At the annual Cornwall Celebrates Volunteering awards, a student who selflessly donates his time to Carefree Cornwall walked away with the “Young Volunteer” award.

Thomas Swailes, from Saltash, is a Level 3 Military & Protective Services student at Duchy College who spends his spare time volunteering with Carefree Cornwall, a charity that works with young people, ages 11-25, who are in and leaving care.

Its aim is to give young people in and leaving care the chance to do things for themselves and others.

Thomas first encountered Carefree as a young adult himself gaining lots of different awards and skills needed to help other young people.

He is now a peer mentor with them and is also on the council board making a difference for people in care.

Unbeknownst to Thomas, one of the youth workers nominated him for the award and he only found out when he received a letter saying he had been shortlisted.

“I was honoured and very shocked to have won the award,” Thomas explained.

“It was very humbling to think that the selection board had chosen me out of all the young volunteers in Cornwall I didn’t really think that the things I do makes that much difference.

“Like all volunteers I didn’t expect anything for doing it, I just wanted to help give children and young people in care a better experience of their time and break the stigmatism of being in care.”

Team Lead for Military & Protective Services at Duchy College, Neil Harris, said the team are “extremely proud” of Tom on winning his award.

“It is a great achievement for him and great to see him being recognised for the work he does with Carefree Cornwall and he is a credit to the course and the college,” he added.

Thomas said he was very close to joining the Army and has passed Selection.

“I am just waiting for a basic training date,” he continued.

“The volunteering has made me more confident, being able to express myself and stand up in front of people was especially helpful during selection.”

The award Thomas won was sponsored by Cornwall College and presented to him by the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, Col Edward Bolitho OBE.

For more information on the range of military & protective services courses available across The Cornwall College Group visit www.duchy.ac.uk or call 0330 123 2523.