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22 October, 2010

Nick Hurd MP, Minster for Civil Society presents students with social action awards

On Tuesday 19 October, 42 students from eight UK secondary schools attended an event at HM Treasury where they were presented with Giving Nation Social Action Awards from Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society. The awards aim to recognise schools who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to charity and community activity.

Each of the school groups was presented with an award and £500 to continue their campaigning and charitable activities. However, the overall winning school team, Queen Elizabeth II High School, Peel, Isle of Man, have won a trip to the Gambia with Concern Universal. They will visit development projects and meet staff from Concern Universal and local partners who work to help people in the Gambia improve their quality of life. By experiencing rural community life and sharing their experiences and ideas with young Gambians, they will gain a deeper understanding about the role that they can play in the global movement challenging poverty and inequality.

On receiving the award at the ceremony student Rebecca Fong spoke of how the students learned to work as a team while running Giving Nation activities as they formed a charity committee, ‘It was exciting and we learned loads about charities and realised it's very beneficial to both our community and school.' She also told the audience of MPs, business representatives and partner organisations, ‘We are very excited to have the opportunity to see the work of Concern Universal in the Gambia. This will be a life-changing trip and I'm sure we will all learn much from the experience. It was a really thrilling moment when we heard the news. It was a wonderful surprise, and a great way to start the term!'

Giving Nation, a project of the education and participation charity the Citizenship Foundation, is supported by the Cabinet Office and aims to inspire and encourage young people to learn about and engage with the work of charities, social enterprises and their local community. This year Giving Nation has been working with a network of over 550 secondary schools, throughout the UK. All of the schools who entered the awards recorded the charity and community activities they organised throughout the 2009/10 academic year in an awards diary on the Giving Nation website.

Queen Elizabeth II High School raised over £27,000 with over 100 fundraising, volunteering and campaigning events in support of charities with a variety of activities ranging from crazy tie day, a sponsored cycle-ride to quiz and film nights. Charities benefiting from Queen Elizabeth's efforts include Haiti Earthquake appeal, Children In Need, Jeans for Genes, Comic Relief and the Red Cross.

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