WHEN she joined a Glasgow girls’ climate crisis group, teenager Kodie Stewart knew exactly who should hear what they had to say.

“I asked the Lord Provost, Jacqueline McLaren, in to our school,” she says, matter-of-factly. “I mean, I’d never met the Lord Provost before, but I knew she was important, and I thought she should be involved.”

She adds, with a smile: “And she was really nice, she really listened.”

Glasgow Times: Kodie in Lochend Community High, where she is in fifth year.Kodie in Lochend Community High, where she is in fifth year. (Image: Colin Mearns, Newsquest)

The Lochend Community High pupil adds: “I did a leadership programme in Skye called Columba 1400. I was aware of the climate emergency before I went, of course, but after being there and talking about things we could do I came back to school feeling really strongly that something needs to be done and young people are the ones who need to do it. I came back thinking – let’s get it done, let’s make the change.”

Getting things done is Kodie’s speciality. The last few years have been tough for the 16-year-old from Easterhouse but she has inspired everyone around her with her determination and resilience, and her devotion to her local community.

Glasgow Times: Kodie plays for Glasgow Girls FCKodie plays for Glasgow Girls FC (Image: Kodie Stewart)

She is a finalist in the Young category in the Glasgow Community Champion Awards, run by the Glasgow Times in association with Glasgow City Council, Wheatley Glasgow, Trades House of Glasgow and Merck. The winners of all nine categories will be announced at the City Chambers on December 8.

Vicki Lockhart, deputy head at Lochend, says: “We are tremendously proud of everything Kodie has achieved throughout her time at Lochend. She is a natural leader who motivates younger pupils to be their best selves.

“She is a tenacious and resilient young person who has achieved so much despite significant personal challenges. Kodie is an outstanding person who gives her all to everything she does.”

In addition to taking part in Girls At Cop26, a special conference at Glasgow Caledonian University during the United Nations Climate Conference last November which debated different aspects of the climate emergency with a female twist, Kodie has helped restore sanitary products to the girls’ bathrooms at Lochend Community High School as part of a period dignity project, and she volunteers at a range of local clubs.

“I am quite busy,” she agrees, with a laugh.

Times were particularly tough for the quietly-spoken teenager, her younger siblings and her mum Charlene, after her dad, Robert, was diagnosed with cancer four years ago.

“He was fit and healthy, so he really fought it and he’s okay now,” she says. “But three months later, my gran was diagnosed with cancer and it destroyed me.”

Kodie’s gran, Sadie, died in 2021.

Glasgow Times: Kodie's gran, Sadie, leftKodie's gran, Sadie, left (Image: Kodie Stewart)

“She fought it too, she wasn’t supposed to make it to Christmas, but she fought it for three years,” says the teenager, proudly, with tears in her eyes. “I was so close to my gran, and when she died, it felt like everything was over.

“I didn’t want to go to school even, I didn’t want to do anything, it was so hard. But my school helped me, big time. My headteacher Mr McArthur told me about Columba 1400, and said he thought it would be good for me, but I refused at first. I just couldn’t think about doing anything.”

Kodie adds: “I’m glad I did do it though, as I came back from Skye a better person. I still miss my gran, but my grandad, Danny, is here and he’s a big part of my life.”

Kodie now volunteers at a range of local projects, including helping out on litter-picks with Wellhouse Housing Association, and volunteering at Connect Community Trust.

“I’d been going to the youth club since I was four, and at 10 I became a young helper,” she says. “It’s a great place. When I started my Duke of Edinburgh award at school, I had to do some volunteering and I did it there and I really enjoy it.

“I think it’s important to support your community. My mum grew up in Easterhouse and she has told me what it was like years ago when there were gangs here, and lots of fighting between people from different areas.

“Now, it’s great – people come from all over to Lochend and we all work together. I love that.”

Kodie loves sport, particularly basketball and football, but for her, it’s about more than just her own performance on the court or pitch.

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“I love helping younger people get involved,” she says. “I run a Friday night basketball club, supported by Basketball Scotland, and I’m a winger for Glasgow Girls FC.

“I really love my football. I love it when girls come along. A lot of girls don’t feel comfortable playing in mixed sessions and I get that.”

She grins: “It never bothered me – not meaning to toot my own horn, but I was always better than the boys anyway, to be honest. But I totally understand why it’s difficult.

"I really want to help more girls take part and enjoy sport because it’s really good for you and it gives you lots more than just the skills to do that sport, you get confident and healthy.”

She adds: “Sport is my passion, my escape from reality. When I was grieving and angry, I took up karate, and that helped me.

“When I leave school, I definitely want to work with young people, hopefully as a PE teacher – that’s what I have wanted to do since I was about nine years old.”

Kodie is delighted to have been nominated for a Glasgow Community Champions Award.

“I was pretty shocked,” she says. “But I’m so pleased.

"Easterhouse is always talked about as a deprived community, where young people don’t have a lot, and maybe don’t have opportunities to achieve things."

Kodie pauses. "I would absolutely love to win this award, not just for me but for my school and for my community, and to show people that’s just not true.”