DOZENS of inspirational young volunteers who give their time to help others have been honoured by York's Lord Mayor in a special ceremony.

Councillor Ian Gillies presented the Lord Mayor of York Young Volunteers Awards at the Mansion House in recognition of the selfless work they do.

The recipients included young people between the ages of 11 and 21 who have helped out in libraries, schools, charity shops, at National Trust properties, as sports coaches, and by visiting older people.

The Lord Mayor said: "It's quite humbling to be here and see all these young people doing something tangible for others.

"For a charity it's always good to receive money, but these young people are giving something more important and that is their time. Time is invaluable and York is deeply indebted to all those who volunteer."

Fifty-three young people were nominated for the awards, and of those 37 were presented with a main award and 16 with a special award for going above and beyond what was expected of them as a volunteer.

Among the Special Award winners was Ella Batters, 15, who visits an elderly lady to help her with daily household tasks, and Harley Daniels, 17, who has devoted 190 hours to music club the Jam Factory, after he started there as a pupil himself.

The Lord Mayor of York Young Volunteers Award is co-ordinated and judged by the Volunteering York Partnership, and supported by York CVS, City of York Council and employee-volunteering charity York Cares.


Giving their time to help others

For 17-year-old Jennifer Moulds, her volunteering began when she decided to use her long summer holidays to do something productive.

A drama lover already, the chance to volunteer at York Theatre Royal was too good to miss so she spent the holidays running workshops for children and helping visitors to the theatre. Through her church she then became involved in the Besom Project, and has helped transform the overgrown garden of a busy family into a beautiful family space. Jennifer also helps out in a Year 8 class at her school, All Saints.

School friend Alice Whitehead, 16, has a passion for history and like Jennifer turned to her own interests when it came to volunteering. She is a room guide for the National Trust at Goddards on Tadcaster Road, and has helped out at the Castle Museum. She said: “I was 15 when I started. I wasn’t old enough to get a proper job, but I wanted to do something useful. It was really nice to get the award. I wasn’t expecting it, and compared to a lot of people here I didn’t feel like I deserved it.”

Huntington School student Danny Walke, 17, also volunteers. He is a classroom assistant at his old primary school, runs a board games club at his current school, and helped out at the summer reading challenge in York libraries listening to children read.

All three say they would encourage anyone else to give volunteering a try.

Jennifer said: “Volunteering is really rewarding, especially if it’s something you already enjoy or are interested in. People really respect it when you have a passion for what you do, and it really builds your confidence to work with other people.”

Danny added: “It’s something you will look forward to every week.”