Today started with some great news, I (Harry) have been shortlisted among 3 finalists from across the UK for Young Leader of the Year in the Groundwork Community Awards. I have been invited back to the London in November for the award ceremony, clearly last year we didn’t offend anyone with our more radical views, to the point that once again I will be hosted for an evening of celebrating all the great community work happening across the UK.
Everyone seems to ask the same questions; how does it feel? To be honest, I don’t know, I wouldn’t have said the news has sunk in yet and as I have some time off over the next few weeks I am sure my opinion will change as I reflect on what this could mean to me. For now, it feels great, after countless sleepless nights, added stresses and months of living on the breadline, recognition for my drive to make change and the efforts I have been putting in make it all worthwhile. Myself and for that matter, everyone that we work with, very rarely get opportunities to celebrate what we have achieved so, we do find awards are a great way of rewarding ourselves, from the networking and connections they provide to the opportunity to go somewhere out of the normal routine is a brilliant way to celebrate our success. While the further credibility awards like this bring, help position us well to expand our work and grow the positive impact we have on our community, it also allows us to have a greater influence on key decision-makers, making it much easier to bring about systematic change.
As I write this blog my excitement is growing and I am very much looking forward to the ceremony, seeing those from previous years again and meeting many new faces. It’s a great feeling to think that my work has inspired others and that I have been able to support numerous young people in realising their vision and aspirations. This year has definitely been a transformative one for us at Cultivate Cornwall and without support from people like The National Lottery Fund, my amazing team of mentors and Eden Project Communities, just to name a few, I struggle to see this becoming a reality. It has shown me the importance of surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and without their helping hand, taking the leaps forward that have amounted this year, would have never been possible. Yes, I am sure we would have progressed and achieved some great results but, to this scale and with such an impact, I find it hard to believe.
But this is still only the beginning, at the end of the day, I am only 23 and hope that each year that passes I can have a more substantial positive impact on the communities we support. Plans are in place for progression over the coming years and I have some big ideas that I hope to realise. To date much of our work has benefited local communities so next I want to look at how to generate change on a regional, national and international level as that is what is needed. The challenges faced by us all, particularly the younger generations are unprecedented and require a shift in almost every aspect of modern-day life, I have now shown that we can lead this change on a local level so next that impact needs to be scaled far and wide.
I want to finish by saying thank you to whoever it was that nominated me, this mornings email came as a pleasant surprise. This will help motivate me to continue the work we do, not that I was planning on stopping but, on those not so great days, this will give me something to look back on and reignite my passion and drive and as a reminder that what we are doing is so important to so many. Fingers crossed for the day but finishing in the top 3 in a UK wide award is good enough for me!
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