A determined young Sheffield woman is celebrating after winning a prestigious award despite great adversity.
Helena Kiely, 28, won the Young Women’s Trust ‘Influencer’ award, at the Trust’s awards ceremony attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, in London.
Helena used her experience of being out of education to become the joint director of a project that helps young people gain skills.
Helena was brought up in an Irish Traveller family and left school at 11. Despite missing out on secondary school education, she was determined to gain qualifications and went back into education at 16. She then became the first member of her family to go to university, graduating in 2014 with a first class degree in Youth and Community Work.
The Young Women’s Trust is a charity supporting women aged 16 to 30 on low or no pay.
The awards, sponsored by WMG, Venn Group and Clarion Housing Group, recognised young women who have overcome barriers to make substantial progress in their lives.
Helena said: “It was a huge surprise to hear I was nominated for the award and I certainly never expected I would win.”
The awards evening was hosted by political commentator and comedian, Ayesha Hazarika MBE.
Young Women’s Trust chief executive, Dr Carole Easton OBE, said: “These young women are outstanding role models for the hundreds of thousands of young women struggling to get a foot on a career ladder.”
Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey said: “I want to congratulate Helena on winning the award.”