Crown Prince Haakon has attended a very special digital award ceremony this week. The award ceremony was held in connection with the annual “Day of the Volunteers” which, in Norway, is always held two days before the UN’s International Day for Volunteering on 5 December.
Crown Prince Haakon was one of those who congratulated the volunteers at the event on December 3. A video-greeting from the Crown Prince was shown during the award ceremony where His Royal Highness gave short speech. His Royal Highness said: “Without volunteering, Norway will stop. It makes me really happy and proud when I travel around and experience all the impressive activity that takes place in small and large places all over the country. You carry sport. You make hiking trails and ski trails. You provide activities that create joy, meaning and belonging for young and old. Just to name a few. You stand on in all kinds of weather and at all hours of the day – for our small communities – and for our society”.
The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic for voluntary organizations dominated the debate, something Crown Prince Haakon mentioned in his greeting. His Royal Highness said: “Voluntary organizations have also suffered from the pandemic. At the same time, the will, warmth and creativity that characterize volunteering have shown themselves at their very strongest. I want to thank each and every one of you for your efforts. Thank you for making us, as a society, the best of ourselves.”
Norway’s Minister of Culture and Gender Equality, Abid Raja, attended the ceremony and also gave speech. Four prizes were awarded to volunteers who have given a little extra this year. The special honorary award, Volunteer Award of 2020, was presented for the 26th time and went to Turid Helene Abelsen at Sortland Volunteer Centre. Lørenskog municipality became Volunteer Municipality of the Year, while Stian Juhani Gjertsen, volunteer at Robin Hood House in Bergen, received the award as Newcomer of the Year in volunteering.