The charity Disability Shetland made history this week – as the first organisation named a two-time winner at the eighth annual Shetland Youth Volunteer Awards.
A civic reception to recognise the occasion was hosted at Mareel in Lerwick on Monday by Shetland Islands Council deputy convener Beatrice Wishart.
This year the planning committee received 38 nominations over the three award categories, “Organisation”, “One Team” and “Individual Young Volunteer of the Year”.
A series of posters were on display in the auditorium to greet attendees, highlighting each of the nominees’ volunteering achievements. This supported the judges’ claim that this had been one of the most difficult years to date to select a shortlist and winner in each category.
Guests were treated to canapes from Hel’s Kitchen and musical entertainment from young musician Sarah Thompson, before taking their seats for the official opening of the event.
Compere Caroline Moyes introduced MSP Tavish Scott to open the event and issue certificates to all of the nominees in each of the three categories.
Voluntary Action Shetland chairwoman Marilyn Stewart took the stage to present the organisation trophy. She expressed her delight that VAS was once again involved in such a worthy event before wishing the eight nominees luck.
Disability Shetland, Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, Shetland Befriending Scheme and Shetland Pony Riding School were the shortlisted nominations with Disability Shetland was named winner – making history as the first two-time winner of the award.
The One Team group of volunteers category was up next. Ian Lister of co-sponsor BP expressed his delight that they were once again involved such a fantastic event supporting young volunteers and in particular the 12 teams of volunteers who had been nominated this year.
The Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Shetland, Open Peer Educators, Shetland Budokai Karate volunteers and Virtually Safe Virtually Sound, were announced as the shortlist. It was then revealed that Virtually Safe Virtually Sound, a youth project set up to tackle issues relating to internet and digital media safety, was the winner.
The final award was the individual volunteer category.
Congratulations to all of our winners and to everyone who was nominated and thank you to everyone involved in such a fantastic celebration of youth volunteering. BEATRICE WISHART
Rotary Club president Stuart Boocock took to the stage and expressed his pride that his organisation was once again able to be involved.
Sarah Hazell, Imogen Leslie, Lailey Sinclair and Nethan Watson were announced on the shortlist before Mr Watson, a volunteer with Fast Football and Wast Linga Ramblers, was announced the overall winner of the individual category.
Ms Wishart closed the ceremony. She thanked VAS, BP and the Rotary Club for once again supporting the ceremony, all of the nominators and acknowledged the nominees for all that their voluntary efforts had achieved.
Youth volunteering development worker Neil Pearson said later: “We [the awards committee] were astounded by the quality of nominations this year. It really did come to the wire in all three categories and that is testament to the real difference these volunteers and their supervisors are making to our small community.
“Congratulations to all of our winners and to everyone who was nominated and thank you to everyone involved in such a fantastic celebration of youth volunteering.”
VAS executive officer Catherine Hughson added: “[It was] another fantastic night to celebrate volunteering. It always amazes me the commitment of these young people and the difference they make to their communities and the organisations they support. A huge well done to everybody involved.”
The 38 posters displayed during the event will be on display in Islesburgh Community Centre from 1st to 15th December before they will be given as a gift to each of the nominees.