Volunteer Amy Irwin, who at 18 was the youngest person ever to adopt a section of canal, has been short listed for a prestigious national award for her community spirit.
Amy, from Netherton, Liverpool, is up for a British Red Cross Humanitarian Citizen Award and has been invited to London for the awards ceremony in the Palace of Westminster on 24 November. The awards celebrate the extraordinary things young people do every day that make a difference to other people’s lives.
A volunteer with the Canal & River Trust for the past three years, Amy was the driving force in encouraging her local community to adopt a section of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. She saw that the section of canal near her home was becoming untidy and unloved and founded the Cookson’s Canal Action Team to galvanise local people into action. She arranged regular cleans ups along the waterway gaining more and more volunteers through word of mouth and positive articles.
University student Amy said: “Adopting a stretch of canal really appealed to me as I wanted to show that I was serious about, and committed to cleaning the canal and doing something in my local area. Sadly some people don’t take young people seriously, but I am determined. The adoption has really helped boost community spirit and given people more pride in the area – as well as making the canal a better place. I am very honoured to be nominated for this award.”
Amy is also actively involved in the Desmond Family Canoe Trail, representing the voice of young people on this ambitious project to create England’s first coast to coast canoe trail. The project aims to engage more than 10,000 people from some of the country’s most deprived communities over the next five years, offering young people aged 15-25 opportunities to learn new skills and grow their confidence.
Greg Brookes from the Canal & River Trust said: “Having more young people like Amy involved in the future of our canals means that we can create cleaner, vibrant and greener spaces encouraging local people to be more active and use these areas more widely as part of their daily lifestyles. Amy is a very special young person whose hard work deserves recognition.”