An umbrella organisation that looks after youth groups in the Scottish Borders has become the first in the area to achieve the top Investors in Young People award.
Youth Borders is only the 12th third sector organisation in Scotland to be awarded the Investors in Young People Gold award.
Offered to all businesses across Scotland, the award recognises and supports organisations in the employment of youngsters.
Having now achieved the Gold accreditation, Youth Borders is eligible to use and display the Investors in Young People Gold logo and plaque and enjoy its benefits.
Clare de Bolle, Youth Borders chief executive, said: “I am absolutely thrilled we have been awarded the Investors in Young People Gold accreditation, the first high level standard in the Scottish Borders.
“Young people are at the core of everything we do so this award means that we are striving to be as best practice as possible when it comes to working as an organisation and with our 34 members across the Scottish Borders.”
Peter Russian, chief executive of Remarkable which overseas the Investors in Young People award, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Youth Borders and the whole team at Remarkable would like to congratulate them.
“The Investors in Young People framework not only recognises and supports organisations in the employment of young people but marks them out as an employer of choice.
“I am delighted to see that Youth Borders has achieved the Gold level accreditation.
“The benefits of recruiting and developing young people are countless. They include the creation of a talent pool for the future, new and increased skills in areas such as IT and social media, fresh eyes and mind-sets into business operations along with enthusiasm and unique talents.”
Now in its 10th year, Youth Borders supports 66 youth clubs and groups, supporting more than 3500 young people from P6 to S6.
But it is not resting on its laurels with the recent gold award – it is now going even further to empower the next generation by setting up a Youth Forum.
Meeting for the first time earlier this month, the forum is made up of youngsters from across the region.
Its aim is to give them a platform to make their voices heard, with financial support from local businesses.
It is hoped it will empower local young people, giving them valuable skills in decision making, strategic thinking and community campaigning.
It will also help businesses in the Borders develop a young workforce for tomorrow.
The Youth Forum has already received high-profile backing from Borders Toyota.
Craig Anderson, head of business at the firm, said: “Youth Borders is a huge asset to our young people and we are delighted to be supporting them with the creation of a Youth Forum.
“We are excited about the potential in aspiring young people to achieve their best and to support their communities, something we feel very passionately about.”
Borders MSP Christine Grahame has also given her backing to the group in its latest fundraising mission.
She said: “Youth Borders provides sterling co-ordination for youth work in the Borders and it would be great for the network to continue to grow and expand its work, giving young people a real voice.
“Thriving, confident and well-supported young people are the workforce of tomorrow. Local businesses, therefore, have a big stake in the success of Youth Borders and the forum’s development.
“If businesses, large and small, operating here can each commit even a small sum to Youth Borders for two to three years, the work of the network will be secured and enhanced.”
Clare added: “Not only will this forum give a new voice to young people but it will also be a great way to provide them with training, skills, networking and support, developing important contacts with businesses, promoting aspiration and community and growing our own.
“It will also be a way to champion the Scottish Borders, promoting and shouting about the positives of being a young person living in this area.”
For more information, visit www.youthborders.org.uk. And any business interested in supporting youth work in the region should call 01896 755110.