Diana Award Ceremony Commences At Stormont

Minister Nelson McCausland has hosted the first ever Diana Award Ceremony to take place in Northern Ireland.

The Diana Award is a registered charity which was founded in 1999 by the UK Government to act as a lasting legacy to Princess Diana’s belief in the power of young people to change the world.

Speaking at the event in Parliament Buildings to honour the recipients and volunteers, the Social Development minister said: "It is important that our young people are encouraged and empowered to develop their skills and are given a voice in shaping our community. Tonight young people who have volunteered to improve their schools and communities will be celebrated with a Diana Award.

"Volunteering helps people connect meaningfully with each other and thousands of people volunteer across Northern Ireland every day. Our entire society benefits from the work carried out by volunteers so it is in everyone’s interest to support and develop volunteering. It plays an important role in giving people, and in particular young people, a sense of purpose and fulfilment. It also broadens their horizons and provides the opportunity to build new friendships while playing an active role in the community and doing something worthwhile that they enjoy."

The Diana Award celebrates the amazing achievements of inspirational young people, who defy expectation and challenge the negative stereotypes that are so often applied to them.

On receiving the award, award holders are invited to become members of the Diana Network, a mentoring scheme that provides the young people with the support, expertise and opportunities to continue their community work demonstrating the potential that young people have to become a force for good in society.

The Minister continued: "In March 2012, my Department published Northern Ireland’s first ever Volunteering Strategy and Action Plan entitled "Join in, get involved: Build a better future". I am fully committed to implementing this strategy which aims to create the conditions that will encourage volunteering to flourish."

The Minister concluded: "The value of programmes such as the Diana Award cannot be underestimated, providing support to engage and motivate young people so that they can keep up their volunteering. I hope the experience gained by those who participated in the scheme will help them play an ongoing role in strengthening our community and wish them well in the future."


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