TWO young Fenland volunteers who have enthusiastically helped in the arts have been entered into the Cambridgeshire Young People of the Year (YOPEY) awards.
Brandon Mattless (16) of Wisbech and Liam Thompson (20) of March, have given up their time to encourage other young people to take up art.
The YOPEY awards recognise young people who are positive role models and Brandon and Liam are in with a chance of winning a cash prize from a pot of £2,000 put up by organisations across the county including local crop production specialists Hutchinsons.
Liam and Brandon were nominated by Karen Harvey, an artist who set up Atelier East in 2006.
Brandon went to an art session run by Atelier East last May and then got stuck in. “He is the most dedicated person of his age we have ever worked with,” said Karen.
Brandon helped organise a young artists exhibition and even won £1,000 from the O2 Think Big Awards to do it.
He has also got involved with local matters and helped make a book about the Waterlees Adventure Playground. Because of this work he was invited to join Fenland District Youth Council.
Brandon plans to go to college in September to study graphic design.
Brandon is also an ExplorerScout with the 13 Walpoles at Walpole St Peter and is a young leader for the Beavers.
Liam has been doing work experience with Karen for only two months after the administration job he had under the Future Jobs Fund finished.
“He has gone out of his way, used his initiative and come up with ideas to promote the Fenland Scrapstore to people,” said Karen. “He has helped at events and made people feel really welcome.”
He has also supported the work that Atelier East has done with children and young people and painted a mural at Manea primary school.
“Liam loves art and creativity and he’s brilliantly organised, thoughtful and proactive.
“I can’t imagine many young men volunteering four days a week on a social enterprise and not know what the future holds,” said Karen.
But this has paid off, because he is now starting an apprenticeship scheme with the organisation and will mentor the next work experience person who is taken on.
* The awards will be held at Peterborough Cathedral on September 13. YOPEY is open to young people aged from 10 to 25 who live, work or study in Cambridgeshire. Log on to www.yopey.org or send an SAE for an entry form to YOPEY, PO Box 236, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 1DP. Young people can nominate themselves. Entries close on June 30.