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Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has recognised a group of inspirational young people at the 6th Annual YAFTAS Awards. The event, which took place at the Canal Court Hotel & Spa in Newry, was a celebration of a programme between the Youth Council and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin said, “I am delighted to be here to celebrate the work that our outstanding young people are doing. The YAFTAS were specifically created by Newry & Mourne Youth Council and supported by our Council and the Education Authority to recognise the unsung heroes of our community who often do not get the recognition they deserve. These awards shine a positive light on our district’s young people and the work that they are doing.

“The competition this year made the shortlisting of these winners even more difficult since our young people across the district have been involved in some fantastic youth work programmes, volunteering, and supporting of their peers, friends and family. Both the young people and their achievements deserve to be highlighted and recognised.”

The glamourous event saw some 200 people celebrating both the young people and the projects they were involved in. There were seven award categories recognising different aspects of community and voluntary service:

Good Relations Award

Winner: Leaders of Hope and Harmony (LOHAH), Kilkeel

Runner Up: Newtownhamilton TBUC in the Community, Newtownhamilton

Young Carer Award

YAFTAS Young Carer Award for a person who devotes much of their time and energy to caring and supporting a friend of relative who needs additonal or extra support. Winner of Young Carer Award was Ben McGlade who looks after his Mum Eimear and brother Joshua. l-r Annabelle Heaney Sponsor P.J O'Hare Carlingford, Concher Fitzsimmons Down Area Youth Council, Award Winner Ben McGlade, Chairman Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mark Murnin and Molly Brady Newry and Mourne Youth Council.
YAFTAS Young Carer Award for a person who devotes much of their time and energy to caring and supporting a friend of relative who needs additonal or extra support. Winner of Young Carer Award was Ben McGlade who looks after his Mum Eimear and brother Joshua. l-r Annabelle Heaney Sponsor P.J O'Hare Carlingford, Concher Fitzsimmons Down Area Youth Council, Award Winner Ben McGlade, Chairman Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mark Murnin and Molly Brady Newry and Mourne Youth Council.

Winner: Ben McGlade, Newry

Runners Up: Antonia and Aoise O’Goan, Downpatrick

Community Safety Award

Winner: Regener8, Slieve Gullion

Runner Up: Newry Fire Cadets, Newry

Voice of Young People Award

Winners: Cathal McCann, Emma Cunningham and Brooklyn Flanagan, Downpatrick

Runner Up: Lara O’Neill, Newry

Innovation and Creativity Award

Winner: Slurrysafe Team, Downpatrick

Runner Up: Assumption Community Link, Ballynahinch

Inspirational Young Person Award

Winner: Cormac Savage, Downpatrick

Runner Up: Hannah Kelly, Newry

Inclusion Award

YAFTAS Inclusion Award Winners Wonder Youth Group and Newry Youth Forum accepted their award from Sponsors Equality Office  Newry, Mourne and Down Council represented by CEO Liam Hannaway and Chairman Councillor Mark Murnin. Youth Workers Ruth Neary, Pauline McQuillan, Ryan Crilly joined the group in their celebrations. Wonder Youth Group is a group of young people aged 16+ with disabilities and learning needs from Newry and Mourne. They are a participative structure who aims to provide opportunities for others. They want to be recognised for being positive role models and highlight the achievements of those with disabilities. Together with Newry Youth Forum the groups organised a formal on the 8th February for young people with disabilities living in the Newry & Mourne area. The event was attended by over 70 young people, the two groups worked tirelessly together to ensure that every aspect of the night was tasteful, age appropriate and that everyone attending felt special. The night was a huge success and all are to be commended to not allowing disability from creating a truly magicial evening for other young people who are socially excluded and marginalised for their disabilities and learning needs.
YAFTAS Inclusion Award Winners Wonder Youth Group and Newry Youth Forum accepted their award from Sponsors Equality Office Newry, Mourne and Down Council represented by CEO Liam Hannaway and Chairman Councillor Mark Murnin. Youth Workers Ruth Neary, Pauline McQuillan, Ryan Crilly joined the group in their celebrations. Wonder Youth Group is a group of young people aged 16+ with disabilities and learning needs from Newry and Mourne. They are a participative structure who aims to provide opportunities for others. They want to be recognised for being positive role models and highlight the achievements of those with disabilities. Together with Newry Youth Forum the groups organised a formal on the 8th February for young people with disabilities living in the Newry & Mourne area. The event was attended by over 70 young people, the two groups worked tirelessly together to ensure that every aspect of the night was tasteful, age appropriate and that everyone attending felt special. The night was a huge success and all are to be commended to not allowing disability from creating a truly magicial evening for other young people who are socially excluded and marginalised for their disabilities and learning needs.

