A Watford woman has won a top national award in recognition of her work championing the rights of young mothers.

Sophie Kathirgamanathan, 27, was nominated by the charity Young Women’s Trust (YWT) for an Inspiring Communicators Award – an annual awards programme organised by Charity Comms, which celebrates talented and effective communicators working within the UK charity sector.

The married mother of two was one of 12 winners, and was nominated by YWT due to her tireless efforts to improve the lives of young mothers, the unemployed and those who have suffered cultural stereotyping and discrimination, all of which she has directly experienced and used to inform her campaigning work.

"It feels surreal to have won the award. It was a total surprise. But this gave me the confidence that what I was doing was truly making a difference and I was on the right path to give my children a better future than what I had," the Berry Avenue resident said.

Mrs Kathirgamanathan began volunteering with Young Women’s Trust (YWT) early last year when she joined their advisory panel and has quickly become one of its most active, determined members.

Since her involvement with the Trust, she has shared her personal experience of maternity discrimination with corporate partners including Barclays Bank and recently spoke at the Equality and Human Rights Commission about pregnancy/maternity discrimination and suggested innovative ways to reach disengaged young mothers on their rights.

Mrs Kathirgamanathan balances these commitments alongside motherhood, full time work as a clinical trials researcher, studying for a Masters part-time and supporting her family.

She added: "I'm so honoured to have received this award and know that I'm making a difference not only for the current generation but for my children's generation.

"This award will push more to achieve YWT's aims as well as gender equality."

Young Women’s Trust supports and represents over one million women aged 16-30 trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty.

The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don't go to waste.

Lydia Morgan, participation manager at Young Women’s Trust, who nominated Mrs Kathirgamanathan, said: “Sophie is an inspiration to us all. She communicates with the utmost professionalism and is a fantastic advocate for young women.

"What is truly remarkable is that she does all of this whilst working full-time, raising two beautiful children, supporting a loving husband and volunteering. She truly deserves this award.”