Devon Community Foundation hosted its annual Volunteer of the Year Awards sponsored by Quilter Cheviot last week, honouring the hard work and achievements of the many volunteers making a real difference in our Devon communities. Charlie Aston from Youth Genesis was awarded the Children and Young People Volunteer of the Year Award sponsored by Kitsons LLP.
The Youth Genesis Trust works with young people in Torbay who lack opportunities to engage in employment, training and education or are involved in risk taking behaviour such as offending and substance misuse. Volunteers work with the young people encouraging them to make a positive transition into adulthood.
23 year old Charlotte (Charlie) has a heart condition due to drinking too many energy drinks in her teenage years. Three years ago she underwent major surgery and nearly lost her life. Since then, she has made it her mission to tell share her story with the young people she works with to prevent them from facing the same dangers.
Charlie said: “I am truly honoured to have been chosen for the Children and Young People Award. I absolutely love my work with young people and I hope it continues for a very long time. The awards ceremony was a beautiful evening with such inspirational people, a really amazing experience. A massive thank you to my wonderful boss Michelle for nominating me for this award and to everyone who voted for me. And well done and thank you to my fabulous teenagers, without you guys none of this would have happened.”
James Cross, of Kitsons LLP, sponsors of the award said: “As a local legal firm we are deeply embedded in our local communities and it is important to us that we do what we can to make a difference, which is why we created a Fund with the Foundation over four years ago and why we continue to support this award. We felt that Charlie demonstrated excellent commitment and leadership skills as well as being an outstanding role model.”
Martha Wilkinson, Chief Executive of Devon Community Foundation said: “Charlie deserves to be recognised for all the hours she gives to charity and the many young people she has helped. Her passion is infectious!”
The nominated volunteers work with local groups to help and support others in their communities. Other winners included:
- Rural Volunteer of the Year Award, sponsored by Mole Valley Farmers: Mary Nunn (Cheriton Fitzpaine Garden Club & Welcome Club)
- Bringing People Together Award, sponsored by Cathedral Appointments: Irfaan Jhetam (Hikmat Devon)
- Keeping People Safe & Well Award, sponsored by HSBC Devon: Liz Hitchins (Dementia Friendly Parishes Around the Yealm)
- The Sir Eric Dancer Thriving Communities Award: Battling On