BY TOBY PORTER
A trainee medic who set up a scheme to inspire people with the same aspirations has been chosen to represent the UK as a young people’s leader.
Leanne Armitage, from Southwark, set up Leanne’s Amazing Medics to increase the self-confidence of students from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged backgrounds. She was one of just 60 people aged 18-29 from across the world chosen to be one of 2018’s Queen’s Young Leaders – an award to recognise exceptional people or organisations which are making a difference in improving other citizens’ lives.
She was one of up to 70 Southwark scholars past and present who joined town hall leader Councillor Peter John and cabinet member for schools Cllr Victoria Mills on December 20 to celebrate the six-year-old Southwark Scholarship scheme.
It supports young people who have an excellent academic record of achievement, who have made a positive contribution to their communities and have a combined household income of less that £25,000.
Leanne is studying at St George’s University of London, part of St George’s Hospital, Tooting. She will represent the UK as one of the Queen’s Young Leaders for 2018 after setting up Leanne’s Amazing Medics (LAM) a six-week programme for children designed to increase the self-confidence of students from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged backgrounds.
It introduces students to medics from similar backgrounds and provides them with detailed understanding of what the field of medicine entails. Leanne, who joined the scholarship scheme in September 2014, said of her experience: “Being a Southwark Scholar has been a great blessing for me.
“Not having to worry about the financial burden of studying medicine has meant that rather than getting a part-time job, I have been able to focus my energy on other things. If not for the Southwark Scholarship, I probably wouldn’t have been able to set up LAM.
“I found the idea of going to university daunting, I knew I wanted to go but I did not know whether I would be able to. The Government say that the cost of university should not deter people – but in reality it does.
Especially when you are doing a course like me. I am doing medicine and I am going to be studying for six years – it would have been a horrible debt.”
Another beneficiary is George Imafidon, who joined the scholarship scheme in 2015 and is in his third year at University College London. He co-founded Motivez, an app that helps young people find personal development and networking opportunities according to their interests.
He said: “The scholarship transformed my life and prospects. With my tuition fees covered, I had the
confidence to build a promising technology company, Motivez, and actively improve thousands of lives across the UK.
The Queen’s Young Leaders programme was created by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, in partnership with Comic Relief, The Royal Commonwealth Society and the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Continuing Education, in honour of the Queen’s 60 years of service to the Commonwealth at the time of her Diamond Jubilee.