Three young people from Newcastle, received a charity award and wide acclaim on Saturday for their significant contribution to the work of a national children’s charity.

The young volunteers, Chelsea Howd, Yussy George and Joleen Dixon, all aged between 16 and 17, were nominated for their commitment to the work of The Children’s Society, a charity working to support vulnerable teenagers who experience abuse, neglect and poverty in the UK.

The girls have helped raise awareness of the difficulties some young people face, and regularly volunteer for The Children’s Society as part of the charity’s National Participation Group who represent young people from across the country.

They have worked to highlight areas of concern for young people and spearheaded a youth campaign called “Big Up the Bill” to highlight good examples of police work and recognise those who make a difference.

For a vulnerable young person, encountering a police professional who shows empathy, listens and understands can be the catalyst for a positive change in that young person’s life. The teenagers also worked on campaigns about the lack of sex and healthy relationship education in schools.

Charlotte Carr, Volunteer & Mentoring Coordinator from the charity’s Newcastle service, Safeguarding children at risk – prevention and action (SCARPA), worked closely with the girls and nominated them for the award.

She said: “The girls have demonstrated bravery, determination, and a great passion for the cause. They have inspired others and shown courage in sharing ideas of how to make things better. I hope this award shows them how much we appreciate their great work.”
The young campaigners impressed staff across The Children’s Society.  Clare Bracy, Director of Campaigns for The Children’s Society said:
“I’ve been really impressed by Chelsea, Yussy and Joleen’s hard work and commitment to developing the group’s Big Up The Bill campaign. They’ve really thought about the issues, what they wanted to change and how best to go about it.  I’m excited to see how the campaign develops in the coming weeks and the impact it could achieve!”

Chelsea Howd, 17 from Newcastle, said: “I’m absolutely buzzing about winning the award.  All my life I’ve just wanted to help people who have been through what I’ve been through.  I love helping people and making that impact on other young people’s lives even if it’s just little things like how we are treated by police officers. The Children’s Society changes lives and I would not be where I am now without their support.”

Yussy George, 16, from Newcastle: “To win an award like this just proves we have made an impact on people’s lives, like in helping to improve how the police treat young people. Being involved in this work has helped me a lot.  I’ve learned that I can help to raise awareness of important issues and help prevent other young people from making mistakes I’ve made in the past.”

Joleen Dixon, 16, from Newcastle, said: “Winning an award like this makes me feel like I’m really worth something because I’ve been able to make a difference. Working on these things and receiving support from The Children’s Society has made me feel a lot more confident

“It’s been great.  I’ve met new people and I’ve been able to talk through my experiences in a way I’ve not been able to do so before.”