Anti-bullying teen up for award

AN AUTISTIC teenager who battled years of bullying will go head-to-head with other young people after being nominated for an award.

Rebecca Parkin (17), from South Anston, has been honoured for her continuous work to raise awareness of issues relevant to young people in Rotherham with a nomination in the positive role models for Age category in this year’s National Diversity Awards. 

TV personality and former Big Brother winner Brian Dowling will host the ceremony in Liverpool on Friday.

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Rebecca said: “Words can’t describe how blessed I feel to have been shortlisted. 

“It really is amazing when your work makes a difference to people’s lives.”

Rebecca was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism, aged seven and experienced severe bullying including verbal abuse and physical harassment. 

She moved schools six times before her 14th birthday.

Her experiences inspired her to raise awareness on autism, mental health and bullying among young people.

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Rebecca currently works as a young patron for Ambitious about Autism to ensure that young people over 16 have a voice and receive the help they need. 

She has attended parliamentary campaign launches and events in the House of Lords.

As a Rotherham Youth Councillor, Rebecca spoke at the Suicide Prevention Awareness conference alongside other councillors and continues to raise awareness on mental health issues.

She was recently elected as the first governor aged under 18 of Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust.

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Rebecca added: “I dedicate most, if not all of my time to ensuring that people know that they aren’t alone in any problems they are dealing with. 

“While reading through all the endorsements and comments made, it’s so heartwarming to see how much your work has impacted so many lives. 

“I can’t wait to meet all the other people shortlisted in Liverpool and celebrate all the incredibly hard work that everyone has made to campaigning for equality and celebrating diversity. 

“I just want to say a massive thank you to my family, Healthwatch Rotherham and all the other organisations who have built up my confidence and believed in me, no matter what.”