Jemma is charity's volunteer of the year

Friday 14 December 2012 Updated: 18/12 09:48

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Buy photos » Jemma Masterson proudly shows off her YMCA Volunteer of the Year Award. (s)

A UNIVERSITY of Worcester student who tutors young people with challenging behaviour has been named the YMCA's Volunteer of the Year.

Jemma Masterson has been volunteering at Worcester YMCA for over a year, while also studying at the university where she is in the third year of a Youth and Community Services degree.

“I was really shocked to win the award,” she said.

“I was up against two people from other YMCA centres in England and didn’t think for a second that I would win.”

Jemma, who grew up in Hemel Hempstead, hopes to continue her work with young people after graduation.

“No-one in my family has been to university and no-one ever thought that I would either,” said the 20-year-old.

“I left school with just one GCSE and really never thought I was cut out for university."

“But I have loved every minute of it and now I want to use my experience to inspire other young people who don’t think they can do it, or grow up in areas, like I did, where university is not something that people do.”

Jemma spends three days a week at the YMCA centre working with young people aged from 12 to 16, while also studying for her degree.

“I would love to work full time in youth work when I have finished my degree and make a real difference to young people who might get drawn into crime or other bad behaviour and show them that there is help and support and more to life,” she said.

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