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National Lottery Young Hero 2021 announced!

20th October 2021

An inspirational Bristol schoolgirl has received a National Lottery Award in recognition of her incredible work in her community. Mariama Sanneh, 15, was presented with the award after winning the Young Hero category in the 2021 National Lottery Awards.

Mariama Sanneh, National Lottery Young Hero

The National Lottery Awards celebrate the inspirational people and organisations across the UK who have done extraordinary things with National Lottery funding. More than 1,500 nominations were received in this year’s campaign and a judging panel selected Mariama as a winner for her brilliant work using creative media to address issues like sexism and racism.

Mariama is a junior trustee of Bristol-based charity Integrate UK, a youth-led organisation that empowers young people to take an active role in transforming society.

Her role with Integrate UK has seen her contribute to several creative projects, including the films Vitriol, Hijabs and Miniskirts, and the song and music video for Stand in Pride. She also sits on the With and For Girls task group and works with activists internationally to help meet the needs of young women across the world.

As if that's not enough, the extraordinary Year 10 student is making use of her expertise at school too, where she is the lead representative on its youth-led Equalities Council. She’s also working to co-deliver training for her teachers on issues around gender and racial inequality.

But despite her busy schedule, Mariama still finds the time to mentor younger students to help them make the most of their time at school. All this year’s winners, including Mariama, received a £3,000 cash prize for their organisation, along with an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy.

Mariama said: “This National Lottery Award is a real testament to the extraordinary work that Integrate UK does and it feels amazing to receive this recognition.

“I’m so proud of everything I’ve done with Integrate UK, and I hope this award will empower more young people to take an active role in making the world a better place.

“It's thanks to funding from the National Lottery, we can keep carrying out this vital work.”

Jonathan Tuchner, from The National Lottery Awards, added: “The past 18 months have been tough for all of us, so it’s truly inspiring that people like Mariama are still putting in the time to make a positive difference in their communities.

“She’s done some brilliant work tackling incredibly important issues with Integrate UK, so she’s an incredibly worthy winner.”

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