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Plymouth young person scoops top award for her work tackling Violence Against Women and Girls

Young people from across the southwest came together last week to celebrate the work of local Youth Parliament Members and recognise their work supporting the local communities – with Plymouth’s representative scooping a top award!

Sofia Elliot

The British Youth Council held ‘Youth Con’ in Plymouth last week, where around 38 young people and youth workers came together to discuss local and national issues that matter to children and young people. At the event, a series of awards were also presented by The Lord Mayor, to recognise those young people who have gone above and beyond.

Eighteen-year-old Sofia Elliot, who is a member of the Plymouth Youth Parliament, was presented with the southwest ‘Campaigner of the Year’ award, for her efforts in raising awareness of Violence Against Women and Girls.

Sofia has been very proactive in working to help tackle Violence Against Women and Girls in Plymouth, including participating in a number of discussion panels alongside Councillors and organisations discussing women’s safety, such as attending the Youth Conference organised by Councillor Zoe Reilly last year during the 16 Days of Activism. She was able to not only represent the voice of young people – but also provide advice and guidance to decision makers.

Sofia has designed resource materials for schools and has campaigned for better education in schools and colleges. And she has created workshops to improve awareness of the issues, working alongside local MPs and councillors. Sofia also has worked tirelessly with Trevi, a local women’s charity and recently raised over £700 with a silent auction and a raffle.

Sofia said: “I was really surprised to be honest! I know a lot of young people have been working so hard this year across the whole southwest on amazing campaigns, but it was amazing to be recognised for the work I've been doing as it's been a lot of effort but so worth it!”

Councillor Sally Haydon, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Sofia has worked tirelessly to continue campaigning for the safety of women and girls, I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award, she is a brilliant example of a young person who really cares about her city and making it feel and be safer, she is a great voice for young people, keep up with the amazing work!”

Councillor Zoe Reilly, Violence Against Women and Girls Champion said: “Sofia has been with Youth Parliament for seven years and she always brings a smile to the sessions, she supports new members of the group and is a fantastic role model to everyone she works with and supports.

"Sofia has worked closely with me on raising awareness of VAWG sitting on panels and helping to organise the Youth Conference during the 16 Days of Activism. I am inspired both by her determination and her passion in this area, she is studying for her A-Levels and has not let that slow down our progress. I am incredibly proud of Sofia and look forward to what comes next.”