Dedicated helper of the homeless Saniya Sleyyum wins civic award nomination
A young woman who turned her life around from living on the streets to working with the disadvantaged has been nominated for a Merton Civic Award.
Saniya Sleyyum, 26, is in a unique position helping the homeless through her work at Wimbledon YMCA after spending a period in her youth living in shelters across south London.
She said: “I had been living on the couch of my friend for a long time unable to have any sort of income. At that time I was studying at college.
“I could not stay in the house of my friend for long and, therefore, through a homeless person in Brixton I got in touch with Southwark Council.
“From there, I had many different temporary arrangements, but it was thanks to the services of YMCA that I finally had the chance to settle and dedicate myself to a cause.”
Amanda McWilliams, a support worker at the YMCA, singled out Miss Sleyyum because of the specific work she carried out with residents.
She said: “One young person she supported was Samantha, who had been living at the YMCA for some time.
“Saniya worked intensively with Sam and supported her through a Prince’s Trust programme. She identified a passion of Sam’s, cooking, and encouraged her to apply for the Jamie Oliver 15
apprentice programme, and she was
“Saniya has been a huge asset to the staff and residents of the YMCA.”
Saniya was nominated for the volunteer category because, although she works part-time in the Surbiton branch, she continues to volunteer in Wimbledon.