Local Hero Awards: Terri Smith nominated

Josh Hardwick. Picture: comp

Josh Hardwick. Picture: comp

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AN inspirational campaigner and young politician battling a brain tumour is in line for a Local Hero award for her work with young people.

Terri Smith suffers from seizures and lung problems, but she has not let that stop her giving people a voice through the Scottish Youth Parliament. The 20-year-old, from Granton, has been put forward in the Inspirational Young Adult category for her work as an MSYP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith and for her work as vice-chairman of the Scottish Youth Parliament.

But she faces competition in the same category from 15-year-old Josh Hardwick, a board member of Tenants and Residents in Muirhouse and North Edinburgh Young People’s Forum and a volunteer at the Muirhouse Community Shop.

Joe Mountford Smith, from Bankford, has been nominated as Health Champion for helping people see beyond their learning disabilities, while 38-year-old Lynn Atkinson, from Penicuik, is up for the same award for her work with brain injury charity Edinburgh Headway Group.

Emma Miller, who nominated Terri, described her as an “exceptional young person” who stands up for vulnerable youngsters.

She said: “Terri is always on standby to help everyone else without a thought for herself.

“Young people speak highly of Terri and describe her as ‘one of a kind’, with many saying she’s changed her lives.

“Not many people fight brain tumours and having seizures every day, whilst ensuring every young person has their voice heard by politicians, decision-makers and everyday people.

“She never complains about the amount of pain she is in and never asks for recognition. She helps the vulnerable, the sick and anyone who just needs her, and that’s why she is so inspirational.”

Terri volunteers nearly 40 hours a week at Leith Academy where she mentors young people suffering from anxiety or who have behavioural difficulties at school.

She encouraged people to vote in the independence referendum and has campaigned for same-sex marriage and a living wage.

She also fights on behalf of Edinburgh’s young carers and works with young people living in deprivation.

Terri said: “I still have the brain tumour and I still have the seizures every day. But you just have to get on with it, and I just love helping people.”

She went on: “When I was younger, my mum was a single parent and we didn’t have very much, so that was why I decided to fight to help other people.

“In Scotland, one in five children lives in poverty, so that’s my driving force – using my own experiences to help other young people.”

The Inspirational Young Adult has been sponsored by the Omni.

David Edwards, the Omni Centre manager, said they had chosen to support that category because it was important to recognise the “amazing contribution” young people were making to their communities”.

The Health Champion has been sponsored by the Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation. Its chairman, Brian Houston, said: “We are delighted to support the Local Hero Awards and to recognise some of the dedicated and inspiring individuals who make a difference to the lives of others.”

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED

THE Local Hero Awards are open to anyone who lives in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Winners will be announced on Friday June 5 at the Assembly Rooms.

The easiest way to nominate someone is to visit www.localheroaward.co.uk.

This dedicated website will allow you to choose which category you wish to enter, as well as allowing you to tell us all about your nominee.

If you would prefer to enter by post, please send your entry to Edinburgh Evening News, The Local Hero Awards, Orchard Brae House, 30 Queensferry Road, Edinburgh EH4 2HS.

Entry forms are available in today’s paper on page 14. Entries must include your name, address and telephone number. Please make it clear which category you wish to enter your nominee for and explain why you think they deserve to win the award.

The closing date for nominations is Tuesday, May 5.

999 HERO

To recognise a member of the emergency services who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Sponsored by BT

BRAVERY/COURAGE AWARD

For someone who has shown exceptional courage in their life. They may have overcome great odds or made sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty. The nominee may have shown courage in dealing with an illness or battling through a traumatic experience. Judges would like to see strong evidence of this individual showing great character and fortitude in their life. Sponsored by Peoples Ford

COMMUNITY CHAMPION

An individual who may have supported an individual and/or a family, or who has made a significant contribution to the community. The award not only recognises, encourages and rewards people who make a difference within their community but inspires others to do the same. The award will be made to an individual whose time, effort, support and aspirations have made a significant contribution within their community for the benefit of those who live there.

TEACHER OF THE YEAR

To recognise a truly inspiring teacher in primary, secondary, further or higher education. Someone who has made a significant difference to the learning experience of a student or a class.

HEALTH CHAMPION

Someone who has improved people’s health and/or made an impact on the quality of life of an individual. They may work in the NHS or healthcare industry, providing a service above and beyond the call of duty, taking personal responsibility for a person’s wellbeing. They may be a champion for health and wellbeing issues, healthy lifestyles and exercise in the community. Sponsored by Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation

CARER OF THE YEAR

This person may be someone who has cared for a friend or family member or who has made personal sacrifices in order to tend to the needs of others. Sponsored by Social Care Alba

SPORTING ACHIEVEMENT

This award recognises individuals who have proved outstanding achievement in a specific sporting field. Not only does it recognise sporting skill but also recognises drive, ambition, and determination even through the face of adversity The award will be made to an individual who demonstrates exceptional sporting talent and determination. The judges will assess the background history of the person, and the achievement he/she has made within sport and where applicable to personal challenges.

CONTRIBUTION TO LOCAL SPORT

This special award recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution and shown dedication to local sport and physical activity, over a number of years. A real unsung hero, who has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

FUNDRAISER OR VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

This award recognises individuals who, by their hard work and dedication, have made a difference to a charity or cause. The judges are looking for individuals who have demonstrated continued commitment to a charity or individual through fundraising support and successfully co-ordinated fundraising events, giving their own time and effort to help out a good cause. Sponsored by the Scottish Blood Transfusion service

NEIGHBOUR OF THE YEAR

This award recognises an individual who has gone the extra mile to be a good neighbour. The award is for someone who gives their time to someone who needs company, support and acts selflessly towards making a neighbour’s life more pleasant. Sponsored by 
McCarthy & Stone

INSPIRATIONAL YOUNG ADULT

This award recognises, encourages and rewards an individual who has shown exceptional drive and determination for a cause, belief or individual in the face of adversity. This may be someone who has stood up for a worthwhile cause such as racism, bullying or community cause. They could have acted selflessly and shown great bravery in a situation. Sponsored by the Omni Centre

SCHOOL OF THE YEAR

This award recognises a school either primary or secondary which has achieved outstanding success in the education system. The judges are looking for a school which has achieved results that many thought previously unachievable. A school which has surpassed all expectations through hard work and determination, which may have battled through adversity to achieve great results. Sponsored by Harper Collins

CHILD OF ACHIEVEMENT

We are looking for a child who has demonstrated exceptional achievement in their life. They may have overcome great odds or made sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty. The nominee may have excelled academically, achieved great sporting success, raised money for a good cause, or been a great support to someone with an illness or battling through a traumatic experience. Sponsored by the Scottish Government – playtalkread

LOCAL HERO AWARD

This award is the highlight of the night and will be awarded to an individual who the judging panel considers Edinburgh’s Local Hero. Judges will select the winner either from entries received via nomination for this category or from another category who judges believe stand out above all other nominations. The Local Hero Award will look to reward someone who has done something truly remarkable. Sponsored by Costa Coffee