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Groundwork's Ann-Marie is the best in Britain

Posted on 31 October 2013

Pictured: National Youth Agency Chief Executive Fiona Blacke (left) with Youth Worker of the Year Ann-Marie Lawson of Groundwork Northamptonshire.

I was fed up listening to people saying that young people were such a big problem in our society, and decided to do something about it. I’ve never looked backAnn-Marie Lawson
A Groundwork youth worker has been named Youth Worker of the Year for her extraordinary contribution to improving the lives of young people in her community.

Ann-Marie Lawson, Youth Programme Manager with Groundwork Northamptonshire, was presented with the award at the National Youth Agency’s Youth Worker Awards 2013 for building bridges between young people, police and the community in her area.

She was nominated by Northants Police after helping to achieve a dramatic decrease in crime and anti-social behaviour involving young people on a local estate. Through the creation of the successful Jam in the Hood project, Anne-Marie was able to change attitudes to young people, help prevent teenagers committing crime and improve community confidence.

Ann-Marie said, “I am absolutely elated to have won this award. I will be shouting it from the rooftops and I am excited to see the impact it could have on the work I do. About ten years ago I was fed up listening to people saying that young people were such a big problem in our society, and decided to do something about it. I’ve never looked back.”

“Young people inspire me every day with their resilience and humour. I am blessed to work for such a supportive organisation, which allows us the autonomy to develop creative and innovative projects that make me want to get out of bed in the morning and go to work. I want to pay tribute to my colleagues and all the inspirational young people I have worked with.”

Simon Mutsaars, Executive Director of Groundwork Northamptonshire, said: “This is an extraordinary achievement, and much deserved recognition. Ann-Marie is an inspiration to all and she has built a youth programme and team at Groundwork which never ceases to amaze in terms of its creativity, impact, dedication and commitment to young people in the county. All at Groundwork are incredibly proud of her.”

Fiona Blacke, National Youth Agency Chief Executive, said: “Great youth workers are paramount to the success of youth work, without which many young people will not be given the opportunity to grow, develop and become full members of society.

“Youth workers are so very often the unsung heroes, quietly delivering real change by creatively spanning divides to bring communities closer together. Youth Work Week is the time to shine a light on what youth workers do and sing their praises.”

The Youth Worker Awards are part of Youth Work Week, an annual celebration of youth work organised by the National Youth Agency since 1993. Run in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat, this year the ceremony included awards for youth workers from each of the four regions, recognising their contribution to youth work across the Commonwealth.

For further information on Youth Work Week 2013 and the Youth Worker Awards, click here.


Issued by Chris Burton of Groundwork UK
Tel: 0121 237 5874
Mob: 07788 314885

About the National Youth Agency

The National Youth Agency (NYA) works in partnership with a wide range of public, private and voluntary sector organisations to support and improve services for young people. Its particular focus is on Youth Work and it believes strongly that by investing in young people’s personal and social development, young people are better able to live more active and fulfilling lives.

About Youth Work Week

Each year Youth Work Week centres on a single theme. The National Youth Agency has identified the need to use Youth Work Week to bring the sector together and highlight to decision makers and opinion formers the positive impact youth work and front line workers have on building strong communities.

The theme of Youth Work Week in 2013 is Building Skills for Employability

The skills young people need to enter the job market have changed substantially over the past decade. Soft skills such as the ability to work in a team, to empathise and think creatively are all important alongside formal qualifications. Youth work helps build these skills by encouraging young people to recognise their own abilities and to respect those of others. Youth work can provide the support to help young people make a successful transition from education to employment.