Shining Lights in South Ayrshire

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Written by South Ayrshire Youth Forum on in Strathclyde and West

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The winners of the South Ayrshire Youth Forum (SAYF) Awards 2012, which recognise, celebrate and reward the achievements of  young people in South Ayrshire, were revealed at an awards ceremony in Troon Concert Hall in December 2012. Truth About Youth were invited along to film the event and engage with those in attendance about the role the young people are playing in South Ayrshire and also the impact these positive contributions were having on the perception of young people in the region.

Earlier in the year, people were asked to nominate a young person in South Ayrshire who has left a lasting impression on them, be it a young carer, a youth volunteer, a person with outstanding artistic talent or someone who has overcome adversity. Anyone aged between 14 and 25 and living in South Ayrshire was eligible for nomination in one of nine categories: Sport, Democracy and Citizenship; Health; Entertainment and Arts; Environment; Volunteering; Community Involvement; Unsung Hero and SAYF Member (which was open to Youth Forum members only). A panel of experienced youth workers assessed the nominations and selected the winners.

Councillor Margaret Toner, Lifelong Learning Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council, said: “These awards recognise the achievements of remarkable young people living in South Ayrshire. I am always amazed at the things that young people achieve. These days, quite rightly, young people have a strong voice, through organisations such as the South Ayrshire Youth Forum. It is important that we listen, and learn from young people, who have so much enthusiasm and energy to give to your communities.”

The finalists and guests at the award ceremony were entertained by live music from Jamie Candlish who played the electric fiddle, Maria McGough who played the piano and Jamie McGeechan a singer song writer and talented guitarist.

Here you can read more about the South Ayrshire Youth Forum winners 2012.

Sport: Kayleigh Haggo 

 Kayleigh competes in both race running and swimming and recently bet her own record in race running at the Paralympic Committee Youth Games. She has also been selected to compete in the Scottish Junior National Championships for Physically Disabled and Sensory Impaired Swimmers and does not let the effects of suffering for cerebal palsy hold her back.

Community Involvement: Maria McGough

Maria dedicates her time to being involved in positive community action. She is the chair of South Ayrshire Youth Forum and helps to lead a journalism group in her local library and teaches young people piano. Maria is an inspiration as she does all this while being a full time student.

 Unsung hero: Arran Sym

When Arran found a man lying unconscious in the park he phoned an ambulance and waited with the man until they came.

Democracy and Citizenship: Stephanie Kane

Stephanie took part in a Girl Guiding Scotland project which enables young women to experience life in Ghana. Stephanie’s ability to work as part of a team at training days and her enthusiasm for the opportunity meant she was one of only four young people from Scotland to be selected to take part. She was able to successfully raise £950 to cover the cost of the trip through fundraising activities in her community. On her return Stephanie gave education talks to other Girl Guides.

Health: Queen Margaret Cluster Heartstart

The Queen Margaret Cluster Heartstart group is supported by the British Heart Foundation. The skills that the senior pupil facilitators pass on to people really help to save lives.

Volunteering: Caron Elliott

Caron has devoted her life for the past two years to volunteering abroad. She was part of a team who went to Nepal to help build a secondary school and went to Malawi where she led a woman’s group to raise awareness of HIV. Prior to this she spent a month volunteering in Southern Italy working with the elderly. Currently she is working in an orphanage in Moldova and will be moving on to work in a woman’s rights group.

Environment: Children and Families Disability Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Group

Young people in this group transformed the raised bed and the front of the John Pollock Centre in Ayr as part of their bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. They also visited South Craig school sensory garden and prepared in for the pupils returning from summer holiday. The team have over came their own difficulties to help others.

Entertainment and Arts: Anna Sweeney

Anna took up music in 2011 and in this short space of time she has been nominted for a West FM Cream of Ayrshire Award, reached the semi finals of Open Mic UK, played festivals, support artists, acquired a backing band and filmed four of her own songs for BBC’s Real TV. She has released a self penned EP with record label ACRE and has had her music played on over 20 different radio stations.

Youth Forum member: Cameron Fong

Cameron has proved to be a very talented and well rounded person within the youth forum. He takes part in a range of activities and is very skilled at organising and delivering workshops.

Councillor Toner added: “There are so many young people doing so many good things in our communities that we should all be proud of.

“The South Ayrshire Youth Forum is a great organisation that gives young people a voice in their local community and beyond.

“We must continue to listen to young people, as you are our future and all the generations must work together to ensure that together we build strong, healthy and happy communities across South Ayrshire.”

Maria McGough, Chair of the SAYF said: “The South Ayrshire Youth Forum Awards bring together and showcase the very best examples of the achievements and efforts of 14-25 year olds within South Ayrshire. I am amazed and inspired by our award winners – I am truly proud to be a young person in South Ayrshire and Chairperson of the Youth Forum.”

The Truth About Youth in South Ayrshire is simple: the vast majority are active citizens who are making positive contributions to their communities whether it be through sports, music, environmental work or charity work. These are the sort of stories we should be hearing about Scotland’s young people. There will always be young people who do things wrong. This is a fact of life. But, there will always be far more young people doing positive things. Let’s talk about the positive achievements of young people and celebrate the impact they are making, not just in South Ayrshire but across Scotland.

Check out our video from the event.

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