A huge congratulations to our stellar cast of National Youth Work Awards winners, who lit up a raucous night of celebrating the very best of youth work in Scotland.
After much anticipation, the National Youth Work Awards 2023 was finally upon us, and what an incredible night it was! With faces new and old descending on Glasgow from Dumfries to Broadford, Dingwall to Barra, we celebrated the very best of youth work in an evening of glitz and glamour.
We would like to say a massive thanks to our category sponsors: YMCA Scotland, Young Scot, Sky, No Knives Better Lives, CLD Standards Council for Scotland, Primate, Scottish Community Safety Network, Skills Development Scotland, Creative Scotland, Education Scotland, and BBC Children in Need.
Your unwavering support for Scotland’s youth workers is greatly appreciated, and we value your contribution to our National Awards.
A special credit goes to Mollie McGoran MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, who is such a compelling advocate for all things youth work. And to our host, BBC Presenter, the wonderful Gemma Cairney.
Congratulations to all our winners and finalists, who are all showcasing the powerful impact of youth work.
The event itself may be over but let’s continue to share, tweet, and celebrate the #YLSAwards, as this event serves as an ongoing source of inspiration.
Now, without further ado, let’s meet the winners of the 2023 #YLSAwards!
Sponsored by Creative Scotland
Winner: Lyra’s Young Artists Programme
Situated in Craigmillar, Lyra addresses the profound challenges of poverty, racial inequality, and social disparities faced by young people in the vibrant yet challenging area of Edinburgh. The programme unites young artists with arts professionals from Scotland and around the world, working together on world-class projects and productions tailored to young people’s needs with a whole family approach.
Sponsored by Education Scotland and the Scottish Community Safety Network
Winner: TD1 Youth Hub
Recognising the importance of being responsive to local issues and adapting to changing needs, TD1 Youth Hub has stepped up to address the cost-of-living crisis. They have provided 3,000 meals to young people and have partnered with Galashiels Academy to engage directly with 70% of school students impacted by poverty and financial deprivation.
Sponsored by Sky
Winner: Where’s Your Head At? Peer Education (Youth Highland)
The ‘Where’s Your Head At? Peer Education’ project, created by Youth Highland, explores topics such as risk and consequences within the context of LGBTI+ issues, cyber resilience, and substance abuse. In response, the young people developed a living digital platform in the form of a role-playing game. This innovative approach created a safe space for players to provide support, share lived experiences, and collectively advocate for change.
Sponsored by YouthLink Scotland
Winner: Western Isles Youth Action Climate Group
This remarkable group of young climate activists are making a significant impact by addressing pressing environmental issues. The group has actively engaged with local councillors, MPs, MSPs, as well as Western Isles Council. They have discussed pressing climate issues like single-use plastics, microplastics, fishing nets, marine life, the decline of local bumblebees, and fast fashion, ensuring their concerns are heard by those in positions of authority.
Sponsored by YMCA Scotland
Winner: North Ayrshire Council CLD New Scots Team
The team has played a pivotal role in supporting young refugees to settle into their new home, providing essential guidance and fostering a sense of community. Their efforts have resulted in the establishment of thriving girls-only groups and empowering conversations about democratic processes for the Syrian community. The team’s dedication and passion for creating a positive experience for new Scots young people in North Ayrshire have earned them this well-deserved award.
Sponsored by BBC Children in Need
Winner: Low Level Mental Health Support in Schools (Dumfries and Galloway Council)
The Youth Information in Schools Project delivers crucial low-level mental health support to over 500 young people annually. This ground breaking programme equips young people with strategies to navigate the challenges they face in their lives. The project brings together youth work, educational psychology, CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), school nursing, and psychology.
Sponsored by No Knives Better Lives
Winner: PEEK, Govan High School and Police Scotland
Last year PEEK partnered with Govan High School on an intervention project targeting young people who were disengaged from school and were already known to Police Scotland. The positive impact of the project was remarkable. By the end of the programme, police interventions with young people decreased by 82%, school incidents reduced by 75%, and participation in after-school clubs increased by 55%.
Sponsored by Primate
Winner: Helene Rodger (Passion4Fusion)
Recognising the lack of sufficient mental health and well-being support for black and minority ethnic young people and families, Helene and a group of multicultural volunteers launched Passion4Fusion as an informal community initiative. Overcoming initial challenges, Helene and her team worked to meet the diverse needs of ethnic minority communities, particularly young people and women in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
Sponsored by YouthLink Scotland
Winner: Trans Rights Youth Commission (LGBT Youth Scotland)
The Trans Rights Youth Commission is an outstanding piece of participatory youth work that took young people’s voices to the highest levels within the Scottish Parliament to inform the reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA).
Young people’s views were core to this legislation reform. A challenge at times, working within a climate of controversy, but one that the youth commissioners and youth workers rose to, often against all odds.
Sponsored by Skills Development Scotland
Winner: Craig Burns (North Ayrshire Council)
Craig Brown, a driving force in North Ayrshire’s youth work sector, has successfully led the growth of the Modern Apprenticeship Youth Work Programme. With his support, the programme has doubled the number of apprentices who achieve their qualifications, making it a sought-after opportunity for young people transitioning from school. His unique approach to nurturing talent has contributed to the programme’s success and the positive impact it has on the youth work sector.
Sponsored by CLD Standards Council for Scotland
Winner: Deaf Action Youth Club
The dedicated team in Scotland are making a remarkable impact on deaf young people’s lives. The team includes Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) professionals who are empowering deaf young people to become young leaders. These leaders actively shape the programme, providing diverse role models, and promote the range of deaf identities. The team members, with varying levels of hearing loss and language needs, serve as positive role models, sharing their experiences of growing up deaf in Scotland.
Sponsored by Young Scot
Winner: Jim McColm (Who Cares? Scotland)
Jim exemplifies a passionate and devoted youth worker. His connection with the young people he supports is truly exceptional, drawing them in with his sense of humour and genuine dedication to their well-being. He actively supports young people in finding employment by offering valuable career advice based on his own experiences. Jim champions their cause and provides unwavering support, just as someone once did for him.
Sponsored by Education Scotland
Winner: Graeme Johnston (Arran Youth Foundations)
In just 12 years, Graeme has transformed AYF from a poorly attended youth work project into an award-winning organisation. AYF now offers free sessions every day of the week, providing a multitude of opportunities for young people on the island. Despite commuting from the mainland and balancing a young family, Graeme’s commitment to Arran’s youth remains steadfast.
Sponsored by YouthLink Scotland
Raza Sadiq, Active Life Club
Susan Martin (The Prince’s Trust (Scotland)) Posthumous
Roz Gallacher (South Lanarkshire Council)
The Very Rev. Dr. Lorna Hood OBE