Posted on 14 January 2013
Last November, at an awards ceremony held at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Whitehall, University of Wales alumna Cindy Hunt was named as Public Servant of the Year at the Guardian Public Services Awards 2012.
The Public Servant of the Year Award is intended to honour the contribution of an individual as a member of any team that makes the critical difference between a good service and an outstanding one.
Cindy, who graduated from the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David in 2009 with a BA in Youth and Community Work, has been a youth worker for 14 years, supporting young people in two comprehensive schools in the Gwendraeth Valley.
Bringing a non-judgmental approach to her own work, she spends a lot of her time in the schools, supporting young people who have been referred to her on a one-to-one basis. On top of this, she visits families out of hours, takes young people on informal learning trips and runs a mobile outreach service to meet young people 'on their own turf'.
Speaking about her work and her approach to building a relationship of trust and support with the young people she works with, Cindy said:
“I develop a relationship with them and through that help them to learn about themselves, about others and about society. It's a totally different relationship from the one with a teacher, social worker or health worker. I want them to know that I am always there for them.”
The commitment may be huge, but Cindy says she gets huge satisfaction from helping young people:
“When I'm out and see young people who I used to work with ten years ago with their own children and doing well, that's wonderful. Not everyone is a success story of course, but if I get ten young people and can help two or three of them I feel I've really achieved something. I'm so passionate about this work. No one day is the same - and I don't know how many can say that.”
Having gained her own degree, she is now also a visiting tutor for the University, passing on her own experience to the youth workers of the future.
Although it is never a routine job, it is one that Cindy relishes and she is delighted that, because of the awards, her profession is being recognised. Speaking of winning the award she said:
"We always tend to reflect on the bad things and not the good things. All youth workers in the country do a really good job and I'm chuffed that is being recognised.”
For more information about the Guardian Public Service Awards, please visit their website - www.guardian.co.uk/publicservicesawards