Tutu lauds Leeds teenager for youth work

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has praised a Leeds teenager for her work providing local youth with an alternative to drink and vandalism.

Naomi Cumming, 15, is one of six people to be awarded by the Archbishop of York Youth Trust when it launches on September 12.

The Trust is being launched jointly by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, and Archbishop Tutu to recognise and encourage the work of young people from mainly deprived areas in northern England whose faith is inspiring them to transform their communities.

Naomi is being awarded in recognition of her work with the Christ Church Armley Youth Project, which she attended from the age of five and became a youth leader with after completing a peer mentoring course.

In a video about the work of Christ Church Armley, Naomi said the youth project offered young people a safe and warm place to go and was an alternative to under-age drinking and vandalism.

She said: “We are really grateful to the Youth Trust for the money that they are giving us. It’s going to change what we’ve got now to something a lot better.”

Archbishop Tutu praised Naomi in a video message released ahead of the awards.

“Naomi, you don’t know just what an encouragement you are,” he said. “I look up to you.

“You are an inspiration to me and many, many others who think that the problems we face are beyond our capacity to resolve.

“Thank you for reigniting our faith.”

The 77-year-old anti-apartheid campaigner will be presented at the trust launch with a Human Rights Award in recognition of his contribution to transforming South African society and his ongoing work for truth and reconciliation.

The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, said: “I want the Trust to send a message out to passionate young people that they can make a positive difference in their local communities. They really can be the change they want to see.”

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