SOS Malta has launched the SOS Malta Award for Volunteering to recognise the important work carried out by those who volunteer with not-for-profit organisations, charities and NGOs. The award scheme has been set up in affiliation with the French Federation of Voluntary Work and Associative Life, who are the organisers of the European Trophy for Voluntary Work, under the patronage of Dame Lilian Miceli Farrugia, who is renowned for her life-long dedication to voluntary work.

The launch was made at a press conference by Parliamentary Secretary Chris Said, who praised the organisers for their initiative.

Claudia Taylor-East, director of SOS Malta, said: "By means of this award, we will honour those outstanding men and women who, for no material gain, dedicate themselves to helping others, or to working for a cause. Voluntary work makes an invaluable though underrated contribution to the community. We want to raise public awareness of the crucial role volunteers play in our society."

Members of the public are being asked to name those individuals they believe to be deserving of the award. SOS Malta will receive these nominations via the internet at until 15 October 2008.

The recipient of the award will be selected by an independent board . He or she will be invited to attend the grand final held at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 5 December 2008, on the occasion of International Volunteer Day. This pan-European competition, under the high patronage of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, will determine the winner of the prestigious European Trophy for Voluntary Work.

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