A Duns youngster was responsible for delivering the first ever report to be developed by Scottish Borders Youth Voice at an event last week.
The a youth-led organisation supported by Scottish Borders Council, aims to empower young people aged 12-25 by giving them the opportunity to get actively involved in campaigns and decision-making.
Launched in 2013, SBYV consists of eight teams, each meeting regularly to work on a range of projects including the Youth Chex youth bank scheme and the annual Saltire Inspire Awards.
Members met last week to mark the publication of the first SBYV report which they developed themselves.
It details the achievements of both SBYV and its individual members, from completing informal and accredited training and taking advantage of volunteering and work opportunities to meeting the First Minister and attending meetings in the House of Commons, working with youngsters from Sweden and hosting competitions for primary school pupils across the Borders.
Among those who contributed to the report was Duns’ Ollie Smith who was very enthusiastic about his involvement with Borders Youth Voice.
He commented: “When I sit back and think about what I have achieved through being a part of SBYV, I realise I have gained masses.
“I find it easier to approach new people. I have much more confidence and I can speak in front of large groups of people, both children and adults. “I’ve got involved in lots of new things and I have made a lot of new friends, but most of all it feels good to be valued and to have my voice heard.”
It was down to Ollie and fellow Youth Voice member Kirsty Lannon to present the report to their fellow members , Councillor Vicky Davidson, SBC’s Executive Member for Culture, Sport, Youth and Communities and invited guests.
And Councillor Davidson was clearly impressed with how SBYV had gone about their task, commenting: “I am delighted to receive the first SBYV annual report.
“ It is a fantastic presentation of all the great things our young people have been doing to help make the Scottish Borders a better place.
“I would especially like to thank the young people of SBYV for contributing to this report and to the members of staff who have worked to make the organisation such a success.”
The evening, hosted by Children and Young People’s Champion, Councillor Graham Garvie, united 18 organisations including Police Scotland, Youth Borders and YouthLink Scotland.
Guests took part in themed discussions before enjoying an awards presentation during which Caris Watson collected a Bronze Youth Achievement Award; Zoe Daniel and Dylan Paterson each received a certificate for completing the Developing Decision-Making Skills course and for successfully finishing the Introduction to Grant Making course, along with Ollie .
The Scottish Borders Youth Voice annual report 2013/14 is available to download from www.scotborders.gov.uk/sbyvreport.