Celebrating Ayrshire’s youth

Young people from across South Ayrshire were honoured at the South Ayrshire Youth Forum (SAYF) Awards 2013, which recognise, celebrate and reward their achievements. The awards ceremony took place in Troon Concert Hall.

Earlier this 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 years of age and living in South Ayrshire was eligible for nomination by the public, their peers, members of the their community in one of ten categories: Community Involvement; Learning and Development; Entertainment and Arts; Citizenship; Volunteering; Health; Democracy; Environment; Unsung Hero and Sport.

A panel of experienced youth workers assessed the nominations and selected the winners.

Councillor Margaret Toner, Lifelong Learning Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council who opened the awards ceremony said: “The youth forum is a great organisation, it gives young people a voice in their local community and beyond.

“For the 2013 finalists to have been selected from nearly 200 nominees is truly remarkable.

“Hearing of what adversities have been overcome, how much young people give to others, and how eager they are to do so, it really makes you realise how lucky we are in South Ayrshire to have such determined people in our communities.”

The invited guests and finalists at the award ceremony were entertained by Lars Robertson who played the violin and Ayr Academy choir.

The South Ayrshire Youth Forum winners 2013 are:

Community Involvement – Claire Brayan

Claire Bryan from Kirmichael is school captain at Carrick Academy and plays an active role in several school committees as well as representing the school at Maybole Community Council and is the official yearbook photographer. She is involved in fundraising for the Vine Trust and travelled to Peru for three weeks to work with abandoned street boys. Claire also recently gained her Young Leadership qualification in Girl Guiding and is working towards her Queens Guide Award. Claire is considered to be a fantastic role model for her school and local community.

Learning and Development – Matthew Wyllie

Matthew Wyllie has shown dedication and loyalty as a ward volunteer at The Ayrshire Hospice. He has made good use of his qualification and skills to deliver training courses in Infection Control and Food Hygiene within the education section department and is a benefit to the Hospice staff.

Entertainment and Arts – Ayr Academy Choir

Ayr Academy Choir from Ayr has performed at numerous events including the Jai McDowall concert at the Magnum in Irvine, the switching on of the Christmas lights at Yorkhill Hospital and smaller events for local churches and nursing homes. They are involved in fundraising for Yorkhill hospital and the Pusong Penoy charity and sponsored schooling for a pupil in the Philippines.

Citizenship –

Simon Gilbert

Simon Gilbert from Ayr - has volunteered with the Air Training Corps for three years supporting the organisation whilst completing an honours degree and working part time. Simon unconditionally puts the young people in the squadron before himself and is never too busy to give advice or listen to a problem.

Volunteering –

Angus Leslie

Angus Leslie from Ayr has been a volunteer at an Active Futures sports club for the past two years which works with members with very complex needs. He is an asset to the club who is loved by all the members. Angus is also a key member of Wellington School’s 6th Year fund raising team and during free periods at school mentors pupils in science classes.

Health –

STEP Step into Sport

STEP into Sport from Ayr is a course that was developed to enhance young people’s participation in sport and physical activity while giving them the skills to deliver a range of activities and the motivation to live a healthier, more active lifestyle. In the past two years 21 young people gained a variety of qualifications which have helped them to progress on to either volunteer coaching or employment.

Democracy –

Nicola Black and Lyndsey Bicker

Nicola Black and Lyndsey Bicker from Prestwick have both worked hard at overcoming dyslexia. They now work with Prestwick Academy Pupil Support Department to promote the Dyslexia Friendly School message by speaking to groups of teachers in various schools and have also delivered school assemblies on the topic.

Environment –

Steven Fitzsimmons

Steven Fitzsimmons from Mossblown is involved in youth work and volunteering programmes through Community Learning and Development, Community Safety and STEP. He has worked on projects such as Hoodies with Goodies, litter picking and a graffiti initiative. Through a STEP placement with Ayr Renaissance Team he showed a willingness to make a difference to the local town by being involved in clean ups and painting in the town centre. Since engaging with STEP Steven has now gained a Modern Apprenticeship with the South Ayrshire Council roads section.

Unsung Hero –

Caitlyn McVittie

Caitlyn McVittie from Ayr is regarded within school and the wider community as an ambassador for her peers. Caitlyn is Depute Head Girl at Queen Margaret Academy and supports pupils within classes who may have a difficulty accessing the curriculum. She is a member of the Peer Education Group and leads and participates in many school clubs including rugby where her team had national success. She has lunch every day with

pupils from our most vulnerable group, within the supported learning centre and provides them with a forum to give their views an engage them with the rest of the school.

Sport –

Gavin Drysdale

Gavin Drysdale from Ayr has won four gold medals and set four world records in this year’s IWAS 2013 World Games in the sport of race running and has been unbeaten for three years. Despite the considerable challenges he faces living with cerebal palsy he is an outstanding role model.

SAYF Member of the year – Kirsty McCahill

Kirsty McCahill from Ayr is a team player and does a lot for the youth forum. She is also a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament where she speaks well at debates and always has an input.

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.”

Councillor Toner added: “We must continue to listen to young people, 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.”

The Forum plays an important part in promoting the views of all young people in South Ayrshire.

To find out more about the South Ayrshire Youth Forum log on to the website at www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/youthforum .