Two local NGOs have been named the winners of Argus’ 70th Anniversary Competition, ‘Our Future is You’, a community contest that awarded over £70,000 to youth-focused initiatives across their locations in Gibraltar, Malta, Bermuda and Canada. Childline Gibraltar and Little Smiles will each receive £8,000 to help bring their ideas to life.
Childline Gibraltar is a volunteer-led organisation whose goal is to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people in Gibraltar. Little Smiles is a charity that was set up to support students of St Martins Special School & Early Birds Nursery who have a range of abilities, diagnoses, challenges, and strengths.
Group CEO Alison Hill said that the 70 years of Argus were, more than anything, “a celebration of our focus on the community, and of our confidence in a better, more sustainable and compassionate future for our younger generations”.
For the competition, participating charities and non-profits were asked what they would do if they had the funds to shape the #Next70 years by supporting local youth. Proposals were submitted through the official website, OurFutureIsYou.com, where participants could make a case for their charity or non-profit to receive a donation. Childline Gibraltar is the winner of the Argus Choice Award where employees voted from a shortlist prepared by Argus’ Steering Committee. Little Smiles, winner of the Facebook community vote, competed with the remaining finalists to collect the highest number of votes on social media.
Childline Gibraltar plans to train a group of young people as ‘Wellbeing Ambassadors’ who will run a project focused on mental health and wellbeing in schools. A spokesperson for the charity said, “We would look to train a group of 10-20 young people as Wellbeing Ambassadors. These children could be chosen by the Pastoral Leads of their school. Once selected, we would support them to run a project to improve wellbeing for their whole school. The young people who receive our training will develop life skills, which could greatly impact others in their time of need.”
Little Smiles will use the donation to fund after school activities and a special day trip for students. They explained that, while after school activities are commonplace for children attending mainstream schools, they are not easily accessible for children with additional needs. Little Smiles has successfully initiated a programme of daily after school activities catering for all abilities and interests, including include a fitness class, yoga, wildlife and gardening in Alameda Gardens and adapted cricket. A spokesperson for Little Smiles said, “We propose to secure a place for each child to attend one day of activities at EcoSpirit in Tarifa, which specialises in holistic and sustainable activities. This includes horse-riding and interaction with other animals and nature. It addresses some of the challenges our children face by increasing their fun and enjoyment, whilst at the same time engendering the concepts of sustainability and the importance of nurturing our surroundings with respect.”
Tyrone Montovio, Chief Executive, Argus Insurance Company (Europe) Limited, congratulated Childline Gibraltar and Little Smiles. He said, “We are confident that these donations will enable these organisations to significantly improve the lives of young people in Gibraltar, particularly of those who are in the greatest need of support.”