Ryan Richards, a seventeen year old from Great Barr in Birmingham, received a charity award and wide acclaim on Saturday for his significant contribution to the work of a national children’s charity.
The young volunteer was nominated for taking on a leadership role and being a positive role model in his work at The Children’s Society, a charity working to support vulnerable teenagers who experience abuse, neglect and poverty in the UK.
Ryan joined The Children’s Society’s participation group, The Hub Squad, a year ago to get involved in mental health projects and be the young people’s voice for Pause, the mental health drop-in centre in Birmingham.
He went onto accompany his project workers to give talks to schools and colleges in the local area and also came up with the idea of a drama project to spread mental health awareness. The teenager worked above and beyond to get the project up and running and recruit and inspire professionals and other young people from the Hub Squad to take part.
Dave Guard, Ryan’s project worker, worked closely with Ryan and nominated him for the award. He said: “Ryan has been instrumental in his local project to gain funding and appoint a drama practitioner to work with young people.
“He is determined and gives a lot of time and energy to his youth group to highlight issues that they are passionate about. He is a natural leader with a ‘can do’ attitude that inspires others.”
Ryan was shocked to receive this national recognition, he said: “I feel honoured to have been nominated, let alone to actually receive an award. Thank you for the opportunity to try and make the world a better place.
“Being involved in this initiative has brought me to a better place than I was in before. It brought me out socially and gave me an opportunity to make change.
“This project is about allowing young people to be seen and understood. We have made a great start but there is still a lot of work to be done. I hope to continue working with Hub Squad to see this through.”