Grace McNulty (YMCA North Tyneside)

Grace has been a member of the Jarrow YMCA youth group for the past six years. In that time, she has become instrumental in inspiring her peers to volunteer and give back to the community – from organising coffee mornings for the elderly and volunteering in the local community garden, to helping tidy up the cemetery so that everyone can enjoy a clean, well-loved space to visit their loved ones.   

Grace has had a challenging background and home life, and over the years has struggled with family illness and bereavement, but in the face of all of this, she has shown amazing strength and resilience.    

Grace has so much empathy for others, especially those who seem to be most in need of support – she sees inequality and feels that she must act to help. She also actively fundraises for a local charity, St Vincent de Paul Jarrow, by coordinating walks, fayres and coffee mornings.   

Grace has also been an active member of the Central Jarrow Big Local Partnership Board for almost two years, where she has voting rights in decision making and contributes a young person’s perspective. Grace hopes to become a Youth and Community Worker in the future, and is a credit to YMCA. 

Harriet King (YMCA Norfolk)

Harriet started as the Marketing and Communications Officer at YMCA Norfolk, and while in this role took their communications to a new and dynamic place, elevating their social media presence. She was later selected as Project Officer for a new £2m plan to deliver a 90-place nursery, café and soft play, along with HQ replacement.  

Harriet quickly developed project management skills and negotiated her way through the role of being the internal link within the project. Working closely with the Senior Management team, she became very hands-on, ensuring actions were completed, decisions were made in a timely manner and that the project remained on track.  

The project is now open, and her role has changed to addressing day-to-day operational issues and liaising with external contractors. Harriet has shown a level of maturity beyond her years in wanting to progress and develop herself, and is extremely bright and engaging in her role.  

Harriet’s passion for YMCA is shown in her positive, proactive actions, which to date have led to five friends also joining YMCA to work. Harriet is a great communicator and advocates for marginalised groups through a blog she writes, along with highlighting opportunities to volunteer to support groups.

Stacey Brown (YMCA Swansea) - WINNER

There aren’t enough words to start to explain Stacey and how she touches the lives of so many. With her tenacious and hard-working personality and her enormous heart, she puts everything she has into helping others – she is a leader amongst leaders 

Stacey runs and leads theatre productions, teaching and encouraging vulnerable people into the arts, many of whom went from being so shy that they were unable to talk when they first joined YMCA, to taking on leading roles by the end. Stacey has a unique way with people, they feel stronger and more confident knowing they have her to lean on.  

Stacey has also run YMCA Swansea’s LGBT+ youth group for three years, during which time she has made a huge impact, with many people crediting her with having saved their lives. She has given her young people someone to believe in and somewhere to belong, regularly speaking out for her group and ensuring that their voices are heard. She lives and breathes YMCA. 

2021 Youth Matters Awards Finalists