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CashBack-funded youth group wins Queen's Award

Posted on: Thursday 2nd June 2016

CashBack-funded youth group wins Queen's Award

A CashBack-supported youth group from Edinburgh has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The BIG Project supports children and young people aged 5-18 years living in the Broomhouse area ofEdinburghto learn, achieve, have fun and feel good about themselves.

The BIG Project has a well established reputation for excellence throughout the local community and improves long term quality of life by developing self-confidence, resilience, optimism and a commitment to personal excellence as a basis for their potential life role as family, community and workplace members.

The BIG Project receives CashBack for Communities funding through YouthLink Scotland to employ two youth workers to run twice-weekly open access youth club sessions where young people can learn new skills and increase their confidence and self-image in a safe and supportive environment.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities. The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.  The BIG Project is one of 193 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year.

Award winners this year range from a War Memorial Community Trust, providing social facilities for the benefit of the community in Clwyd, Wales, to a club enhancing the community by developing individuals through athletics, in Ayrshire and Arran, Scotland.

The BIG Project workers Sascha Macleod, Lissa McIntyre and Alice Black attended the garden party at Buckingham Palace on24th May 2016where they were introduced to the Queen.

The BIG Project will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Edinburgh later this summer.

The Lord Lieutenant, said:Coming from a teaching background, I understand what can be achieved by this work and I believe that those who are part of The BIG Project will go on to do great things because of their experiences here.”

David Hull ofRotary said: “Having worked with the BIG Project over a number of years on many projects we have first-hand experience on the benefits provided to local young people – congratulations to all.”

Project Director, Ms Sascha Macleod, said:"The award of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2016 represents a tremendous achievement for The BIG Project, based in the Broomhouse area ofEdinburgh. Everyone involved, and particularly the volunteers, who are integral to the success of the project, are immensely proud of the recognition this Award represents.

“From the outset, The BIG Project has been supported by the enthusiasm and dedication of volunteers from diverse life backgrounds, ranging in age from 16 - 68 and hailing from a number of different countries. 

“The BIG Project sets out to raise aspirations and improve life choices for the children and young people who attend but it is clear that it also achieves this for its volunteers. They are the lifeblood of The BIG Project and it is very encouraging to know that the skills and experience gained through their volunteering has helped many of them into youth work, teacher training or into better employment opportunities. "

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