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Inspiring ‘young hero’, Caitlin Walker, from our Sheppey College has been recognised for her exceptional community work during the Covid-19 pandemic at the National Lottery Awards 2020.
Having faced a series of personal challenges in recent years, the Level 3 Business, Finance and Marketing student received the National Lottery’s ‘Young Hero’ award for her outstanding acts of selflessness to support others.
As a keen volunteer and young advocate, Caitlin drew upon her years of volunteering experience to lead a series of community initiatives as the nation went into lockdown.
The creation of an online hub to support NHS workers was one of Caitlin’s notable achievements, uniting the hub’s 3,000 members to collect donations of essential items that were then gifted to ICU staff in appreciation of their work during the pandemic.
Alongside this, Caitlin ran errands for elderly and vulnerable neighbours who were shielding, produced reusable facemasks for friends, family members and people in her community, and created much-needed uniform bags for nurses, filling them with goodies to thank them for their incredible work.
Caitlin learnt about her award win whilst filming a video with the National Lottery about her volunteering efforts.
YouTube star and 2019 Strictly Come Dancing contestant, Saffron Barker, had the honour of surprising Caitlin with the news via a video message.
“I was so shocked when I saw Saffron on the screen in front of me and even more surprised when she said I had won the Young Hero Award!” commented Caitlin.
She continued: “I didn’t see myself as a hero - I was just doing what I thought everyone should do for those that need it. But I’m so happy to receive the trophy and be recognised for what I have been doing these last six months. I hope to continue helping as many people as I can.”
Speaking after announcing Caitlin as the winner, Saffron Barker commented: “Everyone’s world has been turned upside down lately and it has been a real challenge for many. Caitlin is such an inspiration with everything she has done, despite her own battles. She is so deserving of this award and I was so honoured to be the one to name her Young Hero at this year’s National Lottery Awards. Well done Caitlin!”
Caitlin received a National Lottery Award trophy and a £3,000 cash prize for Youth Resilience UK, a Nationally Lottery funded organisation that Caitlin has been a long-standing volunteer for.