Young People Short-listed For Lochaber Project Attend National Award

In January of this year The Highland Council’s Youth Development staff nominated Fusion Youth Committee in Fort William for a Sunday Mail Lloyds TSB Young Scot Award due to the work that Fusion’s youth committee have put in to making Fort William, Lochaber and the Highlands a better place for young people and the wider community to live.

The award ceremony dubbed ‘Scotland’s Youth Achievement Oscars’ took place in Glasgow City Halls on Thursday the 9th of April and a group of young people from Lochaber attended.

Because of the high level of participation and quality of projects undertaken by Fusion’s Committee members with staff from Highland Council’s Youth Development team, the Judges of the award put the committee into the final 3 in the Democracy & Citizenship category.

Fusion Youth Space based in the Nevis Centre in Fort William is seen as a central point for youth work across the Fort William area and has young people attending the youth club sessions from all across Lochaber – often with 100+ young people attending per night. The youth committee responsible for managing Fusion have played key roles in projects such as the development of the old skate park area next to the Nevis Centre which is ongoing, helping staff design last year’s summer programme,  helping organise the annual ‘Stars in U’r Eyez’ Show and also getting involved with the A82 partnership and going to Holyrood to gain support from MSP’s and the Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young People, Kathleen Marshall to upgrade the A82 trunk road – a vital project not just involving young people, but the wider community as a whole.

Presenting the awards was GMTV’s Jenni Falkoner who was joined by celebrities including Scottish Olympic cycling sensation Sir Chris Hoy, ex Hollyoaks actress Gemma Atkinson, TV interior design favourites Colin and Justin, the cast of River City, Scottish Football Association’s Chief Executive Gordon Smith, and comedian Tam Cowan to hand over the awards.  Live music was provided by The Saturdays but the real stars of the night were Scotland’s inspirational young people that are all making a difference in their communities the length and breadth of Scotland.

Although the Lochaber group did not win their category Youth Service Worker  Rachel Carmichael who accompanied the young people said: “Our group was a credit to the young people of Fort William, their families and staff.  They behaved impeccably with the utmost maturity and Graeme and I felt very proud walking into The City Halls in Glasgow with our amazing group!”

Graeme Livingstone, Youth Development Officer added: “To have gotten as far as they did is a huge achievement and we are immensely proud of them all, the nomination would not have been possible without the enormous effort shown by the group over the last year with their involvement in many projects that benefit young people but also the wider community as a whole.  Winning would have been a bonus but as far as the youth development team are concerned they are all already winners!”

Leah Burns, aged 16, Chairperson of Fusion Youth Committee said:  “It was amazing hearing all the other finalists stories of why they were there.  It was inspirational and it was amazing that we were considered to be at the same level of achievement for what we have done as all of them, it has given us some ideas for the development of Fusion in the future.”

27 Apr 2009