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Volunteer worker Jo Mayes, 20, has won a prestigious regional award for all her hard work for others and has now earned her place in the national final.
Volunteer football coach and youth worker Jo, from Biggleswade, Beds, has been chosen from among hundreds of people aged between 16 and 25 for the VInspired awards.
Aragon Housing Association tenant Jo, who has fought back after a deep trauma left her with depression and self-harming issues, now uses her experiences to help other young people battle their demons.
She has dedicated the last four years and almost 5,000 hours to volunteering which includes coaching several football teams, helping to counsel other young people about depression and also works with Aragon’s Friday night sessions called Girlzone, part of the Association’s youth programme.
“I love what I do. I have now recently set up my own project Mind the Gap in which I want to help young people who come into contact with mental health issues and set up a support group. There’s a huge gap in knowledge about depression. I really would like to encourage young people to get involved in volunteering.”
Nicola King, Youth & Community Participation Officer at Aragon, who has known Jo throughout her volunteering work, said: “She is truly amazing. The work she has done for Aragon has been vital to us and is a true credit to her. She was a previous Bedfordshire Young Person the Year in 2010 and this award is a tribute to her further achievements.”
Jo is due to attend a grand awards ceremony on 22nd January and will then go on to the national finals of VInspired in March where she has been picked for the final shortlist of only three young people.