Young people who have overcome severe health challenges, supported others and achieved great things – including Calverton’s Caitlin Orchard – are being recognised at a prestigious youth awards evening.
Seventeen-year-old Caitlin is being recognised for her involvement with her local young people’s centre has helped her to develop as a person as well as learn vital new skills
The 4Uth awards are a Nottinghamshire County Council initiative to celebrate the achievements of young people across the county.
Caitlin has been nominated for the award by Mohammed Yaseen, who is a youth worker at Calverton Young People’s Centre.
Mohammed has nominated Caitlin because of the way she has overcome problems with bullying and intimidation and learned new skills to help her develop her future plans.
“Caitlin is a long-time member of Calverton Young People’s Centre who has faced immense obstacles and became reclusive and socially and emotionally isolated in her family, peer groups and community,” Mohammed said.
“However, Caitlin remained connected to the centre where she maintained a positive, supportive relationship with her youth worker, Jill, who suggested that she should focus on things she really enjoyed.
“This led to Caitlin supporting activities in the coffee bar. It wasn’t long before she decided to put together a menu of food and recipes from around the world for young people to try out.
“Caitlin started with simple foods but soon developed her ideas. This involvement encouraged young people who began to develop a new-found respect for Caitlin which in turn enabled her to experiment with food.
“Caitlin found her passion and began dreaming about a career in the food and hospitality industry. She soon found part-time work in local pubs but was disappointed with the lack of professionalism and desire to cook high quality food.
“Having struggled at school with bullying and discrimination in her community, Caitlin never lost sight of her ambition to work in high quality kitchen with real chefs. In March, Caitlin secured a job as a chef at the World’s End Restaurant in Lowdham.”
Caitlin said: “The last five years at the youth club helped me get through all the sadness I was feeling outside.
“I realise now that this is an amazing place where young people can go to get help with their problems and maybe find something they love. I think the club is just great.”
Her dad, Nigel, said: “Caitlin goes to the young people’s centre most nights of the week.
“Attending the sessions has really given her a lot of confidence and she has a lot of friends there. News of this award has also really boosted her morale. We are so proud.”