By Laura Hughes

Published: Liverpool Life newspaper 22/02/17

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For most teenage girls spending time enticed in technology is the norm – but not for this 13-year-old.

Instead, Georgia Johnson spends her free time helping with the community and homeless people across Liverpool.

Her hard work and dedication hasn’t been missed as last week Georgia was awarded with the Good Citizenship Award at the Liverpool John Moores University Roscoe Lecture.

Georgia, who is a Year 9 student at Gateacre High School, spoke to Liverpool Life about her volunteering work: “Me and my family started to help out the homeless because we wanted to help people who needed it, and we wanted to give back to our city. Me and my mum have been setting up areas with food, drinks, toiletries, pet food, blankets and other essentials.”

“Helping the homeless makes me feel happy, knowing that they have had a conversation with somebody and knowing they know they are not alone on the streets makes me feel good.”

Georgia and her family set up a tent and went out to seek people they could help. One particular homeless person’s story really touched Georgia after he told her how he lost everything in a tragic car accident.

She explained: “He told us that he was driving home on Christmas Eve, which was also the day before his daughters second birthday, and that when they had crashed he lost everything, his house, his family, and all his things. He had been homeless for just over a year and he said that he had not only lost everything important in his life but he was losing hope. He had been diagnosed with bipolar that same year and he was really emotional, which really touched my heart.”

So Georgia and her family sought the opportunity and did all they could to support him.

She added: “We bought him some new clothes, stocked him up on food and water and went to check on him throughout the night we met him. We always go back to see him and others and they always remember us.

“It was really sad to listen to his story and get to know how hard his life had been the past year, but he really enjoyed talking to us and getting to know each other. That was the main thing that made me think that they don’t have anybody to speak too, people ignore them day to day, and they are basically invisible on the street.”

Georgia was delighted to hear she had been nominated to receive the Good Citizenship Award from a teacher at her school and was handed the award on stage at The Philharmonic Hall by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Weatherill, Chair of the Roscoe Lecture Series, Professor Sir Jon Murphy and speaker Sir Vince Cable.

Georgia has set her sights on future plans to help out in the community across the city and hopes that others will do the same, she added: “I would like to get the message out to other teenagers and children around my age, please don’t stay on your devices all day long, go outside and help others suffering around you, it is much better to make an act of kindness than staying online constantly.”

John Everard and Jeremy Paxman have been confirmed to take the next two Roscoe Lectures in March at St George’s Hall.