A junior leader with Larne YMCA has returned from a meeting in London with Prime Minister David Cameron.
Darren McDonagh, a Diana Award holder, enjoyed a lunch date with the Premier at Downing Street recently.
The meeting was part of the Diana Award 14th anniversary celebrations organised to discuss the progress of the award scheme, with Darren and fellow recipients who shared their stories of community and voluntary work and its benefits to young people and society in general.
The Diana Award was established as a lasting legacy to Princess Diana’s belief that young people have the power the change the world for the better.
Young people are nominated by their schools and communities in recognition of their contribution to society.
“They come from all walks of life and backgrounds and share a deep sense of social responsibility.
The charity is passionate about young people, and through the Diana Award’s development programme, the compassion and commitment of young people is harnessed so they fulfill their aspirations for society.
Darren, one of the first recipients from Northern Ireland, received his award for his voluntary work with Larne YMCA and St John Ambulance and is now helping to co-ordinate the Diana Award scheme in Northern Ireland.
He will be working alongside newly-appointed NI Diana Award Ambassador, Sandara Kelso-Robb, executive director Lloyds TSB Foundation for NI, to raise the profile of the award in Northern Ireland, encourage nominations and support recipients in continuing their community endeavours.
Darren said: “I got a shock at Downing Street when it was announced that I would be helping facilitate the award process in Northern Ireland, but this is a great opportunity to support other young people and celebrate young people’s successes.
“It was great to meet so many inspirational people at the event and it created many networking opportunities for me and I will be following these up in the coming weeks.”
Larne YMCA youth worker Dean Nutt commented: “What a great experience for Darren – it is great to see young people making positive contributions in their community and to see them being recognised for this.
“He is a great ambassador for young people, Larne YMCA and Larne.”
Before leaving Downing Street, Darren handed over some Larne YMCA goodies to the PM – a copy of Larne YMCA’s dvd “The Chronicles of Larnia”, a Larne YMCA cookbook and a Larne YMCA hoodie.