Winner: Wonder Youth Group and Newry Youth Forum, Newry

Runner Up: St. Oliver Plunkett Inclusion Group, Crossmaglen

The event was supported by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, the Executive Office, the Policing & Community Safety Partnership, Specsavers Newry, Education Authority, Education Authority Small Grants, Buttercrane Centre Newry, Newry Clinic; PJ O’Hare’s, Carlingford and JP Corry.

YAFTAS AWARDS 2019

YAFTAS Voice of Young People Award Winners Emma Cunningham, Brooklyn Flanagan, Cathal McCann from St. Malachy's High School Castlewellan pictured with Chairman Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mark Murnin, back row l-r Alison Dunne representing Sponsor Buttercrane Shopping Centre, School Principal Orla O'Neill and Senior Teacher Mark Vernon. These three students wanted to do more to raise awareness of student emotional wellbeing; they came up with the idea to host a fundraising event within their school that involved students wearing a bright jumper to school on Monday 21st January 2019, this date is universally known as Blue Monday. They raised £232 in that day which went to supporting early intervention strategies towards young people. As a result these three students appeared in a video which was created by Action for Children and was shown to MPs and MLAs at Stormont to raise awareness of Mental Health issues towards young people and the need for extra government funding.

YAFTAS AWARDS 2019

YAFTAS Innovation & Creativity Award Runners Up Assumption Community Link accepted their award from Odhran McAllister representative for Sponsor Newry Clinic and Chairman Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mark Murnin. Students have been innovative in establishing a community link with local primary schools in the Ballynahinch area. They have supported children in the local area who have high levels of illiteracy and innumeracy and struggle with socioeconomic hardship. They provided taster sessions in Irish and Spanish when the Primary schools were informed funding for languages was no longer available and a third dimension of community link is the partnership with Knockevin Special School in Downpatrick which they work in the areas of music and drama.

YAFTAS AWARDS 2019

YAFTAS Innovation & Creativity Award Winner Slurrysafe Team SERC Regional College Downpatrick. Conal Murray, Matthew Isaac and Connor Kelly with Lecturer Aurla McLoughlin and Chairman Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mark Murnin. (Missing from photo Ryan Clendening) The boys are all from farming backgrounds they met at SERC to do an engineering course, but after a slurry/gas incident affected on of their families the boys proactively decided to tackle this rick to life by designing a slurry alarm. Their design differs from regular slurry alarms as it features an original idea with regular devices an alarm sounds however this may not be heard because of noisy machinery but with this new innovation the power to the tractor engine is automatically cut out thus stopping the slurry mixer. This alerts the farmer that a dangerous level of slurry gas is present and they need to vacate and also a sensor sends a message to designated mobile phone numbers to inform them of the risk to life, their choice of product shows real passion and creativity in their bid to reduce the number of farm fatalities and potentially save lives.

YAFTAS AWARDS 2019

YAFTAS Inspiration Young Person Award Winner 2019 was Cormac Savage l-r Anna Brown Down Area Youth Council, Chairman Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mark Murnin presents Cormac with his Award, Alison Dunne Sponsor Specsavers Newry. Cormac is a pupil at St. Patricks Grammar School Downpatrick where he has been involved in Civic Education getting pupils involved in the democratic process. Cormac has co-ordinated the Make Your Mark Campaign in South Down, a youth campaign that decided on what issues the Youth Parliament should campaign on. Cormac contacted school principals directly and single handed secured involvement from 5 principals and 2,600 local students. Cormac was later elected to represent 30,000 local young people as a member of the Youth Parliament with 79% of the vote. He has delivered a speech on the subject of homelessness that was awarded the Paul Boskett MBE award. Cormac is an active volunteer in his local community with Mid Down MS support group, he also assists with Loughinisland amateur drama group, coaching drama to young children. This summer Cormac is planning to travel to Cambodia for 3 weeks to teach English, plant trees and build homes in some of the poorest communities in the world.

YAFTAS AWARDS 2019

PHOTO 14 YAFTAS AWARDS YAFTAS Runner Up for the Inspiration Young Person Award Hannah Kelly accepts her award from Anna Brown Down Area Youth Council, Chairman Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mark Murnin and Alison Dunne Sponsor Specsavers. Hannah is committed to her studies and many extracurricular activities. She is this year's music ambassador in senior school, has been a member of the school choir and encourages pupils to take part. Annually she volunteers new year8 pupils during the summer drama week and supports them settling into their new school. Hannah has volunteered with Down Right Brilliant which is an organisation that supports young people with Down Syndrome. Hannah also volunteers with Rathore Special School every Tuesday morning. Hannah has made a significant impact in school with Down Right Brilliant Group and Shining Light Gospel Choir.

