The first annual Bournemouth Young Volunteer Awards was held at the Life Centre in Winton where an audience of over 250 youth and adults recognised the valuable contribution made by young people volunteering within the community.
The Bournemouth Young Volunteer Award was launched in August 2013 and organised through a partnership initiative with the Bournemouth Integrated Youth Services, Bournemouth Council for Voluntary Service and Bournemouth 2026 Trust. Since its launch the scheme has issued over 561 certificates to 548 young people aged 13 – 19 recognising over 15,000 hours of volunteering within their local community.
Organisations showcased in the evening hosted by Helen Hender and Josh Constantine included Dance Bytes Back, National Citizens Scheme, YMCA Team and Young Citizens, LV=Streetwise, Chatterboxes, West Howe Players, Bournemouth Community Church, Integrated Youth Service and Bournemouth Vineyard Church.
Yasmine, a volunteer from the National Citizen’s Scheme said, “The more you give, the more you get back.”
Volunteering helps youth to gain skills and experience that are valuable as they move into the workforce. It proves how committed they are to learning and is a great addition on a CV. An extra benefit is the confidence that volunteering builds in an individual.
Peter Marsh from Bournemouth Integrated Youth Services noted that 40% of youth between the ages of 10-20 take part volunteering in the community. Sixty percent of the organisations are charities or helping those in need including social care, health services, teaching and child care. Of the volunteering youth, 71% say that the main benefit is the enjoyment of helping others.
Renee Soares, the assistant youth pastor of the Bournemouth Vineyard Church said that selflessness was the description that she felt best represented the youth who volunteered for her organisation. “I want to thank them for being ready and willing to help, for being selfless and enthusiastic and for loving other youth.”
The night culminated with the presentation of an award by Phil Ward of Abbey Life Assurance Company, to Ed Coulson from Bournemouth Vineyard for achieving his 500 hours of volunteering.
The Bournemouth Council for Voluntary Service is next pursuing funding to develop a training programme for the young volunteers to provide additional skills to help them in their work.