Meet the finalists: Volunteer Youth Worker

Volunteering changes lives. Volunteers are the beating heart of the youth work sector, clocking up an incredible 13 million hours of vital support each week. Our three finalists of the Volunteer Youth Worker category have volunteered from an early age and understand how it enriches a young person’s life. It can encourage positive change for a young people than can nurture newfound confidence, boost life satisfaction and find their passion. Volunteering makes the world a better place for young people. 


Dominik Hanley, Castlemilk Youth Complex 

Dominik, known to everyone as Dom, has used his own experience as a young person involved in Castlemilk Youth Complex to become an awesome volunteer youth worker.  

His skills are so versatile that he can turn his hand to anything from creative arts to sport. This allows him to build relationships with all young people, no matter what their interest.

At the end of each youth work session he is always nominating young people he has worked with as “Star of the Night” and makes a big deal about them learning a new chord or participating well in a workshop. This encouragement does go unnoticed, and the young people love hearing his positive feedback.  

Everything Dom contributes to the project voluntary, on top of his university course and his paid work for the NHS.  

And what do the young people who he works with want more of? More Doms of course! 

“All during lockdown I was bullied and then I came back here and Dom helped me, so we should fundraise and get more Doms!” Aiden, aged 12.


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Ryan Burnett, Epilepsy Scotland  

Ryan shows a remarkable dedication to Epilepsy Scotland and sharing his experience of epilepsy to support others.  

He has a caring, empathetic, and engaging nature and always has a willingness to learn more. He’s developed his skills in engaging with children with additional support needs during his volunteer placement over the last 10 months. 

His lived experience has been invaluable to the young people he supports as they can see what can be accomplished even with the barriers they face themselves. By sharing the challenges he has gone through it has encouraged the children in the group to share their own experiences, thoughts, and feelings. The young people in have become more confident in discussing their medical conditions with one another.  

Ryan has given so much time and energy to Epilepsy Scotland and in doing so has raised awareness of epilepsy and the young people they support.  

“I feel happy when Ryan is here, it just warms my heart.” Young Person  


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Justin Jones, North Ayrshire Council 

Justin’s commitment to youth voice has been described as ‘immeasurable’ by his colleagues. He’s the driving force behind Irvine’s Youth Forums, securing funding and empowering young people.  

In his role he’s been involved in food poverty and inequality initiatives, setting up the Friday Grub Hub and Saturday Morning Breakfast Club, where he also volunteers. He founded and delivered the North Ayrshire Youth Festival for three consecutive years, a 7-month job each time!  

He also secured £16,000 of funding for a ‘stay safe’ animation project on drugs and alcohol led by young people, and his passion for the power of UNCRC put him at the forefront of consultation with local young people. 

"I feel happy and excited when I get to come to youth group and I look forward to it every week. Justin always asks what we want to do and how we feel about things he makes me feel like my voice is important.” Euan, aged 16.

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