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Community / Young folk celebrated at annual volunteering awards

NEARLY 70 young volunteers were honoured at the Shetland Saltire Youth Volunteering Awards ceremony earlier this week.

The annual event, held at Mareel on Monday, took place in person for the first time since 2019.

The 67 young people, aged between 12 and 25, received a total of 125 certificates between them.

This recognised the 10,000-plus hours of volunteering they had collectively taken part in throughout the year with 25 different local groups, schools and organisations.

The Saltire Awards is a national scheme designed to recognise and reward the commitment young people make to volunteering in their community.

They are locally managed by Voluntary Action Shetland (VAS), are recognised nationally by colleges, universities employers and they are a valuable addition to any CV.

VAS chair Willie Shannon said during his opening speech: “It is fantastic to see the first Saltire Awards event since 2019 and to celebrate young people being recognised for volunteering in the community.

“The efforts and achievements of the young volunteers has been a shining light as we come out of the pandemic and inspires all of us for the future.”

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart presented certificates to the volunteers – including two Saltire Summit awards, which recognises outstanding contribution.

VAS youth volunteering support worker Lavinia Schmidt said there were many different activities volunteers took part in during the last year.

These included assisting the running of groups such as charities, sports clubs, youth clubs, uniformed groups and other recreational organisations.

During the event Schmidt also added that volunteering had to change massively during the past two years.

“Restrictions and lockdown inspired many people who had never volunteered before to help others, but it also meant that many opportunities had to stop or change to a different format,” she said.

“Now, it is great to see the community finally able to get back together again.”