TWO teenagers have been recognised for their outstanding voluntary work with young people who have been sexually exploited.
Caitlin Boys and Abbie Rodgers have won Peer Supporter Awards in this year’s Diana Awards, named after the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
The 16-year-olds won their awards for volunteering with young people at the Barnardo’s SECOS (Sexual Exploitation of Children On the Streets) project works with children and young people who have been sexually exploited.
The pair both volunteered to be peer mentors for youngsters who found it difficult to talk to adults about their experiences.
Caitlin, from Ormesby, said: “I was really excited when I found we’d won this award and really proud of myself as well. We’ve worked with around ten young people, roughly between the ages of ten and fifteen and mostly around sexual exploitation.
"We get a lot out of it and hope the young people we’ve supported have found the experience helpful and useful as well.”
Abbie, from Nunthorpe, added: “I was a bit overwhelmed when I found I’d won the award to be honest. I really wasn’t expecting anything like it.
“We’ve been doing peer support for about a year and a half and work with young people going through the court system, helping them to feel like they can do it and everything’s going to be okay.”
As well as their work in Middlesbrough, they also recently took part in a parliamentary inquiry and contributed by speaking on behalf of young victims of sexual exploitation.
Claire Sullivan from SECOS said: “The girls were nominated for the Diana Award as a direct result of their work with vulnerable children and young people on Teesside and their support in helping them navigate the criminal justice system.”