Charlie Smith from YMCA Norfolk has conquered strong competition to be crowned Young Leader of the Year at the leading charity’s national youth awards ceremony on Friday 8 November.
Charlie, 25, triumphed over two other inspiring young people at the Youth Matters 2019 awards ceremony, which was held at exclusive central London venue 8 Northumberland Avenue, and hosted by acclaimed broadcaster and TV presenter Nihal Arthanayake.
The Young Leader of the Year Award recognises a young person for their ability to make a real difference in their YMCA by bringing about positive change, working with vision and inspiring others.
Charlie was one of three young people to get through to the awards night after battling through judges’ shortlisting and then an online public vote in August.
She was praised by judges for her drive and determination in breaking down damaging stigmas and raising awareness of mental health issues. Charlie has been instrumental in growing the Mind Matters team, and in completing her training for Mental Health First Aid she has driven the project forward and developed close links with local charities and churches.
On winning the award, Charlie said: “I do the job that I do because I genuinely love it. I feel so privileged to work for the YMCA and be able to carry out the work that YMCA Norfolk does, especially around mental health. This award really does mean a lot to me, so thank you so much.”
Youth Matters is YMCA’s national awards programme that has been an integral part of the charity’s calendar since 2009. It celebrates the outstanding skills and achievements of young people from across the country and also recognises the vital work that YMCAs deliver every.