Our star volunteer Sophie has won Student Volunteer of the Year Award for her support of our homelessness charity.

The 20-year-old journalism undergraduate collected the trophy at the University of Central Lancashire’s Volunteering and Community Leadership Awards 2024 held at the Foster Building, Preston, on Wednesday [24 April], at a ceremony attended by her parents and our Deputy Chief Executive of Emmaus Preston, Karen Wallis.

The second-year student began supporting Emmaus Preston as a social media volunteer in January 2023, gaining increasing attention in the fashion and furniture on sale in the charity’s three shops in the city – growing the Emmaus Preston TikTok following by 563% in the last 12 weeks alone.

Sophie said: “It was such a great night. It was amazing for my parents to be able to meet Karen. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know everyone at Emmaus Preston. What makes the charity so special is that you’re working with the people you are helping and seeing on a day-to-day basis the impact you’re having.

“In the future, I would like to continue working with people who don’t have a voice and help challenge misconceptions about homeless people, particularly given all that’s been said in the media about these people in the Criminal Justice Bill.”

You can read Sophie’s volunteer story here.

As part of her voluntary experience, Sophie successfully submitted the homelessness charity for its own nomination in last year’s UCLan awards, when Emmaus Preston came runner up in Community Team of the Year behind Baby Beat.

Deputy Chief Executive of Emmaus Preston, Karen, said: “We’re incredibly proud to count Sophie as one of our volunteers and we are very grateful for her regular commitment and support. We love watching her TikToks and Instagram reels!

“Over the last 12 months, Sophie has developed great working relationships with people supported here, our companions, and has worked very closely with members of our team on journalism and freelance projects.

“We’re delighted Sophie has won this award and we look forward to celebrating many more milestones together. Congratulations Sophie!”


If you would like to learn more about Emmaus Preston and find out how you can volunteer, you can visit our volunteer roles here.