Work of South Uist volunteer recognised at Young Scot awards

The work of 22-year-old Gemma Steele from South Uist has been recognised at this year’s Young Scot Awards.

As a teenager, Gemma flew to Kenya to volunteer at an orphanage. When it closed because of a cash crisis, she came home and began to raise funds to build new premises. The new orphanage was completed in 2012 and looked after 24 young people.

Gemma juggles her life in Africa with being a student at Glasgow’s Caledonian University where she is studying occupational therapy. She was proud to collect her award in the Unsung Hero Award category at the end of last week.

“It’s lovely to have been given this award. My plan is to finish university and hopefully find a job that lets me work both at home and in Africa,” she said. “I’m really touched, so a huge thank you everyone who made this possible.”

The Young Scot Awards showcase Scotland’s finest young talents and are a chance to celebrate
their inspirational achievements throughout the year. The awards highlight how hard young Scots work and recognise the dedication and determination of young people who have made a positive impact on the lives of others in their community.

Thousands of guests attended the event last Thursday at the SECC Glasgow and were wowed by performances from X Factor finalist Nicky McDonald and emerging pop artist Elyar Fox.

Louise Macdonald, chief executive of Young Scot, said: “Congratulations to our Unsung Hero Award winner — we were truly humbled to join Gemma and celebrate her outstand­ing achievements.

“We live in a country of remarkable young people and the awards has shown Scotland how truly amazing our young Scots are. We should all be very proud of them and we’d urge everyone to continue to help us challenge negative stereo­types we too often hear and make sure they remain centre stage.”

A highlights show of the Young Scot Awards will be televised on STV at 9pm this evening (Thursday).