Fylde youth worker Linda Markey has won the award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Youth Volunteering’  at the largest youth volunteering awards in the country. Linda, 64, who has been a youth worker for 30 years, has been named as the national winner in her category for the vInspired National Awards.

The annual awards celebrate the achievements and dedication of young volunteers and youth workers.  They aim to challenge negative attitudes towards young people by highlighting the creativity, motivation and generosity of some of the most inspiring young volunteers and youth workers in the country.

Linda has been selected from hundreds of nominations to be named as the winner in the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Youth Volunteering’ category. Linda has shown enormous dedication to the young people of Fylde during her 30 years in youth work, even going back to university aged 50 to gain her youth work degree. She has been involved in setting up and supporting countless projects to help young people reach their potential through volunteering. Most recently, she set up Fylde Coast Be Involved to offer structured support to young people and provide access to voluntary opportunities, no matter what their background or barriers.

Linda said: “It’s such an honour to be named a national winner for the vInspired National Awards. I don’t volunteer for recognition, but it’s great to know that people appreciate what I do. I hope that I can inspire other young people to volunteer and make a difference in their communities. The thing that keeps me motivated is my passion for working with young people and fighting injustice. So many of these young people don’t want to be in the situations they are in. No one wants to be sexually exploited, or wants to have mental health problems. I love working with them to get the very best out of them. Breaking down the barriers is a passion, so that these kids can reach their true potential.”

Mark Menzies MP said: “Recognising the great volunteering work that goes on, day in day out in our communities, is extremely important.  Volunteers like Linda need to know that their work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.  This is why occasions such as the vInspired National Awards are so important.  I am so pleased that Linda’s work has been recognised and that she has won her category.  She is an inspiration to us all on the Fylde Coast, and I know many people have been, and continue to be, hugely affected by her work.”

Terry Ryall, vInspired CEO says: “The determination and selflessness Linda has demonstrated in her volunteering is truly inspirational.  She has been chosen as a winner from hundreds of nominees because she has shown amazing dedication and passion for helping her community in Fylde, regardless of what has stood in her way.  She has changed the world for the better, and, I’m in no doubt, will continue to do so long into the future.”

The overall winners were chosen by a panel, including Paralympian Dame Tanni Grey Thompson, at a star-studded ceremony in central London on March 26, 2013.

Below is a video for that was shown at the awards and is always a link to the Vinspired official Youtube channel