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TV’s Brenda Edwards presents young entrepreneur with National Lottery Award

30th Hydref 2023

TV’s Loose Women star, Brenda Edwards, presented a young Battersea entrepreneur with an iconic National Lottery Award today in honour of her late son who was also a young trailblazer that strived to empower young people.

Osmond Gordon-Vernon and Brenda Edwards with a National Lottery Awards trophie by Roswitha Chesher.

TV personality and presenter, Brenda Edwards, visited Battersea Arts Centre in South West London to officially present 24-year-old Osmond Gordon-Vernon with his National Lottery Young Hero Award, in honour of his incredible work in the community.

The National Lottery Awards
are the annual celebration of the inspirational people and projects who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding. A judging panel whittled down 3,780 incredible nominees to just seven winners and Osmond faced stiff competition to become the winner in this year’s Young Hero category.

grew up on the Winstanley Estate in Battersea, South West London, and faced pressure to join gangs which led him to struggle in mainstream school. But aged just 14, in 2013, he joined a pilot project run by Battersea Arts Centre called The Agency, which assists young people who have an idea for positive social change.

He developed a board game, Life Is What U Make It, based on his own experiences, to help other young people understand the consequences of making certain decisions. Osmond wanted to connect with them in a relatable way, so they could make positive life choices rather than succumb to crime and gang culture.

To make his vision a reality, Osmond secured a grant from The Agency, which has received over £2.7million of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund since 2015 and celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year. Over the past 5 years, close to £480 million of National Lottery funding has gone to a range of projects throughout the UK which support young people.

Delighted to be announced as the winner of the Young Hero category, Osmond Gordon-Vernon said: “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate winning the Young Hero Award. I grew up on the Winstanley Estate in Battersea, and joined The Agency at Battersea Arts Centre when I was 14 years old and determined to make positive life choices.

“The people there supported me to realise my potential by building my boardgame, Life Is What U Make It, to help other young people understand the consequences of making certain decisions. I hope winning this award shows others that they can achieve whatever they want to achieve if they put their mind to it.”

Brenda Edwards knows only too well the importance of making good life choices to inspire other people. Her 31-year-old son, Jamal Edwards, who tragically passed away last year, was an entrepreneur and trailblazer in the worlds of digital content, music and entertainment. He helped launch the careers of many artists including Ed Sheeran, Jessie J, Stormzy and Emeli Sandé.

Osmond Gordon-Vernon and Brenda Edwards with the game 'Life Is What U Make It' by Roswitha Chesher.

He empowered young people from all walks of life connecting them, directing them and helping them to achieve their dreams and ambitions so they could be the best versions of themselves. Allowing individuals to flourish was one of the many ways Jamal believed the world would become a better place. He was an ambassador for the Prince's Trust youth charity, helping young people to set up their own businesses. In 2021, he also set up Jamal Edwards Delve, a project aimed at refurbishing and reopening youth centres.

Presenting Osmond with his award, Brenda Edwards, who has been a weekly panellist on the ITV daytime chat show, Loose Women, since 2019, said: “I was delighted to be asked to present Osmond with the National Lottery Young Hero Award. He is an incredibly inspirational young person who understands the true value of helping others in his community. My son Jamal was dedicated to supporting others and helping people to achieve their potential, and Osmond also recognises that providing people with the right skills, knowledge and opportunities can help young people make better life choices and thrive in their communities.”

Winners in each category received a £5,000 cash prize for their organisation and a National Lottery Awards trophy.

Osmond Gordon-Vernon and Brenda Edwards with the game 'Life Is What U Make It' by Roswitha Chesher.

Thanks to National Lottery players, more than £30 million goes to good causes across the UK every week, which in turn helps people like Osmond continue to carry out incredible work in their communities.