A Sheffield-born student has been named Young Campaigner of the Year by Britain’s biggest gay equality charity for creating and running a campaign against homophobic bullying.
Rosie Ellingham from Crookes set up the campaign as part of Stonewall’s Youth Volunteering Programme, which has encouraged hundreds of young people across Britain to tackle homophobia in schools and colleges.
The 22-year-old said: “I’m extremely proud, happy and grateful knowing I’ve been part of something so big and amazing. It was great to have a chance to change the views of young people towards homophobia.”
During her campaign, Rosie delivered a widely praised seminar to fellow students at Bradford University about the effects of homophobia.
Research by the University of Cambridge for Stonewall shows that over half of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people are homophobically bullied at school, and a third change their future plans because of it.
A quarter of gay young people have attempted to take their own life.
Stonewall works with schools, colleges and universities across Britain to tackle homophobic bullying.
Rosie has also received the Hilary Rose award from her university recognising her hard work on diversity issues.
She is now focused on keeping up her hard work to make Britain better for gay young people.
“Young people are extremely open to changing views,” she said.
“They’re the future, and I hope we’ll see a big change with the next generation.”
Stonewall head of education Wes Streeting said: “With so many young lives being ruined every day by anti-gay intolerance, we were really impressed with Rosie’s campaign to educate people about homophobia.
“It’s great to see young people standing up for equality, and giving so much to their communities.”
The 2013-14 Stonewall Youth Volunteering Programme, supported by Lloyds Banking Group, is now under way.
Lloyds spokeswoman Fiona Cannon said: “Congratulations to Rosie. We’re hugely proud to be involved with this programme.”