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Seven students from the University of Ulster have been recognised for their valuable community outreach work in local schools and communities.

The university’s community sports partnerships deliver sports outreach activities to over 100 primary and secondary schools and over 10,000 pupils annually in Northern Ireland.

To reward their work, Ulster has established the Sports Outreach Volunteer Awards, which have just been held by the university for the first time.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ulster Sports Outreach Programme Officer, Richard Gormley said: “Student volunteers are the lifeblood of the university’s sports outreach unit and our richest resource. This event not only pays tribute to our volunteers but honours and rewards themfor the tremendous impact they have in the community and local schools, through our various Ulster Sports Outreach programmes.

“In the last year alone our programmes have created over 250,000 opportunities to take part in sport and physical activity for children and young people from the province’s most disadvantaged areas. “It also provides rich opportunities for our students to develop their teaching, coaching and event management skills and it contributes to knowledge transfer to the primary and secondary education sector.”

Notes to editors:

The Sports Volunteer Award winners were:

Female Volunteer of The Year, Claire Johnston from Belfast

Male Volunteer of the Year, Ciaran Chambers from Lisburn

Rising Star of the Year, Troy Wilson from Glenarm, Ballymena

School Sports Legacy Programme Volunteer of the Year, Alex Deering from Newtownards

Outstanding Contribution to Volunteering, Shane Kelly from Carrickfergus

Volunteer’s Volunteer of the Year, Christopher McShane from Newry

Volunteering Champions 2013/14, Joanna Baskin from Castlederg, Ruth Neill from Belfast, Vicky Parkhill from Glengormley