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Croydon hero makes finals of national youth volunteering awards

Date Filed:  Monday, February 25, 2013

 
Young Croydon volunteer Eliza Rebeiro has reached the finals of the largest youth volunteering awards in the country. Eliza, 19, who set up the anti-knife crime project Lives Not Knives, has been named as one of just three national finalists in her category for the vInspired National Awards.

The annual awards celebrate the achievements and dedication of young volunteers and youth workers. They aim to challenge negative attitudes towards young people by highlighting the creativity, motivation and generosity of some of the most inspiring young volunteers in the country.

Eliza has been selected from hundreds of nominations to be named as a finalist in the ‘Bringing Communities Together’ category. At the age of 14, Eliza set up Lives Not Knives, which aims to reduce gang related violence in Croydon and neighbouring boroughs. After seeing two friends stabbed (one fatally), Eliza decided she wanted to give young people in the area an alternative to knife crime, so created T-shirts printed with the slogan ‘Lives Not Knives’. She sold the T-shirts to pay for an underage disco, where young people could have fun without fear of violence. Since then the project has developed to outreach sessions in schools. She and a team of 20 volunteers now run roadshows, visiting over 30 local schools. Eliza has recently expanded the project into Bromley and has also started working with the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) in Croydon to educate young people about violence in relationships.

Eliza said: “It’s such an honour to be named a national finalist for the vInspired National Awards. I don’t volunteer for recognition, but it’s great to know that people appreciate what I do. I hope that I can inspire other young people to volunteer and make a difference in their communities. I am very proud of what I have achieved. My aim is to get the kids’ priorities set before they go to secondary school. I want Croydon to be a community again. The riots were the only time I’ve seen people working together to achieve an ultimate goal and that was for something bad. I want to get parents, teachers and kids talking again. Lives Not Knives has been my life for the past three years. It’s the most I’ve ever achieved and has taught me more about myself than anything else I’ve ever done.”

Gavin Barwell MP said: “Whenever I meet with Eliza I can’t help but come away inspired. Here is a young woman who has made the conscious decision to dedicate her life to supporting other young people and encouraging them to make a difference in their communities. Lives Not Knives has gone from strength to strength under her leadership, so I’m delighted that vInspired have recognised her talent and dedication by making her a National Finalist. Her example is one that I know inspires many, including many adults. Eliza has done a phenomenal amount of good in Croydon - long may she continue to work her magic and make our town all the stronger for it.”

Terry Ryall, vInspired CEO says: “The determination and selflessness Eliza has demonstrated in her volunteering is truly inspirational. She has been chosen as a finalist from hundreds of nominees because she has shown amazing dedication and passion for helping her community in Croydon regardless of what has stood in her way. She has changed the world for the better, and, I’m in no doubt, will continue to do so long into the future.”

The overall winners, who will be chosen by a panel including Paralympian Dame Tanni Grey Thompson, will be announced at a star-studded ceremony in central London on March 26, 2013.

NOTES TO EDITORS

For further information about the vInspired National Awards: www.vinspired.com/nationalawards
Contact: Janqui Mehta at vInspired on 07825 597873, Janqui.mehta@vinspired.com

vInspired helps young people to discover the fun and value of volunteering - for themselves and for others. It offers easy-to-access opportunities and support for young people to get involved with good causes that they care about, in their own ways. And in doing so helps them to improve their confidence, skills and employability.
www.vinspired.org

The vInspired National Awards recognise and celebrate young people (under 25) and youth workers who have made an extraordinary contribution to their communities through volunteering. vInspired believes in giving young people the recognition they deserve and we want everyone to know about the great things young people are doing.

The vInspired National Awards will take place at the Roundhouse in Camden, London on March 26, 2013. Last year’s event was hosted by Emma Willis and Eddie Kadi, and included performances from Tinchy Stryder, Stooshe, Wretch 32 and Angel.

The categories:
• Best young volunteer (11-17)
• All round commitment to volunteering
• Bringing communities together
• Team Activity
• Outstanding Contribution by a Youth Worker
• Most Outstanding NCS Team

 

     
Gavin Barwell, House of Commons, SW1A 1AA, Tel  020 8660 0491      © Gavin Barwell  2017       Promoted by Ian Parker on behalf of Gavin Barwell, both at 36 Brighton Road, Purley, CR8 2LG