Sussex Central YMCA volunteer Kim Shippam was announced as YMCA England’s first Young Achiever of the Year at a national award celebration in Bridgwater last weekend (Saturday 20 November).
Kim beat three other finalists in the final round of judging for the YMCA’s inaugural Youth Matters Awards. Kim scooped the top award for her strength and determination to overcome huge barriers in her life so she could build a positive future herself.
Kim first came to Sussex Central YMCA to receive support with her housing. Since then she has wanted to give something back to the organisation. She has been volunteering for several years and has been involved with many different aspects of the YMCA.
Kim said: “It’s an amazing feeling to win the Young Achiever of the Year Award, it is such an honour! I can’t believe how much my life has changed since coming to the YMCA, everyone has been so supportive and given me the chance to be a more independent and confident person. The workers have been great role models and inspired me to find a positive direction in my life. Winning an award is the icing on the cake!”
Projects Kim has volunteered for include homelessness prevention through a peer education programme; a new sexual exploitation project, and Right Here Brighton and Hove which is one of her biggest achievements. Her involvement in the Right Here project led Kim to becoming one of two representatives on the national steering group, so she is now an integral part of the overall governance structure of a multi-million pound programme for young people.
Clara Larribeau Wade, Vulnerable Young Person’s Development Worker says
“Kim has been volunteering on this project since its inception in July 2010. Kim has shown commitment to the project and turned up to every meeting with a positive and enthusiastic attitude. I’m really pleased that Kim has joined this project and she is an extremely valuable member of the group.”
Kim was presented with her award by the Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells at the YMCA’s national Thanksgiving service in Bridgwater in front of hundreds of other YMCA’s and local VIPs. You can see a clip of it here.
The YMCA Youth Matters Awards celebrates both youth workers and young people under two prestigious award categories - YMCA Young Achiever of the Year and YMCA Youth Worker of the Year. The Young Achiever Award focuses on the talents, potential and achievements of young people, and the Youth Worker Award recognises the skills, dedication and effectiveness of youth workers.
David Standing, CEO of Sussex Central YMCA said:
“We are all so proud of Kim for winning the Young Achiever Award; she truly deserves it. She battled through her own issues, including serious health problems, often putting them aside to help other young people get their lives sorted. Kim has grown as a person and moved her life on in so many ways, we are delighted to have her as part of Sussex Central YMCA, she is a real inspiration to all of us.”