Moray youth worker leads the way with ‘ambassador’ award

Caitlin Forbes with Group Captain (Retd) Bob Kemp, then Area Director of the RAFBF Scotland and Northern England receiving her 500 hours Saltire Award

A Moray youth worker made an Airplay volunteering ambassador for her work in supporting service personnel and their families.

Airplay is a unique youth support programme for the Royal Air Force, operating on all main RAF bases across the UK for children and young people growing up on stations.

Now Caitlin Forbes, 21, who joined Airplay Lossiemouth as a teenage member, has been named as their first Saltire ambassador in Moray.

The Saltire Awards are a Scottish programme to celebrate and reward recognise young people aged between 12 and 25 who volunteer in their local communities, while a Saltire Ambassador is a young person who represents their organisation and is part of a panel promoting youth volunteering in their area.

In the summer Caitlin was awarded her 500 hours Saltire Award for volunteering with Airplay Lossie over two years, one of only six people to have achieved this award in the area to date.

Another was Laura Miller, who is also from Airplay at RAF Lossiemouth.

Part of Caitlin’s new role will involve assessing Saltire Summit nominations for excellence in youth volunteering of which only 20 are awarded nationally each year.

Caitlin first joined Airplay Lossiemouth as a member at the age of 15. She soon took on additional responsibilities at the junior club and progressed to being a formal young adult volunteer.

She went on to be appointed as a sessional worker covering the Monday night Awards for Kids group and has been instrumental in designing and delivering accredited short courses as diverse as self-defence, street dance, photography and sign language.

Caitlin was awarded a Station Commander’s Commendation in Summer 2014 for her commitment to the project.

Currently studying Veterinary Nursing at Edinburgh Napier University, Caitlin still volunteers for Airplay whenever she can, juggling her studies and professional placements around supporting evening, day trips and residential activities.

She said: “I am thrilled to be appointed as Moray’s first Saltire Ambassador and look forward to beginning work.

“I have gained so much confidence through my time at Airplay and learnt so many new skills and I would like to encourage other young people to get actively involved in leadership roles.”

RAF Lossiemouth Community Development Officer Sarah Riley-Evans said: “As a teenage member, Caitlin’s natural aptitude for youth work was clearly evident.

“We are very proud of Caitlin and we are delighted that her volunteering with Airplay Lossiemouth has been formally recognised in this manner.”

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