Third Sector Awards: Volunteer of the Year – Lin Vong, Ignite Hubs

Awarded to the volunteer who has displayed the greatest commitment and achievement to a charity or voluntary sector organisation over the past year

Volunteer of the Year – Lin Vong, Ignite Hubs

Who is she?

In September 2018, Lin Vong was told that the coding club her seven-year-old daughter was attending at Peckham Library would not continue because the club leader had left. Vong decided to create a new club, despite already leading a busy life as a single parent to two children, working full-time and studying for a postgraduate diploma.

What has she done?

Vong launched the Peckham Coding Club in January 2019, recruiting more volunteers to accommodate the growth in demand. In April 2019 she registered the club as a charity so she could apply for grants to buy laptops.

Noticing that the children found the club enjoyable and really engaged with learning, Vong decided to teach other subjects as well, transforming Peckham Coding Club into Ignite Hubs. She launched five after-school clubs for each day of the week, focusing on STEM, Enterprise, Innovation and Creativity, Coding and Health and Wellbeing.

What else has she achieved?

Vong has grown Ignite Hubs’ team from one volunteer to 80, supporting nearly 100 students a week. She has worked with her team to create curricula and course materials, and is continually coming up with new innovations. The STEM-in-a-Box product range, to be launched this autumn, will enable students to complete projects by joining live sessions or watching videos. Vong is collaborating with universities on the creation of a series of Career Books to encourage children to learn about and discuss careers. Young people will play a key role in the development of the books.

What did the judges say?

“Lin has achieved an incredible amount in such a short time, on a voluntary basis, while juggling many priorities in her life. What an astonishing woman Lin is, and what a brilliant resource she has created.”

Highly commended

  • Tim Kidd OBE, Scouts

Finalists

  • David Black, The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety
  • Matthew Leadbeater, Active Prospects
  • Laura Polley, Anglia Care Trust
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