A VOLUNTEER at a Prestatyn charity has earned a coveted place on the UK’s leading campaigning group for young people.

NSPCC ChildLine volunteer Katie Balmer, 17 of Rhewl, is one of just ten Girl Guide representatives from across the country on the British Youth Council.

The organisation has helped lead the fight against period poverty and female genital mutilation and played its part in the successful campaign against topless Page Three models in The Sun.

Rhyl Journal:

Miss Balmer, who is a sixth form pupil at Denbigh's Myddelton College, said: “I’ve always wanted to help young people, especially young women, and give them a voice and I’m passionate about politics.

“That’s why I applied and the school have been very supportive and encouraged me to put myself forward.

“It involved an interview and I was thrilled to be accepted and now I’m just looking forward to playing a part in working with young people to campaign for change and for issues that affect them.”

Miss Balmer joined the Girl Guides organisation as a Brownie at the age of seven, and attends weekly meetings at Henllan Village Hall as a Young Leader.

She also does duty after school on Friday evenings as a switchboard operator for ChildLine, based in Prestatyn, taking calls from often distressed young people and directing them to appropriate help.

Miss Balmer added: “I don’t believe there’s enough support for young people with mental health issues and as a Youth Council delegate I want to champion mental health through creating awareness and improving support

“I was encouraged to get involved on the switchboard by our headmaster at Myddelton College, Mr Andrew Allman, and although it can be difficult sometimes you do feel you are helping.

“The school has also been very supportive of me setting up a pupil monitoring and support system because although the staff are very caring, sometimes students don’t feel they can talk to teachers and we help them voice any issues and concerns.”

Headmaster Andrew Allman said: “Leadership is a very important part of our sixth form programme and we try hard to allow our students to gain valuable experience in preparation for our UCAS programme.

“In my previous school I introduced a peer support system and when Katie came up with a similar idea I was delighted.

“It has been wonderful to work alongside her in establishing such an important system to support the psychological well-being of our students. I am so pleased that all of Katie’s hard work has been recognised in this amazing achievement.”

Miss Balmer will have to wait for the current coronavirus lockdown to end before she attends her first Council meeting in London, and hopes to go to university to study Politics after her A-levels next summer.