Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South Bridget Phillipson has presented eleven members of the Box Youth Project in Sunderland with the prestigious Platinum Youth Achievement Award, the highest nationally recognised award awarded by UK Youth.
In the summer of 2013, the eleven young people began working to raise funds and develop skills needed to undertake a volunteering experience in The Gambia. Over fifteen months each of them successfully raised the funds (£1300) needed to participate in the experience.
Alongside organising several fundraising activities and events, the volunteers met each week to develop skills they would need for their work out in Gambia.
All of the young people completed awards in first aid and sports leadership and planned many activities in weekly meetings to share with children in Gambian schools. They also worked tirelessly on packing donations for a 40′ container that was shipped out to Gambia with funds that had been raised as a group.
Finally, in October 2014 the volunteers set off for Gambia. Over a two week period decorated the external walls of the local primary school, emptied and distributed the contents of the 40′ container, organised an arts and crafts event for local orphans, a school sports day for a primary school and helped to clear land in the Kajabang Womens garden.
Bridget also presented a number of other youngsters with Volunteering Awards and Careers and Experiencing Work awards.
Speaking after the awards, Bridget said:
“It was an honour to be here today to present these inspirational young people with their much deserved Platinum Youth Achievement Awards, Volunteering Awards and Careers and Experiencing Work Awards.
“The young people who have received a Platinum Youth Award experienced so much during their time in Gambia.
“They have organised community events and activities, supported the delivery of our junior youth work programmes, represented the youth project at meetings, seminars, helped with maintenance of the youth building, continued to collect, sort and pack donations for Project Gambia.
“When they weren’t working in Gambia they were spending time with Gambian young people and finding out about the way they live, their religion, their family values, health and education.
“All the young people who received an award today are a credit to the city, their own communities, their families and most of all a credit to themselves.
“I hope that they will inspire many other young people to get involved in volunteering and help enrich their communities. They have certainly inspired me.”