Buckinghamshire Women in Charity Awards – Young Charity Woman of the Year Award

The Young Charity Woman of the Year Award is given to individuals (25 years or below) who demonstrate exceptional talent and potential - read the stories of the winner and highly commended.

The Women in Charity Awards were established in 2021 to raise awareness of and celebrate the many inspirational initiatives led by and involving women in the county. Announced on International Women’s Day (8th March 2021), the Awards recognise the outstanding work and effort in four categories: Outstanding Leadership, Trailblazer, Outstanding Volunteer and Young Charity Woman of the Year.

Winner of the Young Charity Woman of the Year: Georgia Grou, Health Delivery Officer, Wycombe Wanderers Sports and Education Trust (23 years old)

Georgia “Gee” Grou started at the Trust in 2019 as a Health Apprentice. She has an aptitude and keen passion for supporting mental health and empowering people to achieve their potential. Gee now coaches the Trust’s disability sessions and voluntarily leads a local women’s football team.

Gee successfully worked with one member with crippling anxiety and depression. She helped him identify an interest in sports coaching and encouraged him to help her deliver a training session, leading on some stretches. This was a huge step for him and something he would never have been able to do a year ago.

Gee also helped another member who with the challenging task of caring for his dad who has dementia. Gee has encouraged him to get out of the house at least once a week to go for a walk for some well needed ‘me time’, as well as recommending other coping strategies when he gets overwhelmed. She has also been able to suggest various ways of motivating his father to complete certain tasks.

Finally, within the first lockdown Gee received a distressing call, one member called her in a manic low, wanting to take her own life. She remembered her training and got an action plan in place and brought the member back down to a place where they felt safe. Gee quite literally saved a member’s life that night and continues to support many others during this difficult time.

Photo of Georgia Grou of Wycombe Wanderers Trust

Highly commended: Charlotte Lawrence, Attain Project Manager, Transitions UK (23 years old)

Charlotte has recently become a Project Manager with Transitions UK having worked her way up through every role in the organisation. She already shows incredible knowledge, maturity and insight into how to be a strong but empathic leader. As a care leaver, she has worked hard to create a niche for herself and not allow the challenges of her childhood to negatively impact her future. Instead those early experiences drive her to be aspirational and inspirational.

Charlotte works hard to drive up quality standards and increase partnership working both internally and externally. She is both empathetic towards the care leavers she works with and her staff, and works to support and encourage them. Charlotte has also played a significant role in setting up the Charity’s Attain (care leavers mentoring) programme and is now a Project Manager. She oversaw the expansion of Attain from one to five locations.

She cares deeply about the young people she supports. For example, recently Charlotte supported a young man through a mental health crisis. She took the young man to hospital for assessment, supported him to make some difficult decisions about his mental health, stayed in touch and worked with his employer so that he could return to his workplace with support in place. That first hospital visit meant she did not get home until 11.30pm, but at 9am the following morning, she was still willing and able to induct two new members of staff without any sign of what she had been through.

Photo of Charlotte Lawrence of Transitions UK

Highly commended: Vaibhavi Shah, DreamSai Milton Keynes (14 years old)

Vaibhavi is a young volunteer from Milton Keynes Indian Community who inspired her whole family, as well as many other young people, to give back to the community by delivering food parcels to vulnerable communities during COVID.

During September 2019, Vaibhavi started volunteering at DREAMSAI, a Milton Keynes based charity. Her role initially was to check the “use by dates” of the items going into food parcels. She soon realised how many vulnerable people in the local community needed support and extended her hours of volunteering ‘to do more’ and ‘give back to those in need’. She quickly learned how to manage the inventory of the thousands of stock items all by herself, helping the other teams downstream to operate efficiently.

Since March 2020, Vaibhavi volunteered to pack and deliver food parcels supporting hundreds of vulnerable elderly and school children in need of food. She has been key to the delivery of the 52,000 meals donated by the charity during the pandemic and her service has inspired many local youngsters to join the volunteer team. Vaibhavi celebrated her 14th birthday by donating to Food for SAI – a project of DREAMSAI delivering home cooked meal to the homeless. Her willingness to step up and help the needy is truly exceptional in one so young.

Further reading:

Photo of Vaibhavi Shah

Updated on December 14, 2023

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society