A VOLUNTEER who has ‘changed the lives’ of young people in Barton is to receive a community award.

Cerian Townsend moved into the estate just two years ago.

But leaders of a Christian charity say she has had a radical impact on the lives of young people, helping them gain confidence and learn skills through cooking, baking, and gardening.

Now her dedication will be recognised in the Oxfordshire Charity & Volunteer Awards.

She is part of the Thrive Team established by Oxford based charity Innovista, a Littlemore-based Christian charity, which provides young people with positive spaces to get involved with activities and have fun.

Ms Townsend said she helps the team work with around 75 young people each week.

She said: “I chose to move to Barton and volunteer with Thrive because I know that young people can be hard to reach, and that living among them would allow us to build relationships and trust with them, and provide opportunities to support them in times of crisis.”

A school nurse by day, Ms Townsend won the award – to be presented at the Town Hall on Tuesday – for her role in a pioneering initiative which seeks to ‘bring hope and lasting change to Barton through its young people’.

Living with other members of the team on the estate, she has been involved in a cooking and baking group, an allotment project and is planning activities for a Sunday church project.

Judy Elliott, leader of the Thrive Team in Barton, nominated Ms Townsend for the award.

She said: “Cerian frequently provides community support for young people by giving them lifts, buying food, cooking meals for them and offering a listening ear. Her presence on our small team has greatly accelerated our development and our impact on the ground in seeing young people experience hope and lasting change.”