Marsh Award for Outstanding Achievement in Work with Children & Families
This Award recognises an organisation of any type that has made the greatest achievement in work with children and families over the course of a year.
The focus of this Award allows both the Marsh Christian Trust and Barnardo's to recognise other organisations, outside Barnardo's, who have made a significant contribution to the welfare and support of children and families.
The 2015 winner is Tonya Joy Bolton
Tonya is an accomplished writer and actress who has spent 15 years working with vulnerable children, young people, women and families.
Tonya set up the not-for-profit organisation ICU Transformational Arts, which uses the arts to help break destructive cycles. She has run a number of programmes, including ‘Breaking the Silence’, an empowerment programme for girls designed to help prevent children from sexual exploitation and self-harming. She also runs ‘Boys Empowered’, which equips boys to make empowering life choices, whilst promoting positive messages about masculinity and healthy relationships.
Tonya has herself overcome many difficulties. At the age of 15, she found herself homeless and came into contact with a variety of people from all walks of life. At 18, Tonya developed a passion for the arts and began performing locally and soon started seeing her work published. While still living in homeless accommodation, Tonya worked two jobs to finance her first degree. She is an inspirational role model to others and a worthy recipient of this Award.