24th Apr 2012
Youth strategy ‘will encourage more volunteering and leadership schemes’
The Department of Education’s new Priorities for Youth policy will encourage the youth service to provide young people with positive volunteering and leadership opportunities, according to Minister John O’Dowd.
He was addressing at a recent event in Armagh where he presented certificates to recipients of the Millennium Volunteers Awards of Excellence.
Speaking after the ceremony, the Minister said: “I welcome the opportunity to attend this ceremony and present these well deserved certificates.
Volunteering is a wonderful activity that anyone can do and gives you back just as much as you put in.
“The initiative that the young people receiving certificates have shown through volunteering will be of great benefit to them in the future. Each of them is proof that young people are committed, hardworking individuals who will help others when given an opportunity to do so.
Volunteering for 200 hours within a 12-month period is quite an achievement and one to be proud of and commended.”
Millennium Volunteers (MV) make their commitment through a volunteer plan that involves 50, 100 or 200 hours of voluntary service in a 12-month period.
As 200 hours is such a major commitment, it is celebrated by the awarding of a Certificate of Excellence.
The Minister continued: “It is essential that we provide resources to enable young people to participate in activities that are positive, stimulating and enjoyable. I want volunteering opportunities to be made available to as wide a cross section of young people as possible, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“That is why my Department is in the process of developing a new policy called Priorities for Youth. This new policy will encourage the youth service to provide young people with positive volunteering and leadership opportunities. The MV programme is an excellent example of a project which provides such opportunities.
“I would like to thank Volunteer Now and its delivery partners for supporting and encouraging the young people and ensuring that they were provided with interesting and fulfilling placements.
I would also like to thank the volunteers for offering up their time for the benefit of others and hope that the certificates they have received will serve as a reminder of their experience and the positive impact they have made.”