AN apprentice who funded her own after-school sports activities for youngsters has been put forward for this year’s Young Champions awards.

Evie Edwards, a 17-year-old level three teaching assistant apprentice at Barnsley College, joined Oakhill Primary Academy in Ardsley back in 2022 and quickly developed strong professional relationships with both the staff and pupils.

She was asked to help deliver support sessions, such as Lego therapy, however decided to go further for the pupils in her care.

Utilising her cheerleading training and connections, she planned, funded and co-ordinated her own cheerleading club, supported by fundraising events like sponsored walks and bake sales.

Evie said: “I wanted to set up the after-school club as I thoroughly enjoyed doing sport as a child and the opportunities it gave me, like competing against other schools, so I wanted to give that opportunity to the children at my school.

“Fundraising was quite difficult; the school always supported me and was incredibly helpful in distributing the word of my fundraising activities it was thrilling to see how generous everyone was.

“I lead the after-school sessions and I love seeing the happiness and joy it brings to the children - it’s a relief to see my hard work has paid off.”

Evie was motivated to run the sessions due to her understanding of the importance physical activity can have on a child’s development, health and wellbeing.

“There’s lots of opportunities for children, but some can’t afford after school clubs,” Evie added.

“We’ve got 20 girls doing cheerleading right now, and they’re going to a competition in Manchester in June.

“They love it, they’re in awe really - the never thought they’d have an opportunity like this before.

“I’m just happy that it’s being noticed, it was hard to get it going to begin with.”

Georgina Stevenson, deputy headteacher at Oakhill Primary Academy, added: “Evie has shown initiative and dedication, asking to set up her own after-school club, for which she sourced her own funding; this is above and beyond the expectations of any apprentice.

“As a school, we feel that Evie is an amazing asset, she approaches every situation with professionalism and maturity beyond her years and the children have a wonderful relationship with Evie, which allows them to feel safe in school and able to tackle their days.”