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Voluntary Action Shetland

Shetland Youth Volunteering Awards 2010

The first Shetland Youth Volunteering Awards, sponsored by Voluntary Action Shetland and the Rotary Club of Shetland, were held at the Town Hall on 26th October 2010; to celebrate 'Make a Difference Day', the UK's biggest day of volunteering.

The winner of the organisation/group category was Michaelswood in Aith; the winner of the individual category was Emily Shaw (17) of Shetland Youth Voice.

All photos: Roy Longmuir.

Shetland Youth Volunteering Awards 2010
Shetland Youth Volunteering Awards 2010

Of the original eight organisations nominated, the judging panel had eventually decided on a short list of three. They were:

  • Cope Ltd
  • Michaelswood in Aith and
  • Shetland Amateur Swimming Club.

The 20 individual nominees had been narrowed down to a short list of five:

  • Eilidh Malcolmson (Sandwick Youth and Community Centre)
  • Danny Peterson (Delting Football Club)
  • Emily Shaw (Shetland Youth Voice)
  • Chloe Warner (Hame fae Hame Nursery) and
  • Norman Willmore (Aith Church organist and musician at charity events).
Nicole Mouat & Emily Shaw
Nicole Mouat & Emily Shaw

Emily Shaw, winner of the individual award, volunteers with Shetland Youth Voice. The judges felt she had shown a strong commitment to her volunteering role, which includes being the chairperson of Shetland Youth Voice. She regularly participates both within and outwith the isles, to ensure that the views of young people are heard.  Emily had made significant use of her own skills and abilities through volunteering and has shown personal growth within her role.  Through volunteering, her work is benefiting others and is making a sustainable difference. In addition, her bubbly personality means young people find her approachable and this enables their voice to be heard.

Tavish Scott MSP and Ray Ferrie, Michael's Wood
Tavish Scott MSP and Ray Ferrie, Michael's Wood

Winner of the organisation category, Michaelswood, in Aith, was founded by the Ferrie family – Ray, Bettie and Alan – in memory of their son and brother Michael. It is a scenic wooded area with paths and features of special interest, such as a Teddy Bear’s Picnic, charming seated areas, children’s play sections, a pond and a bird hide. It had received two separate nominations and was chosen due to the range of opportunities it offers. It works in partnership with a whole range of agencies and is used by school groups, nursery children and children with additional support needs for recreational and educational purposes. The community-led project also raises awareness of nature and the environment and allows access to these. It is open all year round, is free of charge to all visitors and offers sustainable opportunities for youth volunteering.

For the last few years the Ferrie family have opened the wood to Bridges students, who volunteer there every summer. The students benefit from the hands-on experience and new skills gained, but also from the support and guidance given by the Ferrie family. 

Peter Malcolmson, Chair, Voluntary Action Shetland
Peter Malcolmson, Chair, Voluntary Action Shetland

VAS chairman of the board of directors Peter Malcolmson said the evening had provided an opportunity to reward and thank those involved in helping to support young volunteers. “Young folk in Shetland are playing a vital part in their communities and it’s good to acknowledge that” he said. He added that this had been an inaugural year for the awards scheme but he was looking forward to it becoming an annual event from now on.

Martin Nicolson, President, Rotary Club of Shetland
Martin Nicolson, President, Rotary Club of Shetland

Shetland Rotary Club president Martin Nicolson said the awards were new and exciting, and volunteering tied into the Rotary Club’s own principles of giving time to others, which allowed the beneficiaries quality of life to be improved. He thanked Shetland Islands Council, who hosted the award ceremony, for recognising the importance of youth volunteering.

Nicole Mouat MSYP & Tavish Scott MSP
Nicole Mouat MSYP & Tavish Scott MSP

MSP Tavish Scott said young people had shown “the future was alive and strong” in Shetland. He had spent the day volunteering with Cope Ltd as his contribution to Make A Difference Day, and had found it to a very inspiring experience. He added that it was important to those being helped by volunteering to be allowed to keep their dignity and he had seen that in action through his own volunteering experiences. He added the SYVA ceremony was an occasion where “we can celebrate the achievements of the nominees” and recognise how important volunteering was in Shetland.

MSYP Nicole Mouat said a young person volunteering was showing commitment to their community. “Around a quarter of young people who volunteer, do so every week,” she added.

Catherine Hughson, Executive Officer, Voluntary Action Shetland
Catherine Hughson, Executive Officer, Voluntary Action Shetland

VAS executive officer Catherine Hughson said Shetland has always been in the top three areas for volunteering and said volunteering has always been a way of life in Shetland. Indeed, she said, many people have been volunteering for years without any recognition and things in Shetland would be very different if it were not for those doing unpaid work and cited community halls as a prime example. She was particularly pleased to see young people being recognised and pointed out that many employers nowadays are recognising voluntary work as an important element to consider when looking for employees.

Catherine Hughson, Iain Tulloch & Tom Macintyre
Catherine Hughson, Iain Tulloch & Tom Macintyre

Rotarian Tom Macintyre of the judging panel explained that the award was launched with the hope that it would help “to encourage a culture of volunteering from an early age and to sustain volunteering as a life-long commitment”.   He added that the panel had all found the task of deciding on the winners to be an “immensely rewarding experience” but one which had been very difficult, given the quality of the entries. The entries had shown the breadth and scale of youth volunteering throughout Shetland, and had varied from areas such as care support, the environment, music, politics, sport and the arts to a variety of workplaces.  Tom is Chair of the Rotary Club of Shetland's Youth Committee, and his work with co-Rotarian Catherine Hughson instigated ideas of the Awards. 

Tamson Jack and Bobby Sutherland
Tamson Jack and Bobby Sutherland
Music for the evening was provided by Tamson Jack and Bobby Sutherland.
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