Headliner member, Gerry Doherty, recently received a prestigious Pope John Paul II Gold Award.

In doing so Gerry added the accolade to his 200 hours Millennium Volunteering award, which he received in late 2015.

A Headliners member for two years, Gerry has been and will, he says, continue to contribute actively to his community.

It is this attitude which ensured Gerry, thanks to his ongoing involvement with Headliners, also earned his 200 hour Millennium Volunteers Certificate.

To do this the A Level student identified, researched and wrote a wide range of articles on issues which affect young people day to day. Among his articles were examination of the challenges faced by young carers. This resulted in his work being aired and discussed on BBC radio and other local media outlets.

The John Paul II accolade was made in recognition of his commitment to completing 20 hours social involvement and 20 hours to parish involvement.

Gerry’s social volunteering included working with two local young peoples charities Reach Across and Headliners.

Gerry attends Headliner’s Saturday Bureau religiously.

While parish involvement included Gerry delivering children’s liturgy and participating in the ‘Youth 2000’ religious retreat to Lourdes, France, in July 2015.

During the pilgrimage Gerry assisted wheelchair bound pilgrims, the ill and sang in a number of choral performances. In total it took Gerry 13 months to complete all of this voluntary work. No mean feat considering he is also studying for his A-Levels in Religion, English Literature and Irish.

The Pope John Paul II awards were established as the, now deceased Pontiff, believed young people were the future of the world. The award was founded posthumously so as to encourage youth involvement in communities around the word.

Through the award, Gerry has developed a passion for voluntary work. The 18 year old said: “I really have enjoyed working toward it. There is no doubt I’ve learned a lot from the process and I would recommend the course as I have quite enjoyed it.”

Gerry now hopes to complete the Papal Cross award.

He said: “To do this I have to contribute another 26 hours of social and parochial, voluntary work in addition to a project delivered to young people."

Gerry concluded: “I am over the moon to get this award. Even though a lot of work went into the process it was something I never thought I’d achieve.”