The Mayor of Walsall presented the Hosts with their awards after project workers read out comments from the team and from some of the young people they had hosted.
The evening had been sponsored by intu Merry Hill, who were represented and spoke about how inspired they had been when hearing about the project. Their generosity meant that the hosts each received a beautifully etched glass award, and they also provided three incredible raffle prizes – 2 £75 gift vouchers and 1 £150 gift voucher.
Mike Wood, MP for Dudley South, was also present for the evening, after having met with a young person and Host from the Open Door Project previously. He rounded off the evening, talking about the compassion, kindness and generosity of the Hosts – who have taken young people into their homes and given them a second chance at the start they deserve.
Rowena Wilding, YMCA Communications and Community Relations Officer, who compered the evening, said: “We are so proud of all of our Open Door Hosts. They give so much of themselves to the young people who stay with them, and it was truly inspiring to hear about all the good they do. We heard about successes and challenges, about perseverance and patience, about kindness and compassion. But the words that will stay with me came from one young person’s message to their host: ‘Thank you for helping me to be the best version of me that I can be.'”
A fantastic night, for a fantastic group of people who deserve to be celebrated. Well done to all involved, and huge thanks to all who attended, and thanks especially to Rachael Taylor, the Mayor of Walsall, intu Merry Hill, and Mike Wood MP.