Alliance Youth Chair Stephen Martin has called on young people to consider volunteering some of their free time to give something back to their local community.
The Lisburn representative commented: “In 2007, it is estimated there were 750,000 people volunteered their time in Northern Ireland to an array of different activities. There were 470,000 doing unpaid or voluntary work outside of organisations, often at neighbourhood level. Very often, young people don’t even realise that work they are doing, whether it is helping out with a youth group, coaching the local football team or assisting leaders at Sunday School, are forms of volunteering. Their work is worth over £ 930 million a year to Northern Ireland’s economy and their efforts must be praised by all of us across our society.
Stephen Martin added: “Yet in recent years, we have seen a significant decrease in young people continuing with their volunteering activities after a certain period of time. Even taking into account exams, social pressures, changes in interests, part-time employment or even moving away to university, young people are still eager to pitch in if they have the time.
“I would urge all young people to make the time to seek out volunteering opportunities and give something back to their local community. Small steps by individuals will help make the substantial progress Northern Ireland desperately needs if it is to move towards a truly united community.”