THE achievements of young people in Darlington will be celebrated at an awards ceremony next year.

Readers of The Northern Echo are being urged to nominate children and teenagers they believe are worthy of an award in one of the three categories: Contribution to the Community, Outstanding Achievement and Against All Odds.

Two prizes will be given in each category - for under-12s and under-18s - at the Positive Young People Awards 2002 ceremony at Darlington Civic Theatre on March 25.

Nominees must have given their time voluntarily and must be under either 12 or 18 on the day of the ceremony. Cash prizes will be available for the winners to donate to their chosen charity.

The Positive Young People Awards are being run by Darlington's PS2K peer support network, in conjunction The Northern Echo, Darlington Partnership and Darlington Borough Council's community education department.

Nominees for the Contribution to the Community award must have made a significant difference to school or community life.

Potential winners of the Outstanding Achievement category should have done something outstanding either in their chosen field, such as sport, music or art, or in the community.

The Against All Odds category is for people who have "shown exemplary progress in personal development, especially where this has meant overcoming adverse personal circumstances".

James Gilbey, of PS2K, said: "Young people are frequently portrayed in a negative manner. The community education service is seeking to redress the balance by portraying positive images of Young People."

Darlington's secondary schools are to be invited to take part, by putting on a short performance for the ceremony.

Tickets for the evening cost £2.50 each. They will go on sale soon at the Darlington Civic Theatre box office.

Nominations should be made by January 31,on the form printed on the right.

The forms should be sent to: James Gilbey, PS2K, Community Education, Darlington Borough Council, Town Hall, Feethams, Darlington, DL1 5QT.

Anyone who would like to find out more about the awards can contact the community education department at Darlington Borough Council on (01325) 388831