Plymouth University student crowned Young Volunteer of the Year

A Plymouth University education student has been crowned Young Volunteer of the Year at a special awards ceremony, which recognises the significant contribution volunteers make to the City. 

Organised in partnership with Plymouth Guild, Plymouth University and the Plymouth Herald, 20-year-old Abbie O’Brien attended the red carpet event, which is now in its sixth year. 

There are 12 categories in total from young volunteers and teams, to long-term commitment and environmental volunteers. 

Individuals are nominated by people working alongside them or by family or friends. It identifies those who spend their free time helping and supporting others. 

Abbie was recognised for the work she has done in the community helping adult learners and young drama students. She said: "I got involved in volunteering through the University. There are so many opportunities to get involved in community activities. I chose to work with Shout It Out which provides support to adult learners. Here I give one-on-one support to improve learners’ literacy and mathematical skills. Listening to the stories of adults that slipped through the educational net really made me appreciate the education I had, and made the experience of volunteering so much more rewarding. I also work with an after school youth club, where we are organising a talent show for the first time. Volunteering is such a joy because it really makes you appreciate the help you've received and gives you a chance to offer that help to others."

Fellow education student Kerensa Lewis was shortlisted for Sports Volunteer of the Year for her work with Special Olympics. 

Suanne Gibson, Plymouth University Institute of Education Associate Professor said: “We are extremely proud of our Abbie and Karensa. It is wonderful way for new students coming to Plymouth to engage with the community, widen their subject knowledge and boost their employability skills.” 

The event, with a champagne style reception, was held at Plymouth University and attended by the Lord Mayor.