Matilda Lomas with her two National Youth Work awards
Isle of Harris Girlguide Scotland leader Matilda Lomas was named Scotland’s Youth Worker of the Year 2018 – as well as picking up the National Community Youth Work Award – at the 2018 National Youth Work Awards.
Matilda was presented with her Youth Worker of the Year Award by Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney in Glasgow last week, in recognition of her work in empowering young girls and women in her small island community.
Saying that the honour hadn’t quite sunk in yet, Matilda continued: “It’s just amazing that I’ve come from the Isle of Harris down to Glasgow, which seems like a million miles away right now.
“As a volunteer it’s so special to be recognised for all the time and energy we give to young people. I feel the work Girlguiding Scotland can do on such a small island is so valuable, and it is particularly relevant this year, as we celebrate 100 years since the first women in the UK were given the vote.”
Matilda (28) has revived Girlguiding on Harris, an area where there was no provision for several years, giving local girls the opportunity to join with Girlguiding Scotland’s 50,000 young members making up the largest organisation for girls and young women in the country.
Through her dedication and vision for this remote community, local young girls now have access to international opportunities and the many social action projects on the island has brought all parts of the community together
Moira McKenna, Girlguiding Scotland’s lead volunteer, commented: “Matilda Lomas is a perfect example of what Girlguiding Scotland is all about. Her dedication to creating new opportunities and empowering girls in her community shines through in everything she does.
“Having revived Girlguiding in Harris, the Rainbow, Brownie and Guide units are now very much at the heart of their community, taking part in all sorts of social action projects and adventures.
“Matilda’s efforts have helped so many girls enjoy new experiences, learn new skills, make new friends and discover how they can be a force for good in their community and beyond.”
The National Youth Work Awards 2018 is one of the events that celebrate Scotland’s first-ever Year of Young People.
This national event, co-designed with young people, showcases their amazing talents and recognises the impact of youth workers on the lives of young people.
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney, who hosted the awards said: “It is vital that all of Scotland’s children and young people have a fair chance to flourish.
“Youth work makes a significant contribution to this: put simply, it helps change lives. I am always humbled by stories from young people and practitioners which demonstrate the real life impact of youth work.”