Justice Minister Claire Sugden has paid tribute to volunteers who work closely with the Youth Justice Agency.
At an reception in Lisburn, the Minister presented certificates to volunteers from right across Northern Ireland and acknowledged the valuable role they play in helping divert young people from crime.
Claire Sugden said: “Volunteers are positive role models for young people, assisting them in making good choices about their lives and diverting them from crime. They can really help young people develop the skills and maturity they need as they move towards adulthood.”
The Minister also presented the annual ‘Ross McCartney Volunteer Award’ to Andy Patton. This award is sponsored by the Youth Justice Agency in memory of Ross, a former volunteer worker who died from cancer at the age of 24.
She said: “Ross undoubtedly made a positive impact on the lives of young people before his untimely death and it is a fitting tribute to him that the Agency continues to sponsor an annual award in recognition of his work.
“Through his volunteering, Andy Patton has demonstrated the same qualities and values as Ross. The commitment and determination of volunteers like Andy makes me confident that they will continue to play a vital role in helping young people.”