Bellshill woman named as Scotland’s top youth worker

Laura Campbell.  Picture: Alan Rennie
Laura Campbell. Picture: Alan Rennie

A Bellshill woman has been named Scotland’s National Youth Worker of the Year 2017 at an awards ceremony in Glasgow, for her work in reducing offending and raising the attainment of young people in North Lanarkshire.

Picking up this prestigious national award, Laura Campbell of Bellshill YMCA said: ““For me it is about each individual young person. All young people have challenges, some are greater to overcome than others, and that is where youth work really works with young people who are not attending school, struggling with their mental health or just feel lost. It’s not about talking, it’s about really listening, that is how you turn someone’s life around and value them.”

Laura of Bellshill YMCA manages three youth work projects, all with a focus on getting young people back learning and achieving, including: Plusone Mentoring, which supports young people to get involved in positive activities; the Befriending Project which works with youngsters experiencing social isolation and the Early and Effective Intervention project with Police Scotland and North Lanarkshire Social Work department.

The 10th National Youth Worker of the Year Awards, run by YouthLink Scotland, has been an outstanding showcase of the remarkable work that is being done right across the nation. The ceremony was held on Thursday, March 16 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow.

Jim Sweeney, chief executive of YouthLink Scotland, said: “Youth work is critical to the success of many young people in Scotland. In every area of the country there are countless examples of people, paid and unpaid who do great work with young people that quite literally changes lives.

“Laura is a fantastic example of effective youth work, she illustrates that when the investment is made in our young people, and they are given the opportunity to learn and grow outside the classroom, their achievement and attainment improves.”