The Youth Service managed to reach the short-list of the Youth Work Excellence Awards 2022 and the Service went on to win both awards in a ceremony held in Swansea in December.

Andrew Owen, Youth Worker, won the 'Exceptional Youth Worker' award, and the event,  Well-being Festival: Gwynedd Youth, won the 'Showing excellence when planning and delivering in partnership on a local level' award.

The Youth Work Excellence Awards are an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate excellent youth work projects, youth workers and those involved with youth work across Wales.

Andrew was nominated for the 'Exceptional Youth Worker' Award by the young people he works with.  They noted that he had had a positive impact on their lives, including helping them with their confidence and making them feel safe, happy and valuable.

Andrew is very active in the Dwyfor area; this includes working at two secondary schools and different communities in the area - having a very positive impact locally. The judges drew attention to Andrew's enthusiasm for teaching and learning as well as his commitment and positive attitude.

Andrew stated: "It was a huge privilege to be nominated by the young people, I felt that I'd already won just by being nominated, but winning the award in Swansea is something that I will never forget. I have always felt huge pride towards my work and this award is for the young people as well; without their enthusiasm and willingness to participate in the sessions I deliver, none of this would be possible.

It is a huge privilege to be involved in their lives and to hope to develop their future skills. I am also proud that these young people are drawing attention to the work that we as Youth Workers are doing across the county."

Annette Ryan, Youth Support Work Leader said: "A very deserved award for an excellent Youth Worker here in Gwynedd. With his vast experience of youth work, and of course, his qualifications, Andrew works quietly and tirelessly with enthusiasm for the benefit of young people.

He has a very special talent of helping young people to build confidence, feel safe and be an important part of their community. As the young people have already said, Andrew is having a hugely positive impact on their lives and everyone is happy in his company. I am so proud of him and we are very lucky as a service to have Andrew with us."

The 2022 Well-being Festival was held over a week across Gwynedd, with the aim of bringing organisations together in order to promote mental and physical health and well-being amongst the young people in the county. Young people played a very prominent role when leading the project, with youth work practitioners supporting them throughout the period.

The judges noted that the festival had helped to develop and strengthen contacts for the future, and proves that agencies and services can work together in order to improve the experiences of young people.