Hundreds of young people and youth organisations from Dumfries and Galloway gathered in Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries last Thursday to take part in the region’s annual youth awards ceremony.

The venue was adorned with crystal lights, a white carpet walkway, and a giant igloo as part of the ‘winter’ theme that created a very special platform to showcase and celebrate the amazing talents and achievements of our local young people and groups.

The evening began with an energetic performance by Dumfries School of Dance followed by opening remarks from Lindsay Thomson on behalf of Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council.

After the audience enjoyed a gala dinner, John Loughton, CEO of national organisation Dare2Lead delivered a keynote speech in which he praised the breadth and quality of youth work in Dumfries and Galloway.

The audience then heard the remarkable and inspirational stories of the 24 finalists, who were shortlisted from over 200 nominations with the final eight announced on the night. The winners of the categories were:

Sport – Lucy Gaw, Port William
Equality – Connor Johnstone, Annan
Enterprise and Regeneration – Back to School One Stop Shop, Dumfries
Health and Wellbeing – Hannah Jack,
Participation – Hannah Birse, Creetown
Culture – Tara Burnett, Newton Stewart
Youth Work Excellence – Moffat Warhammer Group

Following a live audience vote on the evening, Tara Burnett was awarded the ‘Young Person of the Year 2019’ award.

Alison Johnstone, a volunteer from Dumfries was awarded Youth Worker/Leader of the year in recognition of her invaluable service and commitment to youth projects including The Toon, Oasis Youth Centre and the Global Education Project.

Citizenship awards were presented to individuals who had been nominated by their school or youth project in recognition of their hard work, determination and positive impact on their community.

The certificates were awarded to;

Stephen McCormack – Wigtownshire
Robbie Mann – Douglas Ewart High School
Nathan Cloy – Dumfries Academy
Meg Ayres – Stewartry
Cameron Barrnett – St Joseph’s College
Roxanne Wilson – Wigtownshire
Alexander Bettaney – Wallace Hall Academy

The evening was brought to a close by Dumfries and Galloway’s Young Peoples Champion, Councillor Adam Wilson. In his address reflected on key youth work achievements in 2019 and congratulated the youth work sector in Dumfries and Galloway for continuing to deliver high quality and sector leading youth work opportunities in our region.

Speaking after the event, Councillor Wilson said;

“The Youth Awards was a fun-filled evening celebrating the value, diversity and vitality of youth work in Dumfries and Galloway. The stories and journeys of the young people who received awards are inspirational and I am extremely proud of their achievements. Youth work is happening in all of our communities, towns and villages in Dumfries and Galloway, and as a region we should be proud of that.”

The Dumfries and Galloway Youth Awards were fully funded by the National Lottery and The Crichton Trust.