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A young volunteer from YMCA Southampton is celebrating today after triumphing at a national youth charity awards.

Billie Murphy, 20, beat off competition from two other inspirational young helpers at the Youth Matters 2015 awards ceremony in central London last week to be named Young Volunteer of the Year.

Billie was praised by judges for the way she has overcome a range of difficulties in her personal life, including drug and alcohol addiction, to play an important role in the Newtown community in Southampton. Since moving into the YMCA Southampton supported housing in 2013, Billie has become an important volunteer and now a youth work apprentice at the charities’ Newtown Youth & Community Centre in the city.

Billie was one of three young people to get through to the awards night after battling through judges’ shortlisting and then an online public vote in August. She said: “I am really excited to have won such a significant award. Even reaching the final stage was overwhelming. YMCA Southampton has played such a large part in me turning my life around and I really appreciate all the support I’ve received”.

Youth Matters is YMCA’s national awards ceremony which celebrates the outstanding skills and achievements of young people from across the country. The Young Volunteer of the Year Award recognises a dedicated young volunteer who has shown tireless commitment to YMCA and contributed energy, skills and time.

Andrew Simpson, YMCA Southampton Area Director, said “We’re extremely proud that Billie’s efforts have been recognised with this award. The YMCA has helped support her, but without her own personal drive to make positive changes in her life she wouldn’t be where she is today”.

For more information on our work in Newtown, visit our Newtown Youth & Community Centre page.