BLACKBURN charity ‘Youth Action’ has been praised by Prime Minister David Cameron as it received one of his ‘Big Society’ awards.

The 12-year-old organisation, based at Gateway House on James Street, has helped more thaner 7,800 young people across the North West.

Its team of 120 volunteers delivers mentoring, employability train- ing, careers guidance and rehabilitation support projects in over 40 schools It aims to equip eight to 24-year-olds with the skills they need to for life and the support they need to find paid work.

Following a nomination from a member of the public, Mr Cameron has given it a ‘Big Society Award’ as part of his personal determination to acknowledge individuals and organisations committed to volunteering and helping others.

The Prime Minister hopes the awards will galvanise others to follow the winners’ examples.

Youth Action was set up in Blackburn 12 years ago by Amar Abass, Mubashar Khaliq and Paul Flintoff, who are all still involved in the organisation. It recently expanded to take over the town’s Orange Grove Building to provide young budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn about businesses, acquire new skills and provide them with practical support. Mr Cameron said: “The team at Youth Action is doing fantastic work to give young people across the North West the skills and support they need to find work.

“The project is going from strength to strength and I’m delighted to recognise everyone involved with this Big Society award.”

Youth Action chief executive Amar Abass said: “We are extremely proud and honoured to have received this prestigious award from the Prime Minister.

“This is a testament to the hard work of our volunteers, staff and of course most importantly the positive work that our young people do in their communities.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported Youth Action over the years, and we look forward to another 12 years of positive social action.”

Nominations for the awards come in from the general public before shortlisting by civil servants, a panel of ministers and independent external experts.

The Prime Minister makes the final decisions the 48 winners announced throughout the year.