The achievements of Police Scotland Youth Volunteers in Stranraer have been celebrated in an Awards Evening held at Stranraer Academy on Wednesday 27th February.
The group, known as PSYV Stranraer, has been volunteering at local, regional and national events for almost four years now and currently comprise 20 Youth Volunteers all aged 13 to 17 years old as well as 8 Adult Volunteers leaders. The group is led by Group Coordinator PC Graeme Stewart.
The Awards Evening also incorporated a 'passing out parade' for eight new Youth Volunteers who joined the group in the autumn of 2018. These volunteers have now completed their initial training and will be volunteering at events in the year ahead. Youth Volunteer Iona McGhie won the New Youth Volunteer of the Year Award, an award which goes to a Youth Volunteer who has joined the group in the past 12 months and has shown an outstanding level of enthusiasm, commitment and use of initiative.
The evening was opened by Head Youth Volunteer Maria Denholm who also won the Outstanding Contributor Award in recognition that she has volunteered by performing public speaking at several events over the year including to the Dumfries and Galloway Branch of the Scottish Association for the Study of Offending, the Scottish Rural Parliament and Stranraer Rotary.
Maria was also very active when PSYV Stranraer organised Galloway Young Creatives Festival in the summer of 2018 as a special Year of Young People 2018 event. For the Awards Evening Maria had compiled two very entertaining videos including clips of interviews she carried out with the Youth Volunteers and highlights from the group's volunteering over the course of the year.
The main awards of the evening were presented by the Lord Lieutenant for Wigtownshire Dr John Ross and Divisional Police Commander T/Chief Superintendent Linda Jones.
The most prominent award of the evening, the Youth Volunteer of the Year Award, went to Senior Youth Volunteer Rachael Baird who has now completed over 500 hours of volunteering with the group. PC Stewart said of this achievement, "there are very few Youth Volunteers across Scotland who accumulate this number of hours so this is an absolutely outstanding contribution."
Rachael also collected the Youth Volunteer's Youth Volunteer of the Year which is decided by the youth volunteers themselves as a peer to peer award based on who the volunteers think has been the most welcoming, helpful and committed member of the group over the year. Rachael is the first volunteer in the group to win both of these awards in the same year.
Youth Volunteer Aimee McNairn was awarded the Commitment Award having volunteered over 200 hours in a single year.
Senior Youth Volunteer Fraser Baird won both the group's Leadership Award and Police Knowledge Award. Fraser has taken responsibility in the group for leading the drill sessions and has also performed public speaking at the Scottish Rural Parliament and Stranraer Rotary. The police knowledge Award was decided by a quiz in which the Youth Volunteers were tested on all the police related learning they had undertaken in the past year.
Adult Volunteer Stuart Hunter was named Adult Volunteer of the Year and the group's Partnership Award went to Stair Park Community Garden Centre (Potters) who provided the group with a community project painting murals for the gardens in the spring of 2018.
The Awards Evening also recalled the group's triumph in both the PSYV National Team Competition and the UK Cadet Championship in the summer of 2018. The group will attempt to defend both titles this summer along with the Blue Flash Challenge Youth Award the group won for participating in a 25km charity hike in Strathpeffer last year.
A raffle at the event raised £187 to help the group continue to cover costs such as uniform and the cost of trips. Special thanks go to all who donated raffle prizes, especially Central Café, Hugh Aitken Jewellers, McKenzies Electricals and Studio 10 hair and beauty salon.
PC Stewart said of the event, "It's great to look back and see what the group has achieved over the course of the year. It is also very inspiring to reflect on and celebrate the individual successes within the group. PSYV has been great for the community in Stranraer and PSYV Stranraer goes to show that young people do make a really important contribution to the life and soul of the town and wider region.
There are now 43 PSYV groups across Scotland with a new group currently being started in Dumfries.
Young people aged 13-15 years old wishing to join PSYV in Dumfries and Galloway can register their interest by emailing DumfriesGallowayPSYV@scotland.pnn.police.uk or by speaking with their School Link Officer.
Summary of Awards:
- Youth Volunteer of the Year - Rachael Baird
- Adult Volunteer of the Year Award - Stuart Hunter
- Police Knowledge Award - Fraser Baird
- Leadership Award - Fraser Baird
- Outstanding Contributor - Maria Denholm
- Youth Volunteer's Youth Volunteer of the Year Award - Rachael Baird
- New Youth Volunteer of the Year Award - Iona McGhie
- Partnership Award - Stair Park Community Garden Centre (Potters)