role models

Love Where We Live

This Is Kent recently reported on three impressive nominees for the title of Young Volunteer of the Year, as part of Tunbridge Wells’ Love Where We Live awards. Issy Denman and Yasmin Lawrence (both aged 17), and Helen Campbell (aged 21) are being honoured for their sterling work within their local community, and they will learn at next Wednesday’s award ceremony which of them is to receive the coveted title. However, all three of them are very worthy contenders, as this article clearly shows.

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Veteran fundraiser at nine

Veteran fundraiser at nine

Leah Ramsden (centre), with dad Andrew, mum Paula & sister Paige

At just nine years old, Leah Ramsden, from Arnold, Nottinghamshire (UK) is already being described as a “veteran fundraiser”. Leah, who attends Sir John Sherbrooke Junior School, has been receiving regular treatment for various conditions at the renal ward of the Queens Medical Centre, and she has been returning the favour by raising funds for them. She single-handedly organised a charity summer fair at the City Hospital‘s leisure centre, featuring craft stalls, sweet and cake stalls, a bouncy castle, a hook-a-duck stand, a raffle and a tombola, with more than 20 donated prizes, including tickets to the Savoy cinema, a car MOT and a facial therapy session. Mum Paula says Leah has become quite proficient at persuading businesses to donate prizes.

The £1,300 raised by the event will cover the full cost of a Doppler machine, to reduce pain and anxiety when kids’ blood pressure is taken. Leah, who has her blood pressure monitored every few months, says “It hurts… some of the kids on the ward find it really hard…this machine should stop that…I just want to help people.”

Leah organised a similar event last year, and raised nearly £1,000 for new TVs and DVDs on the renal ward. Along with four friends, and 6-year-old sister Paige, she also recently raised donations by helping shoppers at Asda pack their bags. She estimates that they packed over 1,000 bags between them.

Head of fundraising at Nottingham Hospitals Charity, Jenny Wing, thanked Leah for all her hard work, and described her as one of their youngest-ever fundraisers.

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12-year-old fancy-dress fundraiser

12-year-old fancy-dress fundraiser

Christopher Grey (centre front) with some of his classmates

A 12-year-old from Bon-y-maen, who lost his dad and granddad to brain cancer, has made quite an impact locally, fundraising for Brain Tumour Research. Christopher Grey, who attends Bishop Vaughan School in Swansea, has raised hundreds of pounds collecting door-to-door, organised a school raffle and Wear A Hat day (which brought in well over £1,000), and walked from the LC leisure centre in Swansea to Verdi’s in Mumbles, dressed as the Honey Monster… accompanied by his mum dressed as a whoopee cushion. Swansea Council colleagues of his late dad Jeff (who died of a brain tumour, at the age of 54, last November) also joined in the charity walk. His mum Cath says “Christopher’s amazing …[He] walked miles just to collect sponsorship…[and] is already talking about holding different events next year.” He has now been nominated for Swansea Council’s High 5 Awards, which celebrate the achievements of young people in the local community.

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Caring Sugababe

Jade Ewan charity year

Sugababe’s Jade Ewen (centre) with carers Chloe (left) and Amber (right).

Photo credit: Co-op

The UK currently has an estimated half-million 14-25 year-old carers – young people caring for loved ones who are unable to cope without their support because of illness, disability, mental health or addiction issues, or general frailty. This is a rapidly growing issue, and is regarded by many as a “ticking time bomb”. It can have a serious impact on whether or not those involved are able to remain at school, pursue further education or follow chosen careers. Unpaid young adult carers face all kinds of challenges, and they desperately need support, information, advice, breaks, and a variety of other services. An organisation endeavouring to address some of these problems is the Carers Trust. Created by the merger of two organisations – Crossroads Care (set up in 1974) and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers (founded in 1991) – the Trust has the vision of “A world where the role and contribution of unpaid carers is recognised and they have access to the quality support and services they need to live their own lives”.

This year, as part of its “Inspiring Young People” campaign, the Co-operative selected the Carers Trust as its Charity of the Year, and it has just reached the halfway point of £2.5m raised towards its £5m target. To mark this milestone, Sugababe singer Jade Ewen (herself a carer) spent time with young adult carers in Manchester last week.

Co-op staff’s fundraising activities have included charity balls, a giant picnic, coffee mornings, abseiling down Manchester’s CIS Tower, cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats, and a ‘three peaks’ challenge. They are seeking to fund programmes that will raise awareness and understanding, break down barriers and reduce feelings of isolation, provide emotional support, provide coping mechanisms, and encourage legislative change. Thea Stein, chief executive of Carers Trust, says that “the money raised is already making a difference”.

Here at the Chreda Foundation, with our tagline of “Inspiring the Next Generation”, we will continue following the Co-op’s ongoing campaign with considerable interest.

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Teen tipped for top position

Teen tipped for top position

William Land (centre) with Councillors Catherine Boardman & Alex Hopkins of Northamptonshire County Council.

A fourteen-year-old volunteer has been named ‘young role model of the year’, at the Northamptonshire Education Awards: William Land was also tipped as a future Prime Minister by Shailen Popat, who nominated him for the award. Shailen runs the RealiZe Youth Club in Kilsby, which William has attended for two years, and where he has volunteered for the last year. The Ashlawn School grammar-stream pupil also attends football coaching and helps coach girls football, as well as assisting his single mother with looking after three young siblings, one of whom has a disability. Shailen says “Will is a unique person because he does all this while maintaining dignity, politeness, reliability”. I think we’d have to agree that the country could do far worse than have this young lad at the helm!

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