In October 2022, we announced the fantastic teen winners of the ACT Bright Future Prize – ACT's annual competition which empowers and invests in the next generation of community leaders.
Our Community category was won by Kaydi Scottsville from West Lothian in Scotland. Using her own experience of growing up with autism, aged just 14 Kaydi founded her very own charity, Diversified, to help neurodivergent young people and their friends and families. The £10,000 Bright Future Prize was used by Kaydi to give her charity a physical home – and has propelled Diversified to new heights.
Now, Kaydi’s dedication to the young people she – and Diversified – supports has been recognised at a national level at the Scottish Charity Awards.
Last week, Diversified was announced Scottish Charity of the Year 2023. The celebratory awards ceremony in Edinburgh paid tribute to the many causes and individuals that go above and beyond to make a difference to people and communities in Scotland.
In true Kaydi spirit, she matched her beautiful dress with some sparkly converse underneath, as she attended alongside joined by a group of the young people Diversified supports – and all in the same week Kaydi celebrated her 17th birthday!
As one of the youngest autistic charity CEO’s in the entire UK, Kaydi has exemplified determination and resilience from the get go – and the story behind Diversified reflects just that.
Aged 14, Kaydi left when she was unable to get the help she needed. For over three years she was home-schooled by her superhero mum, Nicole, who supported her through the challenges of isolation and placements that didn’t meet Kaydi’s needs. Determined to make a difference, and with the encouragement of her mum, Kaydi decided to make sure other autistic and neurodivergent young people would have a different journey to her own.
Initially, Kaydi sold fidget toys online – sensory toys that offer comfort to people with a range of neurodivergence. From there Kaydi’s passion and impact quickly grew, leading her to create Diversified.
What started out as a platform to sell affordable sensory toys, has now grown to an organisation with online and face-to-face programmes to help teenagers and families to access support, and most recently a day service to help teens who aren’t able to attend school. In fact, Diversified has impacted more than 2,000 families and directly supported more than 160 neurodivergent young people since 2021.
As Kaydi’s story demonstrates, she epitomises the heart of ACT’s Bright Future Prize – with her innate determination to help others and to make the world a better place.
After winning the ACT Bright Future Prize, Kaydi was finally in a position to secure a building in Livingston and transform it into a hub for all the people Diversified benefits to use. The hub, which opened in January, has an activity room for the support programmes Kaydi has established and even a dedicated sensory room – a place of calm and comfort where young people can feel at ease.
Unsurprisingly, in the six months since, Diversified has expanded to offer even more services and support to young people – from a fully subscribed summer camp to support teens over the school holidays, to animal therapy sessions, and workshops to empower and promote autistic young people.
Neurodiversity reflects the range of differences in brain function and behaviour. This variation is common to everyone in the human population – we all think and behave differently.
Being neurodivergent is an umbrella term, which is used to describe people with variation in brain processes and behaviour which is not typical of most people. This includes from autism to dyslexia, Tourette’s and many more.
Everyone has a unique way of thinking, learning and behaving. The need to celebrate, accept and accommodate these differences is increasingly being recognised, but there’s still so much more that can be done to support people that identify as neurodivergent - Kaydi being a prime example of doing just that!
Find out more about Kaydi’s charity by visiting the Diversified website diversified.org.uk
Inspired by Kaydi? The ACT Bright Future Prize will be back! Open to teens aged 13-19 from anywhere in the world The Ardonagh Group has a presence, the Bright Future Prize in a huge opportunity for young people internationally – with a £40,000 prize fund waiting to be invested in bright ideas to make a difference.
In the meantime, visit our Bright Future Prize page to find out more about all four of our 2022 winners and rediscover our 2021 winners, teen-trio – Dawn to the Light.