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Highland young people’s volunteering programme wins national award

By Andrew Dixon

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Elizabeth McDonald and Jeni Herbert receiving the award on behalf of HLH from Sky Sports presenter Hayley McQueen.
Elizabeth McDonald and Jeni Herbert receiving the award on behalf of HLH from Sky Sports presenter Hayley McQueen.

High Life Highland’s leadership programme for young people won a national award for innovation at the annual Community Leisure UK Awards ceremony in Manchester.

The leadership programme fought off competition from more than 150 similar organisations across the UK to win the innovation category.

The leadership programme is open to all young people aged 12-25 and offers training opportunities and qualifications to enable young people to lead activity with the peers, with each young leader being allocated a dedicated mentor to support their leadership journey within their own community.

The programme now has a full-time development officer with sportscotland funding in place for the next four years.

Ian Murray, chief executive of High Life Highland and chairman of Community Leisure Scotland, said: “I am delighted that the leadership programme has been recognised at a national level. It is an innovative project that has demonstrated success from day one with over 3000 young people taking part to date.

“The leadership programme helps develop young people’s skills and creates pathways from volunteering into education and employment. In fact, six members of our current sports development team have progressed through the programme to employment with High Life Highland.”

Young leaders from Millburn Academy were delighted with the news. S4 pupil Jessica Bird said: "The leadership programme is something I am truly grateful for. I have gained so much confidence, met some incredible people and have been involved in some amazing experiences even though I have only been actively involved for a short time. I think the leadership programme has really earned this award, it has done so much for me and I am sure it has done a lot for others too."

Jessica’s thoughts were echoed by Euan Hamilton, S3 pupil at Millburn Academy, who said: “It’s great to see the leadership programme winning this award. The programme has given me great opportunities much wider than I could have imagined and has helped developed my confidence greatly.”

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