This caring teenager has undertaken enough volunteering to last a lifetime.
Rebecca Woolven, 18, from Telscombe Cliffs, has been named as ‘best young volunteer’ finalist at the vInspired National Awards thanks to dedicating endless hours of her life to helping others.
The awards recognise and celebrate young people who have made an extraordinary contribution to their communities through volunteering – and Rebecca is in line to scoop the prestigious top prize.
Her story started in primary school where, thanks to her commitment to helping those in need, she was known as the ‘little teacher’.
Over the years she estimates to have raised tens of thousands of pounds for charities and groups including Haydn's Wish, Seaford Musical Theatre Juniors, The Mayor's Charity Fund, local football teams and more.Her volunteering roots can be traced back to her grandmother, Marilyn Nolan, who was a former Argus volunteer of the year. Her mother Paula was also named as a charity champion last year by oil firm CPL.
Rebecca said: “I’m proud that my family has volunteered in our community for over 50 years. I have always wanted to make people smile. For me that is the best thing about volunteering.
“I've made and sold hundreds of cups of tea, performed in fundraising shows, helped organise flashmobs, been thrown into the freezing sea dressed as a mermaid and so many more fun and exciting things.
“It all comes from my time at secondary school where I was bullied. My parents eventually managed to put a stop to it, but I decided to make the best of a bad situation and become a school councillor and mentor for others who were suffering. I helped introduce students’ ideas and tried to make improvements wherever I could.”
Rebecca was picked to lead a charitable project funded by telecoms company O2. The ‘Think Big’ project provides youngsters aged 13 to 25 with funding to help improve their communities. With the help, she started her own performing arts workshop.
She said: “There are workshops in singing, dance, drama, creative writing and more. We have held three workshops so far with over 100 young people attending at the Barn Theatre in Seaford.
“More workshops will be coming up soon and I hope to get the word out to even more young people to come along.”
When asked what she thought about being nominated for the ‘best young volunteer’ award, Rebecca said: “When I found out that people thought what I did was such a good thing - the biggest smile was on my face. It has made me more determined to keep helping people in my community wherever I can.”
Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown said: “Having heard all about Rebecca’s amazing work with young people in my constituency, I cannot think of a more deserving winner of the award.
“I know that everyone in Telscombe Cliffs will be tremendously proud of Rebecca. Her commitment to her community at such a young age is part of what makes it such a fantastic place.”
The vInspired National Awards will take place at the Indig02 Arena in London on March 27.