Hi, my name is Tom Truman and I am honoured to be the current YMCA Young Worker of the Year. I was nominated for the award in 2015 for work in my previous position as Service User Involvement Officer at YMCA Birmingham.
Activities that helped that support my nomination were wide ranging. They included organising a visit for young people to Parliament to speak about issues affecting them, helping to shape a youth manifesto for the local area and arranging Hustings events, which all promoted further opportunities for young people to have a voice in political matters.
But this wasn’t all. Away from the political spectrum, I also forged close working relationships with the local policing team, arranging for a ‘guns and gangs’ workshop for YMCA Birmingham’s young people. In addition, I was fortunate to be successful in attracting extra funding for projects, such as a grant for young people to run a project to improve money management skills within their communities. The project – Take Away Chefs – produced a booklet with healthy and easy-to-follow recipes, alongside a competition for two local schools to provide the artwork for the booklet. The project was highly commended from both the Money for Life Challenge and local MP, Jack Dromey. And this was all before taking on the London Marathon and participating in other fundraisers for YMCA Birmingham! All in all, it was a busy year!
As a result of this, I was lucky enough to be put forward by the management team at YMCA Birmingham for the prestigious Youth Matters 2015. These awards are the pinnacle of work at YMCA and last year’s big night was held at the Porchester Hall, in central London. You can watch a video from the night on YouTube. For my nomination, I have to particularly thank my current manager Richard Brookes, who wrote and pushed forward my vote to the rest of the YMCA Birmingham team. It was an honour to be nominated and then when it came to the big night, amazing to win and pick up the title of Young Worker of the Year. This award recognises young workers for their outstanding commitment to building a brighter future for young people and for going the extra mile to make a real difference to their lives.
To be honest, I’m still in shock that I won as I know so many brilliant young workers, not only in my YMCA, but at many others. The atmosphere for the evening event was fantastic; it’s a real celebration of all the amazing work we all do. We really don’t spend enough time as a federation reflecting on all the great stuff we do and it’s definitely a night I and YMCA Birmingham won’t forget – thank you to everyone who voted for and supported me!
Since the Youth Matters Awards I have been promoted to a new role as a Training and Employability officer in our brilliant Training team. I believe the award has given me recognition for my and YMCA Birmingham’s work in building a brighter future for young people.
I thought I had no chance of winning the award, but Richard and YMCA Birmingham team put me forward, the judges and public unexpectedly did the rest. So for anyone thinking of nominating this year, just remember: You have to be in, it to win it!
Read more about nominating for Youth Matters 2016.