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Ballymena volunteers make an impact with launch of new awards programme

Pictured launching the awards are (L-R) young volunteers Chris Chambers, Emma Greer, Eva Moroza and Volunteer Now's Chief Executive, Denise Hayward.

Local participants encourage young people to volunteer ahead of new awards launch.

Young volunteers from Ballymena and across Northern Ireland have come together with Volunteer Now, the lead organisation for promoting and supporting volunteering across the region, to launch the all-new Impact Awards, which aim to support, encourage and reward those who make a standout contribution.

The newly revitalised and refreshed programme aims to encourage and reward even more young volunteers aged 25 and under and facilitate a pathway to achieving the coveted accolade of 200 Hours Award of Excellence.

Backed by Education Minister Peter Weir MLA, the Volunteer Now Impact Awards were officially launched as part of a Power of Youth Day webinar, led by Volunteer Now in celebration of Volunteers’ Week 2021, which runs from 1-7 June.

The annual UK-wide event recognises the contribution that volunteers make to communities every day and celebrates the work of local heroes, whilst showcasing the wide range of volunteering opportunities on offer to encourage more people to get involved.

Pictured launching the awards are young volunteers (L-R) Eva Moroza, Padraig Gribbin and Emma Greer.

Denise Hayward, Chief Executive Officer of Volunteer Now said:

“Our youth volunteers make up a significant portion of our membership base and at least 350 member organisations involve young volunteers in some way, from young leaders or coaches to fundraisers, mentors, environmentalists, youth advocates, retail support and many more.

“The Volunteer Now Impact Awards remains the flagship programme in Northern Ireland to support young people in reaching their volunteering goals. We’ve taken on board feedback from young volunteers and volunteer-involving organisations throughout the region to adapt the programme over the years and with the help of our Youth Forum we’re honoured to now launch the new look Volunteer Now Impact Awards.”

The Volunteer Now Impact Awards 2021 replaces the historical Millennium Volunteers programme which has supported over 46,000 young people in volunteer placement, education, training and reward recognition since 1999.

“We hope that this exciting new programme will encourage even more young people to consider volunteering and raise awareness of the benefits that being involved can bring, from enhancing future career and study prospects, to increasing confidence, learning leadership and communication skills and of course making new friends”, said Denise.

The Volunteer Now Impact Awards continues to promote the key principles of its legacy programme including offering a wide range of high quality, diverse opportunities and an inclusive approach for young people to participate in activity designed to meet the needs of local communities.

Since the programme first began, more than 12,570 young volunteers across Northern Ireland have achieved their 200 Hours Awards of Excellence.

Pictured launching the awards are young volunteers (L-R) Eva Moroza, Edel Markin, Padraig Gribbin, Chris Chambers, Danielle Aleria and Emma Greer.

Speaking about the new programme, local Youth Forum member Emma Greer said:

“After more than 20 years of Millennium Volunteers, the Youth Forum felt it was time to reinvigorate the programme and give it a new lease of life for the next generation of volunteers. For any young person out there keen to get into volunteering, the Volunteer Now Impact Awards will open up a whole world of opportunity, both in terms of personal development and for future careers or further study.

“Volunteer Now’s online volunteering platform is easy to use and allows young volunteers to build their profile and match up with a volunteer-involving organisation based on personal interests, so it’s a great way to discover what opportunities are out there for you.”

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