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A bright future

Young people can make the difference between a thriving and positive community, and one filled with jaded bony wrinkled fists shaking aloft with vexation. How lucky we are then, that in an age where our young are all too easily labelled one way or another, that we are blessed with those who use their spare time to help those around them.

Celebrate Youth! was a long running campaign by the Uckfield Volunteer Centre to encourage young people to take an active role in their community, a campaign that we can now comfortably say was a success.

The achievements of course came down entirely to the people who decided to utilise their precious time to help others in need, participating with worthy causes and organisations, helping to enrich lives and bolster the local community, often those who find themselves on the fringes and in need of assistance.

As a marker of thanks, the campaign was capped with an awards ceremony on the 11th of July at Uckfield College, a chance to give extra thanks to exceptional efforts by our local youth replete with Universal Dance and Red Butler Music School performing their wonderful talents.

Five awards in total were given out, with the winners of each as following:

  • Fundraiser Award – Kristy Scholler (17)
  • Commitment Award – Callum Daly (17)
  • Caring Award – Tess Kedwards (7)
  • Environmental Award – Isabella and Lacey Varley (9 and 10)
  • Outstanding Contribution – Maddie Jones (17), Sophie Baldwin (17), Alex Cheeseman (21), Benj Cheeseman (18), Archie Wilson (18), Fergus Wilson (22) and Lizzie Wilkinson (12)

A host of figures were on hand to present the awards on the night: Rector of Holy Cross church Father John Wall, Mayor Spike Mayhew, Councillor Pam Doodes Chair of Wealden District Council, Patron of the Volunteer Centre former MP Lembit Opik, and High Sherriff of East Sussex Violet Hancock, with Mr Opik delivering a closing speech.

The actions that garnered these accolades are remarkable, and worth repeating.

Kristy Scholler, raised not only an impressive £700 for childrens’ cancer charities through Everyday Heroes, but also managed to raise more than £800 for the Kangaroos charity for children with disabilities, through National Citizen’s Service.

Callum Daly has been running a weekly Kit Car Club at Manor Primary School for the past 5 to 6 years, with a view to establishing a robotics club in the future. His contribution to encouraging Key Stage Two children to participate in science, technology, engineering and maths stood out when considering the award.

Tess Kedwards took the amazing action of cutting off her long hair, donating it to The Little Princess Trust who make wigs for children. This wasn’t her only contribution mind, as she raised over £300 for local charity Kellys Trust, aiding a seriously ill friend.

Isabella and Lacey Varley, sisters, have been helping Brighter Crowborough, whose goal is keeping their town clean and tidy, regularly litter picking and tidying up where needed every Sunday.

Finally, the winners of the outstanding contribution award have been aiding Rotherfield St. Martin, an organisation aimed at helping the elderly who might be suffering from isolation and loneliness. During their efforts they delivered hot meals to the elderly in bad weather, finished Dementia Awareness training, and fundraised for the charity. It doesn’t stop there however, as they help in running a monthly club, the youngest, Lizzie, bakes cakes for events and chips in during the holidays, whilst Fergus the eldest of the group assists a couple with mobility to and from events.

All of their work performed in helping the community is deeply commendable, and hopefully inspirational to others who might champion other deserving causes, but the fact that this is just a selection of the exploits of young people shows how impressive what they’ve achieved really is.

Written by Neil.S

Images courtesy of Uckfield FM’s Mike Skinner.