Special award for community servant Karen

November 28 2018
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YMCA Mendip chief executive Karen Deverell has received a special national award for her service to the local community.

Karen was presented with the Red Triangle Award at YMCA’s National Youth Awards on November 2 after being exclusively chosen by judges for her outstanding support and commitment to her community.

The Red Triangle Award is a special award which is submitted without the nominee’s knowledge and the winner is announced as a surprise at the awards ceremony, held this year at London venue 8 Northumberland Avenue and hosted by TV presenter Miquita Oliver. It is one of two distinctive awards where winners are chosen by judges and is not part of the public vote like the remaining 11 award categories which are up for grabs each year.

Karen was praised by judges for working tirelessly to build a sustainable organisation, but never losing focus on the importance of young people.

“I was really touched to be chosen for this award. It has been an immense privilege to work for the YMCA,” said Karen.

“I was motivated to work with young people 24 years ago and they are still the reason I enjoy my work today. Watching young people who have come to us often in chaos, feeling lost and with no sense of purpose, then start to engage, grow and achieve, has given me tremendous job satisfaction.

“I have though achieved nothing without fantastic colleagues, trustees and volunteers alongside me, everything we have developed in Somerset has been as a team.
“The YMCA has given me so much more than I have given it.”

YMCA Mendip, which has an office in South Street, Wells, has more than 100 accommodation units and provides homeless support services and youth and community work across Mendip and South Somerset.

Youth Matters is the organisation’s national awards programme that celebrates the skills and achievements of young people from across the country and also recognises the work that YMCAs deliver every day.

Michelle Payne, marketing & fundraising manager, said: “It is so important people get the recognition they deserve; and we were thrilled that Karen received the YMCA Red Triangle Award.

“But as Karen said in her speech, it’s all about teamwork; and that quite rightly also includes the support we receive from outside of the organisation.

“Karen has been an integral part of YMCA Mendip for just over 24 years; with 17 of those years being CEO.

“Karen, along with many other dedicated staff and trustees, have helped the charity to be responsive to the ever changing needs of local people and ensure that the organisation continues to provide the vital services it does to some of the most vulnerable within our community.”

Wells City Councillor Maureen Brandon said: “When I was a Mendip District Councillor my portfolio included working with the YMCA and Karen Deverell. It was clear to see that Karen was supportive of every young person in her area who was in need of help.

“Mainly, due to Karen’s untiring enthusiasm and devotion to the work involved, I became very supportive of the work undertaken by the YMCA and still follow the ongoing progress.”