Hat-trick for youth staff

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YOUTH service staff were celebrating after landing three prestigious awards at a top competition.

Hartlepool Council’s Integrated Youth Support Services section enjoyed success in the first-ever North East Youth Work Awards, run by Regional Youth Work Unit North-East – a registered charity which works to improve the lives of young people and helps local authority and voluntary sector youth services to share information and best practice.

The local authority beat off competition from around the region to win three categories at the ceremony, which took place at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland.

l The Hartlepool Young Inspectors and Youth Advisory Team (YIYAT) won the award for the best youth participation initiative, to recognise their drive to fully involve young people in planning and decision-making across the council’s activities.

l The staff at Seaton Carew Youth Centre were named the outstanding statutory youth service team. Staff and young people at the centre have worked extremely hard to keep the centre open in the face of the tough financial pressures facing the council – dedication which the judges felt was “truly outstanding”.

l Jenny Hall, team leader for Greatham Youth Club, won the lifetime achievement award in recognition of her outstanding service as a youth worker over more than 20 years. Jenny, who retires at the end of March, has played a key role in encouraging young people in Greatham to develop life skills and reach their full potential.

Leon Mexter, chief executive of Regional Youth Work Unit North-East, said: “For over 20 years we have worked with local authority youth services and the voluntary youth sector in the region with the aim of improving the lives of young people in the North-East.

“With these awards we have celebrated and shouted loudly about the range and quality of youth work in the region. This sector is truly remarkable.”

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond said: “The dedication and professionalism of our Youth Service staff and the young people who volunteer as Hartlepool Young Inspectors is second-to-none and these awards are very well deserved.

“They have brought great credit to the council and to the town. I congratulate them all and wish them every success in the future.”