their needs.
She added: “Volunteers who think they might be eligible for an MV Award should also get in touch.”
To find out more contact Volunteer Centre Shetland on (01595) 743910.