Ben Kinsella Award winner 2020: Volunteer who mentors youngsters at Tufnell Park youth centre and helps the homeless gets gong

Zone Youth Club volunteer Lily Tunbridge is the Ben Kinsella Award winner for 2020. Picture: Lucas C

Zone Youth Club volunteer Lily Tunbridge is the Ben Kinsella Award winner for 2020. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey - Credit: Archant

An inspiring volunteer who started a collection for the homeless and trains youngsters to run a cafe has won this year’s Ben Kinsella Award.

Lily Tunbridge. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

Lily Tunbridge. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey - Credit: Archant

Lily Tunbridge, 16, who attends Elizabeth Garret Anderson School in Donegal Street, has scooped the coveted gong for her selfless work helping others at The Zone Youth Club in Carleton Road. She will collect her award at a ceremony at Islington Assembly Hall this evening.

Lily mentors and trains others to run the centre's youth café, and organised a collection of non-perishable food, treats and toiletries for the homeless charity Crisis in time for Christmas. Lily is working with The Zone Youth Club to make the collection box permanent.

The eponymous award is presented to an outstanding young person each year in memory of Holloway School boy Ben Kinsella, who was murdered in an unprovoked attack in 2008.

Lilly told the Gazette: 'I didn't even know I'd been nominated. It's a shock. It made me feel like everyone here [at The Zone Youth Club] was even more of a family to me.'

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Asked her plans for the future, Lily added: 'I definitely want to do youth work, I always end up helping someone else. I think helping people my age and going through stuff myself, it's nice to have a place with people you can talk to and go somewhere for a break away from home.'

On her time at Zone Youth, Lily said: 'It's a confidence boost, definitely. And I think it has effectively prepared me for working life.'

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Ersin Ramiz, who helps run the centre, said of Lily: 'She has been volunteering here. She has been a great asset. She has helped other people, learned a lot. She has great enthusiasm.'

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