The search for Belfastâ€™s outstanding teens got underway today as the cityâ€™s Lord Mayor and Cool FMâ€™s Pete Snodden launched the councilâ€™s annual Young Peopleâ€™s Awards.
Now in their fifth year, the awards aim to recognise and reward young people (up to the age of 21) involved in positive projects that are making a real difference in their communities, with a top prize of Â£1,000 up for grabs.
Organised by Belfast City Council, the awards are held in partnership with its Youth Forum, Belfast Community Safety Partnership, Thomas Devlin Trust, Youth Justice Agency and Belfast District Policing Partnership.
And this year the council is welcoming Cool FMâ€™s Pete Snodden onboard to help with raising awareness about the awards and the contribution young people are making to communities across the city.
Lord Mayor of Belfast Cllr Pat Convery said: â€œThese awards are an important event on the council calendar and have gone from strength to strength since they were first launched five years ago.
â€œYoung people in general can often face very negative stereotypes and I think itâ€™s hugely important for us, in our role as civic leaders, to challenge those stereotypes and showcase these unsung heroes who are quietly working away in their communities, and making a real difference as a result.
â€œOver the last few years we have seen young people from across the city getting some of the recognition they deserve and once again weâ€™re inviting nominations for the 2011 awards, which will be held in City Hall next March.â€
Pete Snodden, who will be hosting the gala awards ceremony next year and entertaining winners with a special DJ set, said he was pleased to support the initiative.
â€œIâ€™m really delighted that Iâ€™ve been given the opportunity to be involved in these awards; I think itâ€™s a fantastic way of recognising the difference young people can make, and giving them the credit they deserve,â€ said Pete.
â€œIâ€™m also looking forward to meeting some of the young people and celebrating in style with them at City Hall.â€
For the first time, young people can nominate themselves for an award and the council is also encouraging entrants to consider making a short video in support of their nomination.
Elaine McWilliams, from the councilâ€™s community safety team, said: â€œIn the past weâ€™ve only asked for third party nominations but we thought it was about time we gave young people the opportunity to sing their own praises.
â€œAlso, because of the sheer volume of nominations we receive, our judging panel will only consider those that are fully completed and provide as much detail as possible about the project, so that judges can get a real sense of how the young people are making a positive impact on that particular community.â€
Nominations open today and close at 5pm on Wednesday, January 5, 2011. All nominees must live in the Belfast City Council area and be aged 21 or under.
For more information on the awards, prizes and nomination categories visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/ypa