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An Isle of Harris girlguiding leader has been named Scotland's Youth Worker of the Year 2018.


For the past five years Matilda Lomas worked tirelessly to revive Girlguiding in the area.


The movement is now a thriving part of the Harris community, carrying out social action projects cleaning their local beach to collecting supplies for their local foodbank and reporting to the UN.


In addition to empowering girls to be a force for good in their communities, Matilda also encourages girls to take on new challenges and adventures in Scotland and beyond – from supporting girls to take part in regional and national camps to leading a group of girls on Girlguiding Scotland’s first ever international service project to Lesotho in Africa.


Matilda said: “As a volunteer it’s so special to be recognised for all the time and energy we give to young people.


“I feel the work Girlguiding Scotland can do on such a small island is so valuable, especially when there are limited opportunities and few women in leading roles. It is particularly relevant this year, as we celebrate 100 years since the first women in the UK were given the vote.”


The 28-year-old also received the prize for community-based youth work.


She was presented with her award by Deputy First Minister John Swinney at an event in Glasgow.


Mr Swinney said: “It is vital that all of Scotland’s children and young people have a fair chance to flourish. Youth work makes a significant contribution to this: put simply, it helps change lives. I am always humbled by stories from young people and practitioners which demonstrate the real life impact of youth work.”


Moira McKenna, Girlguiding Scotland’s lead volunteer, said: “Matilda Lomas is a perfect example of what Girlguiding Scotland is all about. Her dedication to creating new opportunities and empowering girls in her community shines through in everything she does.”


“Having revived Girlguiding in Harris, the Rainbow, Brownie and Guide units are now very much at the heart of their community, taking part in all sorts of social action projects and adventures.


“Matilda’s efforts have helped so many girls enjoy new experiences, learn new skills, make new friends and discover how they can be a force for good in their community and beyond.”

Harris girlguiding leader is Scotland's Youth Worker of the Year

19 March 2018