A woman from Brighton has been named as YMCA England’s first Young Achiever of the Year.
Kim Shippam first came into contact with the YMCA when she was given help with her housing.
She has since overcome serious health problems and returned to the YMCA to help as a volunteer for several years because she wanted to give something back.
The judges said that Kim won the award because of her strength and determination to overcome huge barriers in her life so she could build a positive future herself.
Kim, who volunteers at Sussex Central YMCA, which is based in Hove, said: “It’s an amazing feeling to win the Young Achiever of the Year Award.
“It is such an honour.
“I can’t believe how much my life has changed since coming to the YMCA.
“Everyone has been so supportive and given me the chance to be a more independent and confident person.
“The workers have been great role models and inspired me to find a positive direction in my life.
“Winning an award is the icing on the cake.”
She was presented with her award by the Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells at the YMCA’s national thanksgiving service on Saturday (20 November).
She was watched by hundreds of other YMCA volunteers and local dignitaries at the service in Bridgwater, Somerset.
David Standing, chief executive of Sussex Central YMCA, said: “We are all so proud of Kim for winning the Young Achiever Award.
“She truly deserves it.
“She battled through her own issues, including serious health problems, often putting them aside to help other young people get their lives sorted.
“Kim has grown as a person and moved her life on in so many ways.
“We are delighted to have her as part of Sussex Central YMCA.
“She is a real inspiration to all of us.”