A YOUNG Fife woman who has overcome hardship to become a much-valued volunteer and supporter of lone parents is to be mentored by the First Minister.

Charlotte Liddell, 20, from Buckhaven was yesterday unveiled as the winner of the “First Mentor” competition, and will have meetings with Nicola Sturgeon across the next year. The first will be next week.

The FM is expected to give advice and encouragement during the year to Charlotte, who was chosen out of more than 200 nominees.

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The initiative is designed to highlight the importance of women in leadership roles mentoring young women.

The announcement was made at Fife Gingerbread in Leven, where 20-year-old Charlotte volunteers, and Sturgeon emphasised the importance of more Scottish women leaders taking on mentoring roles.

She said: “I once again call on leaders throughout Scotland to consider taking on a mentee – the next generation of female leaders is here and it is the duty of women of my generation to do what we can to help them on their way.”

Charlotte is originally from Kirkcaldy and went to school in Methil.

She was a young carer for a relative at the age of 12 and left school at 14. She has two children and has been volunteering with Fife Gingerbread, which supports and empowers lone parents and vulnerable and disadvantaged families, for the past three years.

Her work with Gingerbread includes buddying with young parents, events management, administration and working more widely with families. A strong advocate for young parents, Charlotte was an active participant in the Scottish Government’s social security consultation, was named Young Parent of the Year in 2016 by Fife Gingerbread, and won the Young Volunteer of the Year Award in 2017.

The First Minister added: “Charlotte immediately struck me as someone with the passion and determination to make a difference to her community and to young people – especially for those who face tough challenges.

“Charlotte is a really impressive young woman who has already achieved so much and I hope the mentoring experience over the next year will be of real benefit to her and help her achieve her ambitions for the future. I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with Charlotte – but I have no doubt that I will also learn a lot from her.

“The number and quality of applications to be my mentee was exceptional and narrowing it down to just one was a really tough decision. There are clearly a lot of very talented young women out there with much to offer.”

Charlotte enjoys writing and says she likes helping her community by ensuring young people’s voices are heard. She said: “I want to inspire others just as the First Minister inspired me. I want people to know that no matter what happens in your life, you can still succeed.

“Too often, young people are told they’ll never amount to anything – especially young parents. By being chosen for this mentorship, I hope I’ll help other young people to believe in themselves – especially those whose voices are not heard.”

The competition was run in conjunction with Young Scot. Louise Macdonald, chief executive of Young Scot, said: “Charlotte is an amazing young woman; she wants to change the world. We’ve all been so inspired by her.”

Rhona Cunningham, CEO of Fife Gingerbread, said: “Charlotte is such an inspiration, and we are delighted that she has been given this much-deserved opportunity ... It really is a privilege to have her volunteer for us, and we know Charlotte will go on to be whatever she wants to be in life.”