Two 15-year-old girls who reopened a youth club were junior winners of the Bedfordshire Young People of the Year Award.
Amber Hector-Nugent and Sophie Rance, from Arlesey, won £200 at the awards in Luton last week.They received £200, £50 each and £100 for Arlesey Junior Club.
They were presented with their prize by Cllr David Bowater, vice chairman of Central Beds Council, one of the main sponsors of the county-wide contest. The other sponsors were Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service, Chicksands food company Parripak, Atlas Converting Equipment of Kempston, Movianto UK of Bedford, and Carlisle Managed Solutions of Luton.
Cllr Bowater said the judges were very impressed by Amber and Sophie. Mid Beds MP Nadine Dorries, who was one of the judges, said: “It is no simple act to go from attending a youth club, to taking the initiative to organise volunteers, meeting times, location and activities.
“I hope they continue to take it upon themselves to give back to the community and provide youths with a safe place to have fun.”
An audience of over 200 people at the University of Bedfordshire heard that children were crying when it was announced last year that the youth club for seven to 11-year-olds in Arlesey was to close.
Sophie and Amber were volunteers at the previous junior club. Amber said: “We felt there was a need to continue the club. There’s not a lot for them to do in the area.”
Amber, of Weavers Orchard, and Sophie, of Rose Cottages, got donations from local companies, arranged with Central Beds Council to continue using the venue, and sought advice from Arlesey Town Council.
They got support from parents, raised funds at the local fun day, opened a bank account, and arranged insurance. They even organised checks and first-aid training for volunteer helpers.
Amber added: “It was a long process, particularly as we had just started our GCSEs, but it was definitely worth it.”
Arlesey Town Council chairman Nick Daniels, who nominated the girls for YOPEY, said: “They came and spoke to the council about what they were doing. They acted way above their age in a mature and responsible manner.”
Cllr Daniels added: “Without their endeavours that service would not have been available. The youngsters in Arlesey owe them a debt of gratitude.”