'Everyone deserves a place to thrive no matter what their differences are': Nidderdale student awarded Wilfrid’s Star
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The Young Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Harry Wilkinson at the ceremony, which took place at Ripon Cathedral.
Harry, 15, who goes to Upper Nidderdale High School and Community College in Pateley Bridge, volunteered at ZEN Sensory, an award-winning wellness centre in Harrogate offering therapeutic sensory experiences for all ages and abilities.
Harry took on more than 100 hours in just a few months while juggling school work and sacrificing weekends to benefit the lives of others, among which he has enjoyed learning, and thriving, while developing his own key skills.
Harry said: “I did over 100 hours at ZEN Sensory and enjoyed every minute.
“Serving customers and helping out where it's needed.
“It's aimed towards people with disabilities, but the centre is much more.
“It's where people can stay and experience the sensory rooms.
“I had no idea I would win the star.
“I just like to help people who have struggles where I can.
“There aren’t many places where young people who struggle can go.
“I enjoy making sure all young people have a say.
“Everyone deserves a place to thrive no matter what their differences are.
“ZEN has got everything you need.”
Over a period of just three months, Harry sacrificed his spare time, which has led to paid work.
Now, he continues to gain understanding in what he has called “an uplifting experience”.
He said: “I got to meet a lot of people and learnt how other people’s experiences are different.
“I also got good support too during the process.
“It was over three months, alongside school work and weekends.
“It gave me an understanding of how to benefit the often challenging lives of others, and a good perspective.
“It’s an uplifting experience.
“I will continue as I work there now, it's led on to paid work and an actual job, which is brilliant for me.”