Scaling new heights
A local police officer has received recognition for her dedication to the community.
Debbie Surridge recently became the 458th winner of the Points of Light award, which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country, after helping her local community to scale new heights by building and running a climbing club.
In 2009, Debbie formed a partnership with Hayling College, Hampshire County Council and volunteers to bring a climbing wall to the local area, running a successful bid for £50,000 from The People’s Millions. The project received 16,000 votes, the third highest number of votes nationally.
As a police officer, Debbie spoke to many young people on the streets of Hayling Island, learning that they had nowhere to go and had little to do in the area. Once she discovered that Hayling College had a derelict climbing wall in their sports hall, she set about raising funds to update the wall 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.
Most recently, she attended a community group and worked with a group of young people to organise fundraising events towards a local play park, including a charity abseil, which raised £6,000. Debbie also worked met with local councillors to secure further funds for the £85,000 park, which is now complete and in use.
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.”