Rainham girl one of youngest to get OBE

A 21-year-old volunteer and campaigner from Rainham has been made an MBE for campaigning to improve the lives of young people.

Robyn Keeble, 20, from Hubert Road, who grew up in care from the age of seven, spent six years developing and leading volunteering and campaigning initiatives at Dagenham-based organisation Lifeline, aimed at helping disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.

She has been honoured for her community activism and youth empowerment work.

She said: “I did a little dance in the street when I found out. I didn’t expect it at all but was very excited.”

Robyn, originally from Barking and Dagenham, was taken into care after her mother became addicted to drugs.

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After missing a year of school and being bullied the teenager was put in touch with LifeLine, who offered support and friendship.

She was inspired by this support and set up monthly events for young people to access LifeLine’s services.

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The following year she set up the LifeLine Youth Consultancy, which sees young people offer practitioners tips on how best to empower youngsters.

Robyn said: “When I was in care I wasn’t in a great place and felt the support from social workers, for example, was not always good.

“Through the Youth Consultancy young people suggest changes to improve the way they are treated.”

The politics degree graduate has so far met with more than 1,5000 professionals.

More recently Robyn set up the award-winning SW!TCH ID campaigning group that finds ways to show young people in a positive light by holding events such as flash-mob litter picking.

She has also been on the Barking and Dagenham Youth Forum, mentored young people and volunteered in Sierra Leone.

Robyn said helping improve the lives of young people was important to her: “Things were very difficult for me growing up and I don’t want others to go through the same thing,” she said.

“If there’s a way I can help better their lives then I can’t sit back and do nothing.”

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