THE founder and CEO of youth charity Young Pioneers has won a Young Achievers Award, which recognises inspirational young people aged between 16 and 25 who have made outstanding contributions in volunteering.
The awards were held at the Speakers House in the House of Commons by kind permission of Speaker The Right Honourable John Bercow MP on Monday.
Luke Lancaster, 16, of Crowhurst, won the community category (aged 16-19) for his work volunteering in leading his charity Young Pioneers, which is based at Ashburnham Place.
Over the past 12 months Luke has been leading the Be Healthy initiative locally, which provides more than 1,500 free health MOTs for young people each year, and establishing a national social impact investment fund to provide training and micro finance for vulnerable young people to start their own business.
Speaking about the award, Luke said: “This award means so much to me because it comes from a youth-led organisation that dedicates its time and energy to support young people.
“I volunteer in my charity to show young people that it’s Cool to Care and to help vulnerable young people overcome adversity, be successful and lead change.
“Young Achievers are recognising young people across the UK for their exceptional work, inspiring other young people to volunteer and its a real privilege to be recognised by them.
“It’s vital that young people see the benefits of volunteering not only to help others but also to put on their CVs.
“With nearly one million young people unemployed, volunteering is something we need to support more.
“We are just launching our Tomorrow’s Leaders Passport which helps young people develop volunteering skills to make a difference in their community as well as providing verified certification and I hope this will enable more young people to make a positive difference to the lives of others.”
Peter Ptashko, chair of the Young Achievers Trust, said: “Luke got involved in an important and topical issue and the judges found it admirable that he had managed to achieve so much at a young age, showing his determination to create change and make a real impact in the community.”