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MAPS Mentee Wins Teen Award for ‘Inspiring Others’

Shannon Fletcher Teen Hero
Shannon Fletcher Teen Hero

Shannon Fletcher, 17, an apprentice on the Bridges project at Volunteer Centre Sutton,  is one of four teenagers, out of over 2,000 national nominees, to win a BBC Radio 1 Teen Award, announced last night.  She will be presented her award live on stage at Wembley Arena on Sunday 19th October, during the Teen Awards ceremony, in front of 10,000 people.

The event is being co-hosted by Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw and chart-buster Rita Ora. The line-up includes 5 Seconds of Summer, Labyrinth, Ariana Grande, The Vamps, Rixton, Ella Henderson and  loads more!

The show will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 1 from 2pm and shown on their website (www.bbc.co.uk/radio1) and through the red button; a highlights programme will be shown on CBBC on Friday 24th October.

Shannon is the winner of  the ‘Inspiring Others’ category, which recognizes young people who’ve succeeded in the face of adversity, inspiring other young people along the way.

She was nominated by Derek Terrell, Project Manager for Bridges, a youth employability project, run from the Volunteer Centre Sutton, where she has been working for the last three months.

Derek said:  “Shannon has been an asset to us from the day she joined as an apprentice, working hard and inspiring others to reach their potential.  What makes her so remarkable is that she has risen to so many personal challenges and because of these life experiences, she speaks with real authority and helps her peers to see, and plan, for a positive future. She understands completely what young people need and she is a role model for all of us.  We are so proud of her and she truly deserves this award”.

Shannon was at Volunteer Centre Sutton’s staff away day last week, when Radio 1 DJ, Greg James, along with a camera crew, burst in, to reveal she was a winner.

She said ,  “ I can’t believe it!  I was so shocked to see Greg James that I couldn’t take in what he was saying.  I’m really pleased but I think there are other people out there more deserving than me.  I can’t wait to go to the awards ceremony though!”

Shannon will have a whole weekend of being a star, with a central London hotel stay, the chance to go behind the scenes, meet the bands personally  and watch them doing their sound checks. On Sunday afternoon, she will be given the VIP package, and be personally escorted up the red carpet by Greg James, and into a screaming Wembley Arena, packed with 10,000 young people.  The event will be streamed live on BBC Radio 1 and highlights shown on CBBC.

What makes Shannon’s story so inspirational is the personal journey she has made, from a disjointed childhood in which she moved over 20 times, being separated from siblings and parents, teetering on the verge of homelessness, to the responsibility of paid employment. During this time, Shannon was supported by  MAPS (Mentoring, Advocacy & Peer Support), another project that runs from the Volunteer Centre Sutton.

Not only does Shannon work one-to-one with the young people on the project, some of whom are older than her, but she has single-handedly represented Bridges at local government forums, taking on a position of responsibility and receiving praise from a range of professionals for her work and inspiration.