TWO HUNDRED guests, including 94 volunteers, attended the annual Shetland Saltire Youth Volunteer Awards ceremony in Mareel on Monday night.
The event was hosted by Voluntary Action Shetland (VAS) and saw a record-breaking 163 young volunteers receive a total of 435 certificates ranging from 10 hours to 500 hours for the volunteering they had carried out with 64 different local groups, voluntary organisations and schools.
The Saltire Awards are sponsored by the Scottish Government and are available to volunteers between the ages of 12 and 25.
Following a light buffet and “fantastic” musical entertainment provided by Misbehavin, an enthusiastic and talented jazz group, VAS chairman Alec Miller said the volunteers had completed over 16,400 hours in 2014 – an increase of 5,030 hours on the preceding 12 months.
Miller said more than 25 per cent of Shetland’s high school pupils were now signed up for the Saltire Awards.
Certificates were presented by Shetland MSP Tavish Scott and SIC convener Malcolm Bell.
At the end of the night 17 young volunteers received the accolade of Saltire Summit Awards. It is achieved by volunteers who have been nominated by their supervisor for making an outstanding contribution in addition to their 200 or 500-hour award.
Scott closed the ceremony, saying he was astounded by the unbelievable growth and success of youth volunteering both locally and nationally.
He spoke of a worldwide volunteering effort which had raised awareness and money for motor neuron diseases through the ice-bucket challenge, and acknowledged the efforts of VAS in planning another hugely successful ceremony.
VAS youth development worker Neil Pearson congratulated the volunteers who had contributed towards the record-breaking year.
“It was great to see such a diverse range of volunteers receiving their awards,” he said, offering his thanks to all of the supervisors for supporting their volunteers, and to all the others who had ensured the night was a success
VAS executive officer Catherine Hughson said: “It is so inspirational to see the young volunteers from the length and breadth of Shetland contributing to their communities in such a positive way – congratulations to them all.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about the Saltire Awards can contact VAS youth volunteering development worker Neil Pearson by phone on (01595) 743911 or by emailing: Neil.Pearson@shetland.org