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High Sheriff's praise for 'fantastic' young people

Some of the "fantastic" work done both by and for young people was highlighted at an awards ceremony hosted by the High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire in Fenland last week (February 11).

High Sheriff Awards 2016

Three winners of this year's High Sheriff Awards - Young People March, Living Sport and the Carers Trust Cambridgeshire - were presented with certificates. A fourth winner, Wisbech Youth Clubs, was unable to attend.

Each has already received a cheque for £650 to support their work.

Representatives of each group receiving an award discussed their work with the High Sheriff and answered questions from the audience about their activities.

The High Sheriff, Captain Victor Lucas RN, said: "Hearing these wonderful stories has certainly been a great reward for me personally. It has been a privilege to be able to explore the fantastic work of all these groups."

Catherine Stewart, a trustee of the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation which administers the annual awards scheme, said: "Young people get a bad press. It's not like that. The other side is represented here and they should all be very proud of themselves."

The High Sheriff's Awards are designed to support projects that have a long-term impact on young people. This year's ones have focused particularly on encouraging young people to be volunteers.

The ceremony at Fenland Hall in March last Thursday (February 11) was co-hosted by Fenland District Council's chairman, Councillor Carol Cox. It was attended by about 35 people, including families and friends and three Deputy Lieutenants of Cambridgeshire - Sue Morris, Freddie Grounds and Richard Barnwell.

Young People March won special praise from Penny Hicks, who has been closely involved with the organisation for the past nine years. She said: "They are an absolutely lovely bunch of youngsters to work with. I feel part of the family and it's just a joy to be there."

The award winners expressed their delight and gratitude at the recognition for their work.

Rebecca Gilbertson, Living Sport's Disability Sport Coordinator, said: 'We are delighted to receive this extra money. It will be used to support the project that we are delivering in partnership with FACET to give sports leaders and volunteering training to a group of young adults with learning disabilities.

"They are developing more every week and turning into confident sports leaders and volunteers."

Sarah Brown, from Young People March, said: "Without such grants small charities such as us wouldn't be able to offer our range of activities and structured programmes for young people.

"It is so gratifying to see the volunteers receiving recognition from someone like the High Sheriff."

Alice Boon, from the Carers Trust Young Carers scheme, said:  "We are thrilled to have gained this award. The young carers we work with and their local community are benefiting greatly from it. It was a great experience for them to have the opportunity to meet the High Sheriff in person."

The ceremony was one of four similar events being held across the county this month - a deliberate attempt to highlight the achievements of local groups in each area.

Here is how each organisation is spending the award money:

Young People March: Supporting its youth council's work helping young people increase their skills and self-esteem and part-funding a residential team-building trip to Shropshire.

Living Sport: Supporting the delivery of Level 1 courses in Sports Leadership and Sport Volunteering to a group of learners at the FACET centre.

Carers Trust: Supporting 5 -10 young carers to run a community 'Think Young Carer' campaign over a six-month period and other social action projects that the young people may be able to offer.

Wisbech Youth Clubs: Funding a range of activities for young people to improve and enhance their local community.

Article added February 16, 2016