Action4Youth, an Aylesbury based charity which provides positive experiences and activities for young people hosted an inspirational evening for 1,400 service users, their families and guests, to celebrate their achievements last week.
Dedication Awards for long service by volunteers were presented by the Lord Lieutenant of Bucks and Action4Youth patron Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, to those who have spent decades supporting young people in the community.
Paralympic seven-a-side footballer Alistair Patrick-Heselton shared his remarkable story of courage and achievement and then presented this year’s Young Leaders awards to 23 young people from across the county.
Olympic athlete Derek Redmond was the guest speaker and spoke about one of the iconic moments in Olympic history - when he finished the 400m semi-final at the 1992 Games in Barcelona despite tearing his hamstring mid-race.
Derek then presented 350 National Citizen Service graduates with their certificates - together this group of young people have raised Â£24,078.65 for local charities this summer.
Martin Reed, a founding family member of Thomas International and an Action4Youth Trustee, was so inspired by all the stories of achievement by the young people at the Big Night Out that he pledged to match the amount raised by the NCS teams.
Martin said: “The young people on this summer’s Action4Youth NCS programmes showed real creativity and dedication in their efforts to raise funds for local charities.
"It was inspiring to hear so many stories of success and I am happy to be able to reward them by doubling the money they have raised.
"All of the staff and volunteers do a fantastic job in making the whole NCS process run so smoothly.
“I’m proud to be a trustee of Action4Youth, whose work with young people is so important in developing their confidence, knowledge and skills, and preparing them for future success.“
Throughout the evening young people spoke of the impact that Action4Youth’s programmes have had on their lives and of how they feel better equipped for the future and inspired to achieve, as a result.
Jenifer Cameron, CEO of Action4Youth said, “Our annual Big Night Out is the high point of our year.
"It is a joy to be joined by so many inspirational people of all generations but our focus, of course, is on the young people of Bucks and Milton Keynes who have achieved so much and who give us such hope for the future of our community.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to our Big Night Out event sponsors, iELive Event Services, Your Print Solutions, Buckinghamshire College Group and NHBC who also kindly sponsored the Club of the Year award, which went to Buckingham Youth Club.”