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University Scholarship winner Alicia Platt holds a child while visiting a village in Uganda.Scout Leader Alicia Platt has been awarded an Edge Hill University Scholarship for helping to build a school library in Uganda and setting up much-needed scouting groups across Blackpool and Lancashire.

The Sociology and Politics student praised Edge Hill for recognising her hard work with a £2,000 award which she is using to support her scouting.

Alicia said: “I’ve been involved with the Scouts since I was five and have always loved it. You learn so much and get to go on so many amazing trips. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them and that’s why I want to give back and give young people the same opportunities I’ve had.”

“I was really proud to get the scholarship. Not many people understand the work that goes into scouting and it was lovely to get that recognition from Edge Hill, it felt like a reward for everyone who puts all the work in.”

Alicia first travelled to a village in Uganda in 2019 as part of her Scouts of World Challenge Award, which gives scouts the chance to undertake a project within the themes of ‘Peace, Environment and Sustainability’. She raised £7,000 and used it help build a library for the village’s school.

“After visiting Uganda, I just couldn’t stop thinking about the lack of educational opportunities the people there had and wanted to do everything I could to improve the school I was working with. I immediately set about raising more funds for them and now the school has a working library with hundreds of books to read, desks to work on and computer equipment.”

All of Alicia’s volunteering is fuelled by her passion to end inequality, minimise the effects of poverty and give back to a world which she has seen as being very fortunate to her.

At home in Blackpool, Alicia also helped set up a Beaver Colony, Cub Pack and Scout Troop at the school where she works. She worked with the headteacher to invest in scouting activities and increased the uptake from seven pupils to 70 participants – with a long waiting list.

“I got so much out of scouting when I was younger that I now feel it’s my turn to give back. By setting up groups in Blackpool, we’ve been able to give the children there unique opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t have had. There are now hundreds of scouts in the area and some of the older children have moved on to doing their Duke of Edinburgh Award.”

In recognition of her amazing work, Alicia was appointed to the County Executive Committee for West Lancashire Scouts and is also a UK-wide mentor for the Scouts of the World Award, through which she helps people come up with ideas to improve their communities and fundraise to do so.

Alicia’s enthusiasm has inspired everyone she has shared her experiences with to appreciate their own education at Edge Hill, even encouraging Edge Hill students to go to Malawi in 2021 to complete their own Scouts of the World Awards to help build an education centre.

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