12 Aug 2011

A PANEL of eight young people today launched the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People's Participation Awards 2011. The Participation Awards will recognise positive examples of engaging young people in public life.

Commissioner, Patricia Lewsley said that the awards were open to all government departments, arm's length bodies and other public sector organisations.

"It is fitting that my Participation Awards 2011 have been created and developed by a panel of dedicated young people," said Ms Lewsley. "They have shaped these awards to acknowledge good practice, and demonstrate how positive change can happen with good, early participation.

Julie Dickson - Loughgiel.jpg

"So much legislation and many policies affect the lives of young people that it is vital that they are involved at the earliest possible stage,"

The panel that worked on the Participation Awards 2011 included Jill Lapping from Belfast.

"It's our turn to award government and the public sector," she said. "We know that some parts of Northern Ireland's civil and public sector need to do a lot more work to include young people in appropriate decision making

"But we also know there is good participation work to help shape policies in a way that includes young people, improves the policies, and brings forward realistic change.

"With the Commissioner, we want all the civil service and public sector organisations to take up the challenge of the NICCY Participation Awards 2011.

"We want to use these awards to show where good work is being done, and encourage more agencies to engage meaningfully with young people."

Notes to Editors

  • You can find out more about the Participation Awards here
  • The Commissioner for Children and Young People, Particia Lewsley, and young people involved in the panel will be available for interview/photographs between 13:00 and 16:00 on 12/08/11.
  • Photographs are available.
  • The panel of young people created and agreed the criteria for the awards.
  • Young people from Belfast, Derry, Newtownabbey, Carrick, Carrickfergus and Loughgiel were involved in the panel.
  • The awards are open to all government departments, non-departmental public bodies, and all organisations that are considered 'public sector'.

Issued by Jonathan Traynor - communications@niccy.org, 028 9031 1616 or mobile 07917 543953