Jayne Plummer, a volunteer with the Young Carers team – part of charity South Tyneside TEN – is the Young Charity Champion of the Year for the North East.
At a gala event held in Newcastle, 450 guests celebrated the hard work done by local charities and the people who assist them.
The award, sponsored by Blueline Taxis, comes just after Jayne, aged 19, won Young Carer of The Year at the Best of South Tyneside Awards 2017.
Jayne, who has been a carer for her mother since the age of seven, dedicated herself to improving the lives of other young carers in South Tyneside when she turned 16.
Jayne, said: “I am humbled to have won the award, especially when there were so many other young people in my category who have done amazing things.
“I became a carer when my mam became really unwell. After three years searching for answers, she was diagnosed with Complex Regional Syndrome. It was then that we were put in touch with Young Carers. They changed my life and now they’re like a second family to me.
“There was never any doubt in my mind that I wanted to volunteer at the service to give back for all it has done for me and to help other young people who are in a similar position. Being a carer is hard work, you rarely get time to yourself and that is why it is so vital that they get a chance to experience new and exciting things such as trips away and weekly groups, which I help out at.
“My mam is still very poorly but I have always made time over the years to raise awareness of young carers. I am a Young Carers Champion and have been to Parliament to campaign for support.
“I’ll never forget what the team has done for me. They’re one of a kind and go above and beyond for every person in their service. They deserve far more recognition than they get for the amount of work they do.”
The service supports children and young people – aged 5 to 24 – caring for a family member dealing with an illness, disability, addiction problem or mental health difficulties. In South Tyneside there are 1,000 young carers registered with over 450 currently active within the service.
Karen Ahmed, Young Carers project manager, said: “We have known Jayne for nine years and in that time she has blossomed from a shy and timid girl in to a confident woman who is passionate about helping other young people. To see her journey with us makes the work we do all the more rewarding and highlights how much of a vital service we are.”
In 2016, South Tyneside Young Carers came within the umbrella of South Tyneside TEN, which provides training and advice for people in long-term unemployment. The move came as South Tyneside TEN is increasingly focusing on unemployed young people and the support they need to get into the jobs market.
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