Lauren Bond, a 16 year old from Ballymoney is one of 500 outstanding volunteers to be chosen as the nation’s Coronation Champions.
An outstanding volunteer from Ballymoney, has been recognised by Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort as part of the official Coronation celebrations in conjunction with Royal Voluntary Service.
Lauren is the Youth MP for North Antrim, the International Officer for The Secondary Students Union Northern Ireland, a member of the Northern Ireland Youth Assembly, a Royal Air Force Air Cadet Corporal and is an active volunteer for a variety of local and national charities.
In recognition for her contributions, she has been crowned a Coronation Champion. This follows a call out to the nation to nominate their volunteer heroes. Almost 5000 entries were received, with nominations made for individuals aged 14 up to 103.
Lauren impressed judges with her voluntary work and her service to the community. As North Antrim’s Youth MP Lauren has been campaigning to make Northern Irish History a mandatory part of the curriculum before GCSE level to ensure that every young person leaves school with at least some knowledge of their country’s history including the Good Friday Agreement.
Lauren has also campaigned for the recognition of the females that shaped the peace process who are currently excluded from the current curriculum. Lauren was invited to speak at a reception in the House of Commons celebrating 25 years of the Good Friday Agreement and spoke of the importance of peace, and the need to educate young people about the past in order to build a brighter future.
Lauren has also campaigned for disability rights, including mandatory autism training and teaching and equality in healthcare. Lauren has been a proud advocate for rights and equality campaigning for education surrounding domestic abuse, coercive control and healthy boundaries. Lauren is the Northern Ireland representative for the UK Youth Parliament’s social action group, and has spoken out throughout the cost of living crisis on topics such as cost of school uniforms and food insecurity to ensure that no child faces financial barriers when striving to reach their goals.
Mental health activism has shaped a lot of Lauren’s political work and she has campaigned for mandatory education surrounding mental health to be carried out in schools to remove the stigma surrounding mental health. She has encouraged people to speak out about their mental health. Lauren’s involvement in mental health campaigning stemmed from a 100 mile run she did in the month of August when she was aged 13 to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust. Through this fundraiser she engaged with young people battling cancer, and learned of the importance of adequate mental health support.
With the support of Her Majesty The Queen Consort, a passionate advocate of volunteering and President of Royal Voluntary Service, the Coronation Champions Awards were launched to recognise exceptional volunteers from across the country at this momentous point in history. Across the UK, 500 Champions dazzled the judging panel with the impact of their work, their inspirational stories and unwavering commitment to volunteering.
All Coronation Champions, including Lauren have been invited to attend one of the official Coronation celebrations. They will also receive a specially designed, official Coronation Champions pin and a certificate signed by Their Majesties.
Commenting on becoming a Coronation Champion Lauren Bond said: “I’m unbelievably grateful to have been chosen for this award, with so many other incredible nominees. I hope this can encourage other young people to stand up for what they believe in and know that they can make meaningful change.
Volunteering with a range of organisations has completely transformed my life, it’s definitely a lot of hard work but seeing the difference you can make, no matter your age, makes it so worth it. I’m so grateful to have had my volunteering work recognised, and this is definitely a memory I will treasure. I’m really excited to attend the coronation concert next month. I think this is an amazing initiative to recognise the hard work of those who help to shape their communities and it truly is an honour to share this experience with so many outstanding volunteers”
The Coronation Champions Awards invited people across the UK to nominate their local volunteering heroes who are going the extra mile.
Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said: “We were completely blown away by the response to the Community Champions Awards and the huge volume of amazing nominees put forward. Our judges had a tough job selecting just 500 Champions from an array of thousands of inspirational individuals, who all deserve to be recognised and commended. “
“Each of our Coronation Champions displayed a commitment and contribution that far exceeds any expectation and we’re overjoyed to honour and thank them during this exciting point in history.”
Royal Voluntary Service is immensely grateful for the generous support of brand partners Simplyhealth, for supporting the Health and Care category, Sky through its Sky Cares programme, for supporting the Community category and Petplan, for supporting the Animal Welfare category.
Those feeling inspired to try volunteering themselves are encouraged to take part in The Big Help Out on Monday 8th May. The Big Help Out is another official Coronation project, aiming to encourage newcomers to volunteering, bring communities together and create a lasting volunteering legacy from the Coronation weekend.
Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities with volunteers supporting the NHS and thousands of vulnerable people in the community. The charity delivers the NHS Volunteer Responders programme for NHS England, enabled by the GoodSAM app, with volunteers responding to over 2.5 million requests for help to support approximately 220,000 people, and completing over 363,000 shifts at vaccination sites.
The charity also works in local communities running home libraries, companionship support, home-from-hospital services and patient transport. Its Virtual Village Hall provides online activities and classes to promote wellbeing and keep people active