Borders youth worker awarded for helping young people find their voice

Susan Robb (centre) receives her award from Aileen Campbell MSP, Minister for Children and Young People, and John Hooper, Community Planning Manager for Strathclyde Fire and Rescue at the youth worker of the year awards
Susan Robb (centre) receives her award from Aileen Campbell MSP, Minister for Children and Young People, and John Hooper, Community Planning Manager for Strathclyde Fire and Rescue at the youth worker of the year awards

BORDERS youth worker Susan Robb, was named runner-up in the YouthLink Scotland Youth Worker of the Year awards 2012 held in Glasgow earlier this month.

As the participation officer for children and young people with Scottish Borders Council (SBC), Susan has worked with young people across the region on a number of a number of projects that give them a voice.

The first ever local authority Youth Commission was set up in the Borders under Susan’s guidance and the first task for 12 young people was to gather evidence and make recommendations to SBC councillors on their new anti-bullying policy.

Susan said: “I am delighted to have been nominated by Scottish Borders Council for this award and to receive recognition from Youthlink Scotland.

“I am very fortunate to have had support from colleagues here at SBC to develop innovative practices around participation, and am privileged to be able to work with such enthusiastic, creative, and motivated young people on a daily basis.”

Glenn Rodger, director of education and lifelong learning, added: “I would like to offer congratulations to Susan as this is a significant achievement and is recognition for the dedicated and professional approach she takes to her work. It is also a measure of success for the Council and its partners in the approach we take jointly to youth participation and engagement in the Borders.”

Jim Sweeney, chief executive of YouthLink Scotland, said: “Competition was particularly strong this year, with entries for the awards up 75 per cent on last year.

“All of the finalists and winners have shown a truly outstanding commitment to innovative youth work that helps to improve the lives of young people in Scotland and the communities that they live in.

“The spread and diversity of the projects recognised this year highlights once again that every day, in communities across Scotland, there is some of the best youth work practice taking place anywhere in the world.”

The Minster for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell, who presented the awards added: “On behalf of the Scottish Government I’d like to congratulate this year’s Youth Worker of the Year Award winners on receiving the recognition they so rightly deserve. As a Government, we place great value on the role youth work can play in improving young people’s life chances while also contributing to local communities. It was therefore a great privilege to attend this year’s event and help present these inspirational people with their awards.’’

The most recent project Susan has been part of is called ‘Involved’ and was launched by young people at a ‘Purple Party on the same day Susan received her award - March 15.

Involved gives better opportunities for children and young people to be actively involved in the decisions being made on their care, learning, health and wellbeing.

Wearing purple in some form to mark the launch, young people and their invited guests gathered from across the Borders and Scotland for a lively afternoon to showcase their local and national involvement and to celebrate their achievements. Representatives from Young Scot, the Children’s Parliament, and the Office of Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People attended the launch.

The afternoon began with live music from Galashiels band Cortez Cortez, and welcome speeches were followed by showcase events from children and young people across the Borders on how they had been developing various forms of involvement.

On behalf of the Children and Young People’s Partnership, Glenn Rodger, said: “We have an ambitious vision for our children and young people in the Scottish Borders. We will encourage them to be ambitious for themselves. We will keep children and young people at the centre of everything we do and we will develop our services to support and empower them to become confident individuals, effective contributors, successful learners, and responsible citizens.”

Susan added: “The Participation Theme Group, which includes membership from young people aged 12-19, will monitor the progress of Involved and its priority action plan to ensure that all partners are committed, and to help fulfil the right of all children and young people to have a say on the matters that affect them.”