Loose Women star, Brenda Edwards, presented a young entrepreneur who turned away from a life of crime with a “Young Hero” award.
Osmond Gordon-Vernon, 24, grew up on the Winstanley Estate in Plough Road, Battersea, and faced pressure to join gangs which led him to struggle in school.
But aged 14, in 2013, he joined a pilot project run by Battersea Arts Centre called The Agency, which assists young people who have an idea for positive social change.
Mr Gordon-Vernon said: “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate winning the Young Hero Award.
“When I joined the Battersea Arts Centre I was determined to make positive life choices.”
He developed a board game, Life Is What U Make It, based on his own experiences, to help other young people understand the consequences of making certain decisions.
Mr Gordon-Vernon wanted to connect with them in a relatable way, so they could make positive life choices rather than succumb to crime and gang culture.
Mr Gordon-Vernon secured a grant from The Agency, which has received more than £1.4million in funding from The National Lottery Community Fund since 2015.
He said: “The people there supported me to realise my potential by building my boardgame to help other young people understand the consequences of making certain decisions.
“I hope winning this award shows others that they can achieve whatever they want to achieve if they put their mind to it.”
The National Lottery Awards are the annual celebration of inspirational people and projects.
A judging panel whittled down 3,780 nominees to just seven winners and Mr Gordon-Vernon was named as this year’s Young Hero.
Winners in each category received a £5,000 cash prize for their organisation and a National Lottery Awards trophy.
Mrs Edwards – who presented Mr Gordon-Vernon with his award – tragically lost her 31-year-old son, Jamal Edwards, last year.
Mr Edwards was the founder of SBTV, an online grime and rap music platform which helped launch the careers of artists like Dave, Sheeran and Skepta.
Mrs Edwards, said: “I was delighted to be asked to present Osmond with the National Lottery Young Hero Award.
“He is an incredibly inspirational young person who understands the true value of helping others in his community.
“My son Jamal was dedicated to supporting others and helping people to achieve their potential, and Osmond also recognises that providing people with the right skills, knowledge and opportunities can help young people make better life choices and thrive in their communities.”
Pictured top: Loose Women star, Brenda Edwards, presents Osmond Gordon-Vernon, with his National Lottery Young Hero Award (Picture: Roswitha Chesher)
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