City Hall Troops Out For 'Youth Oscars'

Oscar fever is building in the run-up to Hollywood's biggest night of the year but it's a red carpet event of a different kind that will be grabbing the limelight come March.

Belfast City Council has launched its annual search for outstanding teens that are making a difference in their community.

The Young People’s Awards, dubbed the 'Youth Oscars', are organised by the council in partnership with its Youth Forum, Belfast Community Safety Partnership, Thomas Devlin Trust, Youth Justice Agency and Belfast District Policing Partnership.

And this year, the council is bringing a little 'star' power to the glittering event in the shape of ‘Jedi’ Jim Eastwood, star of BBC1’s The Apprentice, who helped Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile launch the awards at City Hall.

Councillor Ó Donnghaile, who himself comes from a background of community work and is the city’s youngest Lord Mayor, said it was important to recognise teens who are challenging stereotypes, and to encourage them to keep up the good work in their communities.

He said: "Young people have a vital role in our society and sometimes it can be difficult for them to make their voices heard. I feel very privileged to be involved in the Young People’s Awards which provide a fantastic opportunity for us to recognise the very successful work of teenagers right across our city.

"Sometimes young people get a bad Press and they make the headlines for all the wrong reasons. These awards are about highlighting all the positive work that is going on in communities, projects and initiatives that are reaping real benefits for everyone involved.

"We're now in the fifth year of the awards and I would encourage people to nominate young people they know who are making a difference. This is your opportunity to give them the recognition and encouragement they deserve."

Jim Eastwood added: "I'm delighted to have been asked to be involved in this year's awards. I am regularly impressed by the skills and talents of the young people in Northern Ireland. They are the decision-makers of the future, and I think it’s important that they are recognised and rewarded for their initiative and enthusiasm.

"I'm very much looking forward to the awards in March and hearing about the fantastic work that young people have been involved in."


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