Five young people with a range of learning difficulties have been recognised for their hard work promoting the charity that has changed their lives.
Five ‘Young Ambassadors’ from Smile For Life Children’s Charity were awarded Team of the Year at the Northern Children of Courage Awards.
The team has worked tirelessly to help spread the word about the charity, which changes the lives of young people with disabilities and learning difficulties across the North East.
Cole Forster, Amber Studholme, Ross Keeley, Tracey Beaty and Lewis Codling were all present at the Hilton Hotel Newcastle Gateshead to pick up the award.
Ross, 22, said: “We didn’t know we had won so I couldn’t believe it when they called us up on stage. We shouted ‘get in there!’ – we were so happy.
“I was really nervous when we went up because we didn’t know anyone! But I was very excited too.
“I feel very proud and happy.”
All five team members have been involved with the charity for five years. They have been working at the charity’s Café Beam in Gosforth, where young people with disabilities are given placements to help them learn skills to take into the world of work.
Three years ago they were hand-picked by charity chief executive Paula Gascoigne to become Young Ambassadors to represent be the face of the charity and represent it at events.
After having huge success in their roles, a whole host of Café Beam and Smile For Life patrons nominated the Young Ambassadors for the prestigious award.
After Friday’s ceremony, in its second year after being started by St James Place Wealth Management Ltd in 2018, Paula praised her young team.
She said: “They have been tireless in their drive to raise awareness of the charity - visiting schools and various community groups to show how the charity has changed their lives.
“They have also taken up an important role in mentoring young people coming through the charity and our café, showing them how having a disability doesn’t have to hold you back.
“They have done amazingly well since they have been with the charity, overcoming obstacles and breaking down barriers along the way.
“Everyone at Smile For Life is so proud of them. We are so happy and proud they have been recognised for the amazing work they do.”
Organiser of the awards for St James’s Place Wealth Management Danny Mitchell, also one of the judges, said: “We were looking for a team that had gone over and above to make a difference and these guys really stood out.
“It is amazing what they do, and what a difference it makes not just to the young people themselves but also the customers in Café Beam and people involved with Smile For Life.
“They stood out as the clear winners in their category, and it was great to have the whole team along on the night to see them enjoy their success.”
For more information on Smile For Life Children’s Charity and the work they do go to www.smileforlife.org.uk or search @SmileforlifeNE on social media.