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Pals honoured in Lords for their youth work
6:00am Friday 11th October 2013 in News
Two Bradford schoolboys have attended a special event at the House of Lords in recognition of their work with young people in Bradford.
Damian Grant, 18, and 17-year-old Jake Hopkinson made the trip after being invited through the Salvation Army, which they both attend. The event was in recognition of the support given by the charity’s trusts and donors over recent years and to highlight the range of work undertaken by the Salvation Army to help young people.
The pair – who have known each other since infancy – were asked to speak about their experiences growing up in Bradford.
Damian said: “We talked about life in Yorkshire for young people, about school and jobs and youth crime, and how a lot of people are struggling and how some are living on the streets.
“We discussed the future for young people and how providing support and places in the community such as youth clubs could help. We also told them about who we were, what we were studying and about our ambitions.”
Damian, a pupil at Bradford Academy, and Jake, who lives in Bradford and studies at Leeds College, attend the Salvation Army’s Holme Wood branch. A third teenager, Sarah Tomkins, from Aston near Birmingham, also attended the event, which included a dinner.
Going to the House of Lords was a “great experience” said Damian, who has overcome problems in his life but has not allowed them to hold him back.
“I’ve turned them into positives,” he said. “At the House of Lords we met and talked to some important people about what we do within the Salvation Army and and how we came to become involved.
“We also discussed the events in my life, the things that I have been helped with and how my life has changed because of the Salvation Army.”
He also paid tribute to his family and friends, teachers and the youth organisation e:merge.
Jake gave a speech paying tribute to the Salvation Army, its church leaders and youth workers, who he has known since childhhood.
He said: “It was a good experience. It broadened my horizons and enabled me to give something back. The Salvation Army helped me so much, I would not be where I am today if it was not for the youth workers here.”
Donors and trust funds are important contributors to the charity’s work, particularly in helping to sustain the wide ranging and innovative children and young people’s programmes in places such as Holme Wood.
A Salvation Army spokesman said: “Damian, Jake and Sarah made an important contribution to the event. It was good to acknowledge the work and relationships built by their youth workers.”