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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Scotland’s best youth workers and organisations named

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The 10th National Youth Worker of the Year Awards recognised the remarkable youth work being done right across Scotland

Thirty-one outstanding youth workers and youth work projects were celebrated at the recent National Youth Worker of the Year Awards.

Organised by youth work agency Youthlink, the awards saw 10 winners crowned and another five long-serving youth workers inducted the charity’s Lifetime Achievers hall of fame.

But it was Laura Campbell of Bellshill YMCA who picked up the top prize of the night at Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza, when she was named Scotland’s National Youth Worker of the Year 2017.

Campbell manages three youth work projects, all with a focus on getting young people back learning and achieving and has had a significant impact in reducing offending rates in North Lanarkshire.

Picking up her award, she said: “For me it is about each individual young person.

“All young people have challenges, some are greater to overcome than others, and that is where youth work really works with young people who are not attending school, struggling with their mental health or just feel lost.

“It’s not about talking, it’s about really listening, that is how you turn someone’s life around and value them.”

The awards in their 10th year recognise the remarkable youth work that is being done right across the nation.

One of the other big winners on the night was Spartans Football Academy in Edinburgh, which picked up an award for improving attainment through sport.

Above: Spartans rocked the red carpet on the way to pick up their award

The largest youth work provider in North Edinburgh, Spartans engages with 1,500 young people every week through a variety of sport and education programmes.

Douglas Samuel who picked up the award on behalf of Spartans said: “We are re-defining what is possible for a football club in terms of youth work and community engagement, using sport to positively influence the lives of young people.”

Supporting young people who are furthest from the jobs market meant national recognition for TD1 Youth Hub in Galashiels. It won a partnership award for its work with Scottish Borders Council.

Picking up Team of the Year was the Airdrie Youth Work Team, based at the @home Youth Centre, in recognition of their work around inclusion, equalities and diversity.

Social worker Jennifer Lafferty picked up the title of Youth Work Champion of the Year. Jennifer works in Community Alternatives, an intensive social work resource for young people who are at risk of being placed in residential care.

Commenting on the awards, Jim Sweeney, chief executive of YouthLink Scotland, said: “Youth work is critical to the success of many young people in Scotland. In every area of the country there are countless examples of people, paid and unpaid who do great work with young people that quite literally changes lives.

“This year’s winners show that when the investment is made in our young people, and they are given the opportunity to learn and grow outside the classroom, their achievement and attainment improves.”

All the winners

Scotland’s best youth workers and organisations named

Full-time Youth Worker of the Year - sponsored by Scottish Fire & Rescue

Graeme Johnston – Arran Youth Foundations

Part-time Youth Worker of the Year - sponsored by Youth Scotland

Hollie Watkins – Arran Youth Foundations

Volunteer Youth Worker of the Year- sponsored by Young Scot

Christine McKillop – The Girl’s Brigade Scotland, North Lanarkshire

Youth Worker Supporting Attainment - sponsored by Education Scotland

Laura Campbell – Bellshill and Mossend YMCA, North Lanarkshire

Team of the Year - sponsored by CLD Standards Council for Scotland

Airdrie Youth Work Team – North Lanarkshire Council

Inspirational Leadership - sponsored by The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scotland

Angela Morrell – North Ayrshire Council

Youth Work Partnership Award - sponsored by Scottish Community Safety Network

TD1 Youth Hub and Scottish Borders Council

Time to Shine Arts & Creativity Award - sponsored by Creative Scotland

#Fresh Creations - Y sort it – West Dunbartonshire

Youth Work Champion of the Year - sponsored by YouthLink Scotland

Jennifer Lafferty – North Lanarkshire Council Social Work Team, North Lanarkshire

Youth Work in Different Settings Award - sponsored by YouthLink Scotland

Spartan’s Community Football Academy – Edinburgh