Posted on: Wednesday 1 March 2023
More than 180 young people from across Torfaen have been celebrated at this year’s Torfaen Play Service Volunteering Awards ceremony.
The annual event recognises the outstanding contributions made by play volunteers who have supported the service over the past year, and helped to provide hundreds of hours of play to children and communities across Torfaen.
This week, volunteers and their families came together at the Congress Theatre, in Cwmbran, for the special awards ceremony, where they were recognised for providing over 26,000 hours of volunteering this year alone.
Seventeen-year-old Maia Elsworhy, from Coed Eva, scooped the prestigious ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award, for going above and beyond in her playworker role.
Maia was commended for giving up her free time to support countless play provisions in both term time and during school holidays, as well as play and respite sessions on the weekends.
A modern contemporary and ballet dancer at the Gemini School of Dance in Griffithstown, Maia brought her skills into the settings, creating unique opportunities for children and young people, all whilst balancing studies and hobbies.
Maia, who started her volunteering journey in summer 2021, said, “I am so shocked to have received this award, but so grateful. I had no idea! I have enjoyed volunteering so much and have made so many new friends.
“I would recommend this programme to anyone! It has opened my mind to so many new experiences and opportunities, and I look forward to my future with Torfaen Play.”
It is estimated that over the past 21 years, Torfaen Play has supported over 2000 young people to volunteer in community play settings, which has accumulated over 220,000 hours of volunteering.
The project has also become a popular pathway for young people of all abilities and backgrounds in Torfaen.
On the night, certificates were also presented to Summer Volunteers, Term Time Volunteers, Apprentices and Trainees.
Councillor Fiona Cross, Executive Member for Children, Families and Communities, said: “I am extremely proud of all of our volunteers, their dedication and enthusiasm to support our play settings is paramount. Congratulations to Maia for receiving such well-deserved recognition in the role. She really is an inspiration to many young people across Torfaen.
Without our volunteers, we would simply not be able to continue supporting as many children and communities as we currently do. They are invaluable to what we offer and they provide an excellent example of youth engagement within our communities.”
The recruitment for summer volunteers has already begun.
If you are aged 16 and over, you can apply for a voluntary position with the Play Service by completing their online application form on the Torfaen Council website.
The deadline for applications is Friday 31 March.
For further information about the different types of volunteering and training offered call 01495 742951or email email@example.com