Inspire Awards Facebook 002The Scottish Borders #2020InspireAwards are celebrating the achievements and voluntary contributions of 194 young people from across the region.

The awards this year were designed to recognise and thank young people who have made a particular contribution to their local community during the difficult months of 2020.

A new #20under20Inspire award was introduced to acknowledge a group of 20 young people under the age of 20 who stood out as being particularly inspirational.

A list of those who received an Award can be found here.

Nominations were made by youth workers, teachers, parents, carers and community members following an appeal from the Inspire Awards partners which include Scottish Borders Council, Volunteer Centre Borders and YouthBorders. Support is also provided by Scottish Borders Youth Voice. A judging panel was convened involving young people and representatives from each of the Inspire Award Partners. The judges made their selection by considering how the nominee had helped others at home, at school or in their community, as well as considering the challenges that the group or young person had overcome before helping others.

The recipients were acknowledged at an online social media event hosted by the 2020 Inspire Awards group on 10 December. Each person who met the criteria was awarded a certificate while the #20under20Inspire winners received a plaque and additional gift.

A list of the #20under20Inspire Winners can be found here.

20Under20Inspire campaign the results are in Twitter and Instagram Among those being congratulated were the following groups who were selected to receive one of the new #20Under20Inspire awards:

  • Tweeddale Youth Action Online Cooking Volunteers
  • Branching Out Youth Group
  • Peebles High School STEM Girls
  • TD1 Youth Hub Youth Ambassadors
  • Eyemouth Response Team.

From supporting young people to taking part in online cooking and baking sessions to developing a local autism awareness campaign, challenging discrimination young women may face in relation to STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) subjects and careers, providing peer ambassadors support for the staff team at TD1 Youth Hub to playing a vital role as volunteers with the Eyemouth Resilience Team's COVID response, the judges were extremely impressed with the young people's efforts.

Plans are now underway for the five groups and a selection of 15 individual young people to feature in an online campaign to be held during January 2021 which will shine the spotlight more fully on their amazing contributions.

Claire Penny of Volunteer Centre Borders said: "Each and every young person or group who was nominated this year is worthy of celebration and for their community efforts to be rewarded. In previous years the Inspire Awards have culminated in a regional ceremony at the Volunteer Hall in Galashiels, but we knew we had to think differently due to the restrictions of COVID-19. Our social media announcement was our initial opportunity to acknowledge our young people and we are now looking forward to celebrating more fully with everyone in our January showcase."

Councillor Carol Hamilton, SBC's Executive Member for Children and Young People, added: "It was a privilege to be involved as a judge in this year's Inspire Awards and I would like to say thank you to all those nominated for their kindness, thoughtfulness and hard work giving their time to help others, in what has been a very difficult time for everyone. Each nominee is deserving of acknowledgement, but I was particularly struck by the determination and commitment of the young people who have been selected for the #20under20Inspire campaign. Borders young people really are going over and above and engaging in positive activities, helping others and making our communities stronger as a result."

Susan Hunter of YouthBorders, said: "2020 has been a difficult and challenging year, and even more so it is important that we stop and recognise the achievements of young people. The nominations to this year's Inspire Awards include young people who are caring for family members, fundraising for good causes, volunteering in their local resilience groups, improving their local environment, sharing their skills for cooking with others, or and championing equality and inclusion and they should all be commended for their individual and collective efforts."

Miriam Aitken, one of the judges said: "It was a great experience to be a part of, there were so many wonderful nominations from people who had done remarkable things. It was incredibly hard to judge them all because I wanted to give them all full marks. So well done everyone who was nominated, whether you were in the top 20 or not, you all deserve the world."

Information about the five groups in receipt of a #20Under20Inspire award is listed below. More information about the event to be held in January next year, where individual recipients will also feature, will be provided in due course.

• Tweeddale Youth Action (TYA) – Online Cooking Volunteers
TYA's young cooking volunteers enabled the local youth project to support more than 50 young people each week to take part in online cooking and baking sessions. The team of three young people volunteered one day each week to weigh, measure and bag up materials for distribution to isolated young people across the Tweed Valley between April and July 2020. Delivering ingredient bags to other young people they provided a moment of social interaction and positivity during a really challenging time. Their nominator said: "Alongside helping our community, this team of volunteers have developed in confidence, resilience and have improved cookery skills. The team enjoyed the challenge of our resilience response and the feeling of achievement and success from being a volunteer."

• Branching Out Youth Group
Branching Out is a newly funded Additional Support Needs Youth Project which launched in spring 2020. The young people initiated the idea of having a local autism awareness campaign in the Scottish Borders. The team of eight young people developed their ideas and campaign with one of the group going on to speak on air with a local community radio station in Hawick to raise awareness. The group has great plans for the future including ensuring their voices continue to be heard and have access to an inclusive space to meet their peers, develop friendship and transition in to adulthood. Their nominator from Borders Additional Needs group said: "This group of young people inspire us and are a joy to work with. They are raising awareness of autism and ASN and also showing us what they can achieve when they believe in themselves."

• Peebles High School STEM Girls
Set up during COVID-19 the team of five S6 pupils at Peebles High School established a new group to support and help girls to challenge discrimination they may face in STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) subjects and careers, promote equality and challenge unconscious bias. The network created by the girls is growing and they meet using Teams and have established a social media base on Instagram. Their nominator from Peebles High School said: "The group has drawn on their own experiences and have become advocates for gender equality. They appreciate that other girls may not be as resilient as them and are passionate about improving the experience of others in the school. They recognise that gender imbalance is a local, national and international challenge in STEM and want to take positive steps to improve participation rates of women in STEM subjects and careers. For the first time at Peebles High School there is student led action to tackle such an issue."

• TD1 Youth Hub Youth Ambassadors
This small but dedicated team of four peer ambassadors have been instrumental in supporting the staff team at TD1 Youth Hub with their Covid-19 response. They have provided peer support for many young people, volunteering their time to connect with young people who were feeling isolated during lockdown. The Ambassador group led consultation with young people about the measures that TD1 Youth Hub would need to take to make it safe for young people re-opening, and went on to design safety leaflets for the project. The four youth ambassadors are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of others. Their nominator from TD1 Youth Hub said: "We have all been that age and know when young people do take part in something that perhaps 'isn't cool' they get a lot of stick for it. However these four have managed to turn it in to something cool. We constantly have young people coming up now and asking 'how do I get a hoody like them lot' or 'what do I do to be part of that group'. We really are fortunate to have such excellent peer role models at TD1 Youth Hub who continue to fight the stigma that young people are faced with in our community."

• Eyemouth Response Team
The young volunteers at Eyemouth Response Team have made a significant contribution to the wellbeing of their community during lockdown and beyond. The group of 10 young people have delivered outstanding service to the Eyemouth area, including taking on leadership roles and coordinating their own team of volunteers. They have shopped, cooked and delivered to help provide food and prescriptions to those in need of assistance. Their nominator said "The enthusiasm of this group of volunteers encouraged others to step forward as volunteers; they turned up each day with enthusiasm, a smile and a willingness to help. Their efforts have been incredible and we know that this team of young people will be ready whenever we need them and we are confident in the knowledge that Eyemouth is resilient."

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