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Leapers community founder awarded Freelancer of the Year for work on mental health.

Matthew Knight awarded Freelancer of the Year for Leapers' work supporting the mental health of the self-employed.

Leapers founder Matthew Knight has been awarded Freelancer of the Year in the YunoJuno 2020 Freelancer Awards - for his work supporting the mental health of freelancers and the self-employed during 2020.

This year's awards have focused very much on Kindness, and the list of nominees has exclusively highlighted positive projects and work from the freelance community which aimed to help others - such as the #WeAreLtd movement from Matt Keen, Hashmukh Kerai's mental health app, or Mike Oughton's PPE illustrations, co-founder of YunoJuno Shib Mathew explains why.

"We couldn’t ignore the incredible turbulence that COVID-19 has brought on so many people across the world, so when thinking about the freelancer awards this year, I thought it was a moment to rethink who we celebrate, freelancers who have done something to help their fellow humans."

Whilst the Leapers project started in 2017, this year has unsurprisingly seen a huge number of people turning to the community project to support - whether on topics of working from home, dealing with isolation, uncertainty around work and income, or just looking for others to connect to. With a core membership of over 5000 people, the group has continued to grow over the past twelve months, despite the project only being something Knight undertakes in his spare time - around working as a freelance strategist.

"I was honestly speechless and overwhelmed with gratitude for not only being recognised by the YunoJuno team, but also votes from the community, alongside a list of so many amazing projects and people leading them. I can't accept this as an individual, it has to go to all of the members of Leapers Co. who are providing daily support for each other - a remarkable group of folk who are there for each other - a team for people without a team." says Knight.

Awarded just before the Christmas break, the award coincides with Leapers calling upon businesses to ensure they are reviewing and paying any outstanding invoices for their freelancers before the holidays - just one of the many ways which the group aims to improve how freelancers work, and how organisations work with freelancers, all towards its mission of more supportive and sustainable modern work.

"This year has been incredibly hard for so many people in many different ways." Knight continues to explain. "Even if you're working and have people around you, the mental health impact has been and continues to be huge. Leapers plays a tiny part in trying to support the mental health of the self employed - we do what we can, and next year I want to reach even more of the self employed to encourage making mental health a critical part of their business plan."

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