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Larne teenager urges others to give volunteering a go!

Sophia Woods (in yellow) of The Prom Friendship Groupwith the Volunteer Team, Mayor Gerardine Mulvenna and visitors, receiving a fundraising cheque.


A County Antrim teenager is urging other young people to 'give volunteering a go' after experiencing the immense benefits that can be enjoyed from helping others and making an impact in the local community.


Sophia Woods, who lives in Larne, has found the perfect volunteering fit for herself as part The Prom Friendship Group which was established in the town by Larne businesswoman Louise Magill, in 2012.



The Prom Friendship Group provides a Dementia-friendly space which has proven to be an asset in the lives of the local community. With the valuable support of the Alzheimer’s Society, they meet once a month for local people who suffer from Dementia and to support their Carers.  


Volunteer contribution is vital to the running of the group and local teen, and Sophia has been volunteering with the group since 2022.  


The teenager has enjoyed making a valuable contribution to the committee, events planning, artwork design, fundraising ideas and supporting Dementia sufferers and their carers at support meetings, where music, activities, singing and food provision have all been in her role within the team.  



Sophia said:


“Thinking of requirements for the Duke of Edinburgh Award it first introduced me to what volunteering activities were available in Larne. The Prom Friendship Group is a vital service provided to sufferers and carers of those with Dementia and I immediately enjoyed the support I was able to give to others.  


"People attend from the town and the rural areas around Larne and from along the Antrim Coast.  


"After the 3 months required for my award in volunteering, I was keen to continue to contribute to my local community, I volunteer regularly, and I have been trained as a Dementia Awareness Friend by Mid & East Antrim Borough Council. I would encourage anyone in a position to do so– to give volunteering a go!”



Volunteering adds, often unmeasurable value to the local community and can enrich personal development and wellbeing. Providing a greater path into community citizenship, volunteering as a youth can lead to greater contentment, benefit from nurturing from experienced volunteers and provide valuable experience in team work, initiative and interpersonal skills that a future employer is very interested in.


Wenda Gray, Volunteering Support Officer at Volunteer Now commented:


“Sophia has set an example to others in that she gave volunteering a go and has now made a personal commitment to her local community, where they, and she will benefit greatly.



"Volunteer Now is the lead organisation for promoting and supporting volunteering across Northern Ireland.  We build recognition for volunteering and celebrate the contribution volunteers make. Everyone, whether a volunteer or thinking of starting out is encouraged to take part in Volunteer Week on its’ 40th Year during the week 3rd - 9th June 2024.”

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