Awards for inspirational volunteers

Winners Simon Ballantyne, Jake Adams and Kirsty-Lee Topping
Winners Simon Ballantyne, Jake Adams and Kirsty-Lee Topping
Have your say

Three volunteers have picked up awards for their inspirational work in the community.

The vInspired National Awards aim to challenge negative perceptions of youngsters and named Simon Ballantyne, 23, from Fleetwood, as the North West winner in the All Round Commitment to Volunteering category during the fifth annual ceremony.

Mr Ballantyne, who has cerebral palsy, began volunteering after several operations as a child to enable him to walk.

He has already won multiple awards for his volunteering work and as a youth worker for Blackpool Voice - a body which is currently selecting nominees for members of the youth parliament.

He said: “Volunteering has given me loads more confidence and really helped me to improve my outlook on life and it’s brilliant that these awards not only celebrate the benefits of volunteering but also inspire young people to volunteer and make a difference in their communities.”

Jake Adams, 15, from North Shore, took home the award for the North West’s Most Outstanding Entrepreneur.

At 15-years-old, Jake has his own printing business aimed at providing cheaper merchandise for charities.

Jake spends an average of 35 hours a week on his business between school work and said receiving the award was “an honour”.

He said: “From volunteering within local charities myself, I found how expensive it was for them to get merchandise and materials made. So I came up with an idea last year, to start up a printing business aimed at local charities and the third sector to offer printing at the cheapest possible price.”

Kirsty-Lee Topping, 17, also from North Shore, was the final regional winner and picked up her gong in the Best Young Volunteer category for her work as the vice chairman of Blackpool Voice.

She said: “I don’t volunteer for recognition – helping people is enough motivation.

“But it’s great to know that people appreciate what I do.”

Terry Ryall, chief executive officer of vInspired, said: “As a regional winner you need to demonstrate a complete dedication to volunteering and show how you have built positive relationships, brought people from diverse communities together and strengthened communities.”

Follow us on twitter @The_Gazette and like our page on facebook to keep up with all the latest news.