Awards recognise teenage parents

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Inspirational young mums from the Express area got to celebrate their achievements at a special ceremony this week.

Abbie Taylor from Castleford and Shannon Oliver from Pontefract, were among 45 teenage parents from the Barnardo’s Young Families Service and the Barnardo’s Youth Contract initiative, who were presented with certificates of achievement by headteacher, Johnny Mitchell, of Educating Yorkshire fame.

Miss Taylor, 19, was referred to Barnardo’s Young Families when she was pregnant at 16. Now mum of two-year-old Leon, she holds down a job as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities.

She said: “Barnardo’s helped me to build my confidence and encouraged me to get a job. They helped me with my CV and job applications. Now I have money to provide for me and my son and that feels good. I’m sure life would be really different if it wasn’t for the charity.”

Miss Oliver, who lived in 21 different places as a child has found true happiness as “a real mum in my own home” thanks to the support she has received from the local church, Barnardo’s and a midwifery scheme for young mums.

The 20-year-old mum-of-two left school with few prospects and qualifications, but is now settled in her own place, attending college and dreaming of a career working with animals.

She said: “Without Barnardo’s, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They helped me find me a place of my own, do a work placement and build-up my confidence.”

She added: “I don’t have family around me and was worried about being a mum, but the Young Women’s Midwifery Team gave me plenty of support. They are fantastic.”

The awards ceremony was held at St Catherine’s Church Centre, Doncaster Road, Wakefield.

Barnardo’s Young Families service manager, Kate Goodwin said: “Our event was an important day for celebrating the achievements of the young people and also for looking forward to the successes of the years ahead.”