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Making a difference awards: Celebrating young people who are making a difference in Hampshire

Young people at Making a Difference award ceremony

The selfless efforts of more than fifty young people who make a difference in their communities were celebrated at a Youth Fair held in the Great Hall Winchester.

The Youth Fair, which showcased a variety of voluntary organisations offering young people a chance to get involved in volunteering, provided the perfect backdrop to celebrate the achievements of the young people honoured with a Hampshire Making A Difference Award.

The awards were launched by the former Chairman of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Andrew Joy, last year. He was keen that the outstanding contribution of young people to their communities was recognised.

Schools, youth groups and the general public were invited to nominate those they felt had made a significant and outstanding effort within their community. The entries were judged by a cross departmental, County Council group.

Ryan Wooldridge was among the inspirational award winners aged between 5 and 18. Having suffered a family bereavement himself, Ryan works tirelessly to raise funds for the Simon Says Child Bereavement charity. Along with family and friends, he raised more than £2,000 to enable 20 children affected by bereavement to enjoy a fun-filled residential weekend at Fairthorne Manor.

Loud and Proud Volunteers, a group of young people from Fareham and Gosport were also recognised. They have been improving the environment by gardening, litter picking and beach cleaning. They also host tea parties for older people and school children. Another group which received an award for their community efforts is the All Saints Church Luncheon Club Helpers from Lymington. They host monthly social outings for around 30 older people.

Meanwhile, Tyler James, aged 8, from Winchester was recognised for his active fundraising for the Autistic Society and for children with special needs.

The Youth Fair, which was opened by the former County Council Leader, Councillor Ken Thornber, complemented the Make a Difference Awards perfectly as a way to encourage young people, their peers and family members to engage with volunteering.