MP for North Swindon

Justin Tomlinson MP

Local MP Celebrates As SMASH Are Highly Commended At Prestigious 10th Annual Kids Count Inspiration Ceremony


North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson has joined representatives from Swindon charity SMASH at a ceremony in Parliament to recognise their efforts at the ‘Kids Count Inspiration Awards’ alongside Education Secretary Justine Greening.

SMASH (Swindon Mentoring and Self-Help) is a local Swindon charity which supports young people and children through two programmes: Swindon Youth Mentoring (ages 13-19) and Memory Makers (ages 9-12). They work to provide guidance for young people who may be struggling due to their individual circumstances.

The mentors meet with the same young person once a week, typically for a year, to give support, encouragement and guidance. Mentors encourage young people to believe in themselves, building up their self-confidence and helping them take the first steps towards achieving their goals. By arranging events and activities, SMASH gives young people the opportunity to try out new experiences not normally available to them.

Justin has met with SMASH on a number of occasions, welcoming its Managing Director Helen Fisher to his Community Office to discuss the charities work, before making his office available for the intensive training sessions with SMASH volunteers go through to help young people. The North Swindon MP has also assisted SMASH in looking for new trustees to help them become sustainable, and in order to meet the increasing need for its services.

Having seen this life-changing work, Justin nominated SMASH for a Kids Count Inspiration Awards Ceremony.

Kids Count’s aim is to give young people a voice & a brighter future, “because nobody gets to choose their start in life”. The charity exists to help young people overcome disadvantages by listening, encouraging & promoting self-help.

The Inspiration Awards give an opportunity to recognise the many unsung heroes, from mentors to young people themselves, all of whom contribute significantly to their community. The Kids Count Inspiration Awards Ceremony has been held annually on the Terrace at the House of Commons for nearly a decade.

This year the awards were presented by key figures, including the Education Secretary Justine Greening, who spoke powerfully about the contribution charities like SMASH make in their communities. SMASH were highly commended in the category of ‘Best Contribution by a Community Group’ and Justin took the opportunity at the event on the House of Commons Terrace to champion SMASH’s success, as well as the essential role played by Helen & Claire, who joined him at the event to accept the award on SMASH’s behalf.

Justin Tomlinson MP said: “I am delighted that, having nominated SMASH for a Kids Count Inspiration Award, Helen & Claire were invited to Parliament to be highly commended for the charity’s vital work. SMASH changes the lives of young people by offering tailored support, and I was struck by the efforts SMASH volunteers go to give new opportunities to young people facing great challenges. Following on from this deserved recognition, I will be working with Helen and her team to help the organisation grow, and to encourage other Swindon residents to become Trustees – thus ensuring more young people can benefit”.

SMASH Manager Director, Helen Fisher, said: “It was an absolute honour to receive the award and a real privilege to accept it on behalf of every child and volunteer who work together to make life changing differences - it takes courage. Well done Smash!” 

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