YAFTAS AWARDS 2019

YAFTAS Inclusion Award Winners Wonder Youth Group and Newry Youth Forum accepted their award from Sponsors Equality Office Newry, Mourne and Down Council represented by CEO Liam Hannaway and Chairman Councillor Mark Murnin. Youth Workers Ruth Neary, Pauline McQuillan, Ryan Crilly joined the group in their celebrations. Wonder Youth Group is a group of young people aged 16+ with disabilities and learning needs from Newry and Mourne. They are a participative structure who aims to provide opportunities for others. They want to be recognised for being positive role models and highlight the achievements of those with disabilities. Together with Newry Youth Forum the groups organised a formal on the 8th February for young people with disabilities living in the Newry & Mourne area. The event was attended by over 70 young people, the two groups worked tirelessly together to ensure that every aspect of the night was tasteful, age appropriate and that everyone attending felt special. The night was a huge success and all are to be commended to not allowing disability from creating a truly magicial evening for other young people who are socially excluded and marginalised for their disabilities and learning needs.

YAFTAS AWARDS 2019

Winners of the YAFTAS Community Safety Award Regener8 young people come voluntarily to take in training, personal development and employability sessions. An important focus of the programme is giving back to the community and creating ownership in the communities they live. Chairman Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mark Murnin, Chairman of the Sponsor PCSP Robert Burgess, Emma Hughes Newry and Mourne Youth Council pictured with Regener8 celebrating their win.

YAFTAS AWARDS 2019

YAFTAS Community Safety Award Runners Up - Newry Fire Cadets, Volunteer Leaders, the group are dedicated, enthusiastic, energetic and committed volunteers who assist in the delivery of the fire cadet's scheme every Wednesday evening and also on scheduled weekends. Pictured with Sponsor PCSP Chairman Robert Burgess, Emma Hughes Newry and Mourne Youth Council and Chairman Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mark Murnin celebrating their Award.

YAFTAS AWARDS 2019

YAFTAS Good Relations Award Winner Newtownhamilton TBUC in the Community pictured with Chairman Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mark Murnin, Keelan Curran Down Area Youth Council. A group of young people from catholic, protestant and Bulgarian communities who came together to identify issues and led by example to build relationships between their communities. They organised a colour run event and raised £1,260.60 for Ellen's Journey a young girl from another village who is undergoing cancer treatment.

YAFTAS AWARDS 2019

LOHAH Leaders of Hope and Harmony from Kilkeel and the Mournes runners up in the YAFTAS Good Relations Award pictured with Senior Youth Worker Rosie Carey, Chairman Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mark Murnin. LOHAH is a community relations based initiative within Kilkeel & the Mournes, the overall ethos of LOHAH is to provide young people with a safe and inclusive atmosphere giving young people the opportunity to share their understanding and experience of peace building. Young people participe in weekly workshops looking at contentious issues and way that together they can positively break down divides within their own community.

YAFTAS AWARDS 2019

YAFTAS Young Carer Award Runners Up, Antonia and Aoise O'Goan who look after their Granny Margaret Walsh l-r Annabelle Heaney Sponsor P.J O'Hare Carlingford, Antonia O'Goan, Chairman Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mark Murnin, Aoise O'Goan and Molly Brady Newry and Mourne Youth Council.

YAFTAS AWARDS 2019

YAFTAS Young Carer Award for a person who devotes much of their time and energy to caring and supporting a friend of relative who needs additonal or extra support. Winner of Young Carer Award was Ben McGlade who looks after his Mum Eimear and brother Joshua. l-r Annabelle Heaney Sponsor P.J O'Hare Carlingford, Concher Fitzsimmons Down Area Youth Council, Award Winner Ben McGlade, Chairman Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mark Murnin and Molly Brady Newry and Mourne Youth Council.

YAFTAS AWARDS 2019

Runner Up for the YAFTAS Voice of Young People Award Lara O'Neill accepts her award from Chairman Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mark Murnin, Alison Dunne representing Sponsor Buttercrane Shopping Centre and Celine Morgan Newry and Mourne Youth Council. Lara is currently deputy head girl in St. Mary's High School Newry acting as a tremendous role model for other students organising school events, fundraising for local charities. Lara has strong leadership skills and works as a maths mentor with young students, is a keen volunteer and has been involved in the respect project and Barnardos contact centre for years.

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