There were smiles and some wonderful surprises as the winners of the South Ayrshire Youth Forum Awards were announced at the annual awards ceremony last week.
This is the seventh year of these prestigious awards and this time round there were 150 nominations leading to 43 finalists who all waited with bated breath as the winners of each of the 15 categories were announced.
All of those up for an award are between 14 and 25 and live in South Ayrshire. Each individual or group have excelled in art, sport, entertainment or have gone out of their way to help others.
The winners were:
Entertainment - AYR ACADEMY CHOIR
Sustainability - SOUTHCRAIG SENIOR PUPILS
Citizenship - KIERAN ROBB
Unsung Hero - YOUNG ADULT CARERS
Art - LUCY PYE
Health - KYLE ACADEMY PEER EDUCATORS
Personal Achievement in Sport - JACK BROUN
Helping the Community in Sport - ALEX GALLOWAY
Volunteering - ROBYN MCGEORGE
Democracy - KAI GREEN
Learning and Development - ZOE HOPKINS
Paid Staff Award - SASHA BROWN
Volunteer Staff Award - EMMA HYSLOP
SAYF Member of the year - JESSICA HARTSHORN
Young Star of the Year - KAI GREEN
Community Involvement - TROY CLARK
Kai Green was named Young Star of the Year and won the award in the Democracy category. Kai has served as a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for two years and has made it his mission to make the voices of young people heard and to promote democracy — the award recognises this tireless ambition.
Four senior pupils at Southcraig School were top of the class in the Sustainability category. The group took part in the Provost's School Footprint Challenge which encourages schools to get more sustainable. Our winners took part in numerous activities including recycling, energy saving projects, planting trees and gardening — making a big difference in and around the school.
The Volunteer Staff award was collected by Emma Hyslop. Emma goes out of her way to ensure the young people she works with feel respected, comfortable and are able to be who they want to be. She has been a key worker for LGBT Youth Scotland and rarely misses a chance to get involved.
Alex Galloway won the Helping the Community in Sport category. As a dancer she has delivered over 50 hours of sessions to primary schools and always has an excellent rapport with young people. Alex takes time to listen to the young people she teaches and builds their confidence as well as their dancing skills.
In the volunteering category, Robyn McGeorge came out on top. Robyn started out attending the Z1 Girls Group but before long became a dedicated volunteer clocking up over 200 hours of volunteering. Robyn fits in all this hard work around her studies and is a well-deserved winner.
Councillor Margaret Toner, Lifelong Learning Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "It was an honour to attend these awards and hear first-hand how young people are making such a big difference in our communities. The word that comes to mind is 'inspirational' and I would like congratulate all the winners and everyone nominated….I'm sure everyone will keep up the good work"
Codie Hodge, Chair of the South Ayrshire Youth Forum said: "It was a great awards ceremony and a golden opportunity to highlight all the innovative ways that young people across South Ayrshire are changing communities for the better. All those nominated were winners and I hope that many more young people follow in their footsteps. Even just doing a little can achieve a lot."