Young Volunteers conference and awards receive an Olympic touch
StreetGames young volunteers and projects flocked to the sold-out The Co-operative StreetGames Young Volunteer Conference and Awards 2012 last week (7th June) at the Salford City Reds Stadium.
Guest speaker Anna Hemmings MBE, Britain’s most successful female canoeist, opened the conference with a powerful motivational speech about her overcoming Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to regain her world championship title.
Anna praised the contribution of volunteers in sport, saying: “Without the volunteers at Elmbridge Canoe Club I wouldn’t have even sampled the sport. I was eight and a half years old when I went on a one week course in the summer holidays to try Kayaking. I discovered I loved it and without the volunteer coaches I wouldn’t have become an Olympian and six time world champion. They didn’t know they were working with a future world champion but they were dedicated.”
The conference offered the young volunteers the chance to try variants of three traditional sports which have been developed for the doorstep sport setting. StreetGames’ Justyn Price led Instant Ping Pong (table tennis), the Golf Foundation offered Street Golf and Hat Trick Project from Newcastle showcased Street Elite (football). In addition, the Geese Theatre Company led an interactive performance on managing challenging behaviour.
The awards ceremony recognised the outstanding commitment of Co-operative StreetGames Young Volunteers. Karl Barry received the night’s most coveted award - National Young Volunteer of the Year – and other winners included Best New Volunteer Abbi Purnell, who has fought back from a serious illness to now volunteer teaching young children to dance, and Asa Waite, who won the Wales award.
Paralympic gold medallist Tim Prendergast was guest speaker at the awards ceremony. He spoke about overcoming the two major hurdles in his life - the loss of his eyesight and his disappointing performance in the 5,000m final in Beijing in 2008 – and was on hand to present the awards to winners.
Sarah Klueter, Senior Community Investment Manager at The Co-operative, said: “Over the last five years more than 4,000 young volunteers have given their time – 100,000 hours in total – to make their communities a better place to be. There is a generation of young people changing their world for the better one session at a time and The Co-operative is incredibly proud to support their work.”
The Co-operative StreetGames Young Volunteers Award winners 2012 were as follows:
National winner - Karl Barry
North East – Karl Barry
North West – Paul Roberts
Yorkshire and the Humber – Natalie Stevenson
West Midlands – Matthew Smith
East Midlands – Lyndsey Dawn
Wales – Asa Waite
South West – Marek Baranovic
London – Adam Jones
Special recognition winners
Best New Volunteer – Abbi Purnell
All-round Commitment to Volunteering – Dean Meadows and Adam Jones
Outstanding Contribution to Volunteering – Michael Gardner
Best Youth-led Project – Karl Barry
Personal Development – Abbi Parnell