A YOUNG person’s champion who set up a youth centre in Uttoxeter has received an award from a national social housing body.
Mary Dodgson, of Cheadle Road, was the driving force behind the opening of a new drop-in centre for young people at the Pentecostal Church, in High Street, earlier this year.
The venue provides a place where teenagers can go to relax, communicate with each other and learn new skills in a safe environment and Ms Dodgson is constantly seeking fresh sources of funding to keep it going.
Ms Dodgson’s dedication, which sees her spending a lot of her own time researching possible funding streams, writing bids and securing external funding, has now seen her awarded the Impact on Young People award, which is sponsored by the Willmott Dixon Partnerships, at the Trent & Dove Housing Impact on the Community Awards 2012.
Ms Dodson said: “I was really surprised, shocked. I didn’t expect it when the letter came I ignored it thinking it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t until someone from the council asked that I opened it and found two cards for the evening.
“I didn’t expect to get anything but went for the nice meal, so I was very surprised when they called my name. It was a lovely evening as well as they had a grand piano and we were drummed in.
“The evening and the company was great. I didn’t set up the youth centre to get a reward, I did it for the young people to have somewhere to go.
“I would like to say thank you to the town council for nominating me, it really was a surprise.” This was the seventh year of Trent & Dove Housing’s Impact on the Community Awards which was set up to celebrate all that is best about community involvement in transforming homes, lives and neighbourhoods.
Ron Dougan, chief executive at Trent & Dove Housing, said: “Local residents do some amazing work to help create vibrant communities and make their neighbourhoods great places to live.
“The Impact on the Community Awards are a way that we can say ‘thank you’ to those who give up their time and efforts to work with Trent & Dove.
“This year we had more than 60 nominations in 10 categories, including impact on older people, impact on younger people, safer communities, best community project, best environmental project and tenant of the year.
“I know that the judging panel had a really hard job in picking the winners for each category as the standard of nominations this year has been exceptionally high.
“Thank you to all Trent & Dove’s partners who sponsored this fantastic event, without their generosity and the hard work of our staff team who organised the event, it would not have been possible.
“I’d also like to take this opportunity to say a personal ‘thank you’ to all the nominees and we look forward to working with you all in the future.”