A St Albans based volunteering charity is encouraging residents to nominate young people who have made outstanding contributions to their community in its first annual youth awards ceremony.

Centre for Voluntary Service St Albans based in the Civic Centre is looking for nominations for young people aged 14 to 19-year-olds, who have given up their time to help others, whether it is volunteering in a school or college or at an outside charity or community group.

The St Albans District Youth Volunteering Awards aim to recognise young people who have made outstanding contributions to their local community, as part of CVS’s mission to raise awareness of the benefits of youth volunteering.

Alison Halligan, Chief Executive Officer said: "Young people today can feel they are under enormous pressure to do well at school, to help out at home, to fit in with their peer group and to prepare themselves for work.

"Despite these pressures, many of them across the district choose to volunteer. They are making a positive choice to give up some of their precious spare time because they want to make a difference. We think their positive attitude should be recognised and applauded, and we also hope that by shining a spotlight on some of the volunteers in the area, we may encourage others to follow their example.

"We currently have over 300 local volunteering opportunities on our database, and while they will are not all suitable for young people, we do have a number of local groups and charities that can use young volunteers.

The nominations should include their basic details, school and a brief outline of the volunteer work they have done and why they deserve recognition.

CVS hope to host the awards in February, as part of Student Volunteering Week, which runs from February 24 to March 2 where outstanding student contributions will be highlighted.

Those nominated for the awards will be featured on the CVS St Albans website and each student will get a certificate of recognition for their contribution to the community.

Ms Halligan added: "We are delighted that so many young people volunteer to have fun and find new friends, and to develop new interests and new skills. Volunteering can also help relieve exam or other stress, and it involves people in their community. We want to celebrate some of the young volunteers of 2013 by publicising what they have done.

"If you know a young volunteer (under 19) who has contributed a lot to your local school, community group or project, please thank them now by sending us their details and explaining why you think they are exceptional.

Nominations should be sent to sabrina@cvsstalbans.org.uk. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact the Volunteer Centre on 01727 852657 or email volunteering@cvsstalbans.org.uk.