Five youth projects based in the Capital – and the people who give their all to make them a success – have been shortlisted for the National Youth Worker of the Year Awards.
The winners will be picked from among 27 finalists across ten categories, and announced next month at a glittering event at Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Among those shortlisted is the new chief executive of YMCA Scotland, Kerry Reilly, who led YMCA Edinburgh through significant change over the past seven years in her former role as youth work manager.
During 2011, it reached more than 2100 young people through youth clubs, mentoring programmes, a film project and school-based support.
Hayley Gillies, who nominated Ms Reilly, said: “I was a young person when I started working with Kerry. She changed my life.
“But I am one of many. Every young person that has met her, that has experienced her enthusiasm, passion and care for them will sense the reality and warmth of it.”
Dalkeith-based Pc Graeme Stewart has been nominated for his work with The Prince’s Trust Team programme and Edinburgh College.
He worked on a 12-week personal development programme helping young people into education, training and employment.
Kerry Smith, who works for the same programme at the Edinburgh College campus in Sighthill, is also in line for the Full-time Youth Worker of the Year Award for her efforts with vulnerable youngsters.
Sikh Sanjog, based in Leith, has been shortlisted for its work with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Heritage Inclusion Project which supports young women by offering equality of opportunity and experience.
Karen Anderson of Citadel Youth Centre is also up for an award in recognition of her work with young women in Leith.
Through a mentoring programme she has developed, and through her personal coaching and support, Karen has helped young women go on to college, volunteering and employment.
The eighth annual awards ceremony on Thursday, March 12 will be hosted by broadcaster and DJ Arlene Stuart, while the gongs will be presented by Fiona McLeod MSP.
Jim Sweeney, chief executive of YouthLink Scotland, described the awards as a “true celebration of our unstinting belief in our young people”.
Ms McLeod added: “The National Youth Worker of the Year Awards are a great platform for celebrating the fantastic and often unseen work done by young people in our communities.
“I congratulate all 27 of the selected finalists and wish all of them well ahead of the big night.”