March community worker wins award

Marsh Community Centre manager Yak Patel, cafe co-ordinator Ed Maxwell and volunteers Briony Scott and Sally Pidd in the new community cafe at the centre.
Marsh Community Centre manager Yak Patel, cafe co-ordinator Ed Maxwell and volunteers Briony Scott and Sally Pidd in the new community cafe at the centre.
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A community worker from Lancaster has been awarded for his work with young people.

Yak Patel, who runs Marsh Community Centre, received the Kids Count Most Inspirational Young Persons Award at a House of Commons Award Ceremony.

The ceremony was attended by leading politicians and government ministers, along with community heroes and young people from around the UK.

The Kids Count Inspiration Awards recognises those individuals, young and old, and organisations that have been responsible for inspiring young people in their communities.

This is the sixth year for the awards, which have received numerous nominations received once again for individuals and groups who are addressing issues that affect the lives of children by creating initiatives that are grounded in practicality and realism, make a positive difference, and afford greater freedom to young people to determine their own futures.

Yak was nominated for his commitment, energy and ability to think laterally to create opportunities for the young people on the Marsh estate, where he not only does he work with young people to encourage an interest in sports, but also has been instrumental in raising funding for the community centre.

He is constantly looking for new sources of funds to develop and expand its activities.

For example, through Lancaster City Council’s Take Pride in the Community Fund he has launched a centre café with subsidised food.

With the backing of the YMCA, Sport England (Sportivate) and the CTC he has bought 10 bikes and equipment to undertake, with 10 local lads, a sponsored cycle from Lancaster to Edinburgh (and back) over four days to raise funds for Unique Kidz & Co (which provides specialist services for disabled children).

There could be many more examples of his achievements. Yak always goes the extra mile – he really cares about the centre but more importantly his commitment to the local youngsters is extraordinary, often in difficult circumstances.

He is both a thinker and a doer and the Marsh Community Centre would be a shadow of its current self without him.

Kids Count chairman Richard Stephenson said: “I am very proud to be part of an organisation that not only brings young people to the heart of decision making in Westminster, but that also aims to recognise their contribution to society through these Inspiration Awards.

“Yak is an inspiration to us all and I’m delighted to present him with this with this award.”

For more information about the awards please visit the Kids Count website at www.kidscount.org.uk or contact the director, Linda Lawrence, at Linda@kidscountorg.uk or on 07863 200751.