YOUNG people who have been in care most of their lives were celebrated at a very special event held at the GuildhalL.
The Celebration of Success Awards were hosted by the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr John Boyle, in association with the Western Trust and VOYPIC.
It recognised the achievements of young care leavers, aged 16 years old and over.
Arranged to coincide with “Care Day” (15 February), the awards event applauded the individual achievements of each young person.
Whether it was a training qualification received, good exam results, employment gained, personal development or success on the sports field, an award was presented to further recognise their hard work and efforts.
The awards were attended and presented by Western Trust Chairman Niall Birthistle, Chief Executive Dr Anne Kilgallen, Assistant Director of Women and Children’s Services Pat Armstrong, Assistant Director of Corporate Parenting Tom Cassidy and Donna O’Kane from VOYPIC along with young person Caothan McBride and Celebrity Guest Bronagh Gallagher.
Speaking at the event, Dr Anne Kilgallen, Western Trust Chief Executive, said: “Every child should have the best start in life and an equal chance to succeed. This year we have approximately 160 care leavers from this area.
“I am delighted that through their own tenacity and the excellent support and guidance from their carers and workers, they consistently perform well in relation to education, training and employment.”
Dr Kilgallen added: “The Western Trust recognises the lengths its staff go to support young people to achieve their potential in life and is committed to continuous improvement through innovative and creative approaches that are influenced and shaped by our service users.
“This event in particular, was planned and developed by a small group of our current care leavers.
“I am delighted to be part of presenting the awards.“They provided the perfect opportunity for our young people to come together, have lots of fun and feel justifiably proud of their respective achievements.
“I would like to thank the Mayor, Cllr John Boyle for kindly hosting the event and acknowledging the contribution that care leavers make to their community.
“I would also like to thank our young musicians and performers for making the event that bit more special.”
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr John Boyle said he was delighted to be part of this celebratory event.
“It is very important that we do all we can to acknowledge and recognise the contribution young care leavers make to their local community.
“I am delighted as Mayor to host the event and to welcome everyone along to the Guildhall for the presentation.”
The young people who attended were treated to an afternoon of fun with light-hearted activities prior to the main prize giving.
During the ceremony there were also some individual musical and drama performances from the young people.