Vote Grace! Young community champion is up for a national award
A teenager with a ‘heart of gold’ has been nominated for a prestigious national award that will be decided in a public vote.
Grace McNulty, 15, from Jarrow, is one of five young semi-finalists in the YMCA’s Youth Matters Awards for 2021 in the Young Leader of the Year category. The nominees are scattered across Britain.
Grace’s work in the Jarrow community is becoming legendary. She organises coffee mornings for older people, volunteers in the parks, community gardens and in Jarrow Cemetery tending war graves and helping with weekly tidy-ups.
She has raised funds for the St Vincent de Paul charity in Jarrow, coordinating walks, fairs and coffee mornings, raising over £1,500.
In April Grace, who is about to start her last year at Hebburn Comprehensive, was presented with an award as part of NE Youth’s International Women’s Day Awards, winning the Inspiring Young Female Award.
The YMCA said: “Over the years we are well aware of the struggles that Grace has encountered, such as family illnesses and bereavements, input from social services and problems with where she was living. As a result, she has developed amazing strengths and attitudes to succeed.
“Grace has empathy for others, especially those who seem to be most in need of support; instrumental in planning and organising many environmental and inter-generational activities.
“She is a credit to the YMCA and worthy of the Young Leader of the Year Award."
Grace is the youngest of the four children of Jane Cowell, who said: “I’m just so proud of her. In this day and age you get kids roaming round the streets and getting into trouble. Grace and her friends aren’t like that and she has a heart of gold.
“She’s been with the YMCA since she was eight or nine. At school too she’s always ringing me up to say that she’s helping out with something.
“It’s great that she’s up for this award. I’m not saying there aren’t other people who deserve it too, but there can only be one winner.
“It proves that not all kids are bad and I’m really, really pleased for her. She always does that little bit more.”
To vote for Grace, visit www.ymca.org.uk/youth-matters-awards-voteVoting. Voting closes Friday, August 13.