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Tuesday 16 Feb 2016
Young Sports Volunteers Celebrated

At a joint awards ceremony on Wednesday evening in the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast Ulster GAA, IFA and Ulster Rugby put the spotlight on young sports volunteers.  The celebration event officially recognised all those young people aged 14-24 years who volunteer at their local sports club and who have completed 50, 100 or 200 hours volunteering as part of the GoldMark Programme.

Jack O'Connor from the Department for Social Development, attended the event to congratulate all the young people involved, speaking at the event he said: "The contribution and achievements of volunteers are essential to sport in Northern Ireland.  There is no doubt that many clubs and communities would not be sustainable if it weren't for the commitment of their volunteers. I have been inspired by the number of young people here this evening who have accumulated so many hours of volunteering activity and I would like to thank you for your time, energy and dedication".

Ulster GAA President Michael Hasson praised the young people saying, “Our sports clubs rely on volunteers and it’s great to see so many young people giving their time freely to help out.  We hope the young people who participated in the GoldMark Programme will continue to be valuable volunteers for their clubs in the years to come.”

Ulster Rugby President Bobby Stewart highlighted that the skills gained through volunteering are transferable, he said, “This initiative has not only benefited the clubs but also has helped the personal and career development of the young people involved.  We hope that the skills and knowledge attained by being part of the GoldMark Programme will help these young people in their own personal development.”

Irish FA Football Committee Representative Gerard Lawlor recognised the benefits that volunteering can bring, saying:  “I’ve been a volunteer for nearly my whole life and I know from personal experience the benefits it brings to the whole community. It’s fantastic to see so many young people interested in volunteering and nights like this serve to highlight the value they bring whilst giving their achievements the recognition it deserves.”

Jane Gribbin from Volunteer Now said it was important to encourage volunteering, she said, “The GoldMark Programme is a widely recognised volunteering programme run by Volunteer Now and is accredited by the Department of Education. The certificates for 50, 100 and 200 hours volunteering is something these young people should be very proud of and put on their applications for further education or career development.''

For further information Contact Stephen Garrett: 07545930124