Inspirational South Shields teenager nominated for national award for supporting the community

A South Tyneside teenager has been nominated for the ‘Young Person of the Year’ at a national awards ceremony in recognition of her charity work.

Ruby Dearden, 18, from South Shields, a cochlear implant user, earned her nomination for voluntary work in the local community while completing her Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Ruby’s work in the local community included volunteering in sheltered accommodation, helping a local hairdresser and taking part in coffee mornings, as well as volunteering within her school, teaching younger pupils trampolining.

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Ruby has joined the student leadership team in her sixth form and was recognised at her school for services to the community and plans to take a trip interrailing next summer after completing her A-levels.

Ruby Dearden, 18

Despite the struggles of following a conversation in a group environment, Ruby did not let this stop her while earning her Duke of Edinburgh Award and showed great determination.

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She said: “I’m feeling very surprised and grateful to be nominated for this award. Living with sight and hearing loss can be challenging, but with the right support and the right people around me, I forget about the challenges. I’ll never let anything stop me from achieving the things I want to achieve.”

Ruby also says her sight loss makes it difficult to find her friends at college since she can’t recognise faces further than a metre away - However, she noted that she has “the most supportive friends” who take care to send her a text describing where they’re sitting so Ruby can find them.

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Ruby attending her school prom

The awards are organised by disability charity Sense, a charity that supports people living with complex disabilities and winners will be revealed on November 24.

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Sense supports children, young people and adults in their home and in the community, in their education and transition to adulthood and through its holidays, arts, sports and wellbeing programmes.

The Sense Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of people with disabilities, as well as the staff, carers, family members, volunteers and fundraisers

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Sense Chief Executive, Richard Kramer, said: “Ruby makes the most out of opportunities presented to her, as well as contributing to her local community by volunteering. We’re delighted to recognise her achievements by shortlisting her for Young Person of the Year at the Sense Awards