A 22-year-old girl who volunteers for the Safe and Sound charity has been recognised at the third annual Derby Youth Awards.

Keeley Howard has been presented with the award for Inspirational Young Person of the Year at the Youth Voice Awards organised by Sporting Communities and sponsored by Derby City Council.

Keeley has dedicated her time to helping others and has been a vocal advocate for young people – particularly those who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation.

In Derby, she continues to be an active volunteer for Safe and Sound – currently part of the outreach team.

She is a past member of the Derby City Youth Council as well as a volunteer young lay member of the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership – ensuring that the perspectives of young people are taken into account when planning services and support.

Nationally, she has worked with the Children’s Commissioner for England and presented at national conferences attended by child exploitation professionals and the police.

She also continues to be an active member of the Young Researchers’ Advisory Panel – advocating for change to drive forward policies that support children and young people who are victims of sexual abuse.

Safe and Sound Project Manager Helen West, who nominated Keeley for the award, said: “We are all so proud of Keeley.  Despite personal challenges, she keeps going for other people and continues to be an important voice for young people.

“She is a sensitive and courageous young woman who is determined to be a voice for the many children in the city and across the UK who do not have one.

“I personally hope that this recognition makes her realise just what an inspiration she is to everyone who comes into contact with her and that she is a shining example of a young person who wants the very best for the children and young people in her community and further afield.”

Keeley Howard, said, “I’m extremely thankful to have been nominated for the award. I think it’s incredible that young people are being recognised as an advocate for their own life. For the past five years, I have been putting young people’s rights and opinions into force with everything I do!

To be recognised for all of the hard work and dedication is an achievement in itself. I was so shocked when I was announced as the winner and I am very happy.

For more information about supporting the work of Safe and Sound please visit https://safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/