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Bobby scales new heights

458. Debbie Surridge

A police officer from Hampshire has helped her local community scale to new heights by building and running a climbing club.

In 2009 Debbie Surridge formed a partnership with Hayling College, Hampshire County Council and volunteers to bring a climbing wall to the area. They were successful in their bid for £50,000 from The People’s Millions. The project received the third highest number of votes nationally, attracting 16,000 votes.

As a police officer, Debbie spoke to lots of young people on the streets of Hayling Island and discovered that they had nowhere to go and had little to do in the area. After finding out that Hayling College had a derelict climbing wall within their sports hall, she came up with the idea of trying to find funds for obtaining money to update the wall l into a modern climbing facility.

Debbie is also a qualified climbing instructor and trained in her own time so she could teach the young people at the climbing wall at least once a week. She has also inspired a substantial number of people to volunteer for the wall and climbing club.

Most recently she attended a community group and worked with a group of young people in the area to ask what they wanted in the local area. They decided on a play park and fundraised in a number of ways including a charity abseil organised by Debbie that raised £6,000. Debbie worked with local Councillors and further funds were found for an £85,000 play park. The play park is now complete and is being used.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Debbie is a shining example of the difference that people can make in their local communities. Her passion and dedication to create the facilities that young people want has delivered a climbing wall and park for the whole community to enjoy. I am delighted to be able to recognise Debbie as a Point of Light.”

Debbie said:

“I am totally shocked and amazed by this award. I love working with young people. Young people today have so much on their shoulders and if can help them in any way then I am happy. Young people are our future.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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