Young people were the focus of a special award ceremony at Rutland County Council last week (Wednesday 29 March), celebrating outstanding achievement and services to the local community.
The annual Young People’s Awards are hosted by Rutland Youth Council (RYC) and aim to recognise and reward individual achievements among children and young people across the County. Both His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Rutland, Dr Sarah Furness and the High Sheriff of Rutland, Geraldine Feehally, attended the event to help recognise all that were nominated.
A total of 20 young people were shortlisted for this year’s awards from across the county. The winners and runners up for each of the five award categories were:
Benefitting the Community
A young person that has worked to make a difference to their local community and raise awareness of the positive contribution a young person can make to society.
Winner - Annabella Iden
Annabella has overcome some personal challenges which have led her to undertake a role as a young carer. Through this role she advocates within her school about the impact of being a young carer and shows a level of confidence and maturity to support her peers. Anabella works hard to raise the profile of young people within the community through the Youth Council, actively promoting their campaigns and encouraging others to attend. Annabella goes above and beyond to support others, often taking in extra ingredients for food tech as she knows some others do not have the same access to these as her and she does not want anyone to miss out.
Runner Up -Jessie Spry-Shute
At just 17 years old, Jessie gives up her time to support children and young people with additional needs or a disability and young carers. Jessie is amazing at encouraging them to take part in activities, listening to them when they are upset or have an issue they want to talk about, getting involved in any games or sports they are playing, being an absolute incredible support to staff she works with and just generally being an incredible young person. Jessie is very hard working when supporting the groups. These groups are a huge benefit to the community as they give vulnerable children and young people an opportunity to take part in groups that let them know they are not alone and share their experiences with others whilst meeting new friends.
A young person who has worked through a major challenge, such as overcoming personal barriers or making a stand against bullying.
Winner - Polly Watchorn
Polly has battled with an eating disorder since primary school. At its worst this resulted in a hospital admission meaning that she missed a year of education. Despite this Polly has worked incredibly hard to battle her disease and achieve academically often working upwards of 7 hours a day on her studies. Polly uses her experience to spread awareness, supports others in her school and has established a peer mentoring scheme.
Runner Up - Kim Day
Kim has overcome significant personal barriers, she has had some huge obstacles o overcome and by battling these difficulties she has now come out stronger. These had the potential to limit her prospects but instead she has worked hard to overcome these, showing great strength of character and resilience and has aspirations for her future.
Young People’s Champion
A young person always considering the needs of other young people and placing their needs before their own. Promoting others and working selflessly to help their peers overcome their own challenges.
Winner - Charlie
Charlie overcomes all obstacles and manages to contribute towards making the world a better place by helping others. Charlie raises awareness of chronic kidney disease through education events locally and nationally. He has used his illness to benefit others and in doing so has become a young person’s advocate, giving children a voice and greater understanding of this illness. In his words “organ donation is not about me, it’s about the other 204 children currently awaiting a transplant”.
Runner Up - Annabella Iden
In Annabella’s role as a Young Carer and member of the Youth Council she actively seeks to raise the profile of her peers and share awareness of their work in the community. Annabella has taken part in campaigning work with the Rutland Youth Council to help the community with safe spaces for young and vulnerable people. Annabella was confident in speaking about her role and recruiting others from her class to join the Council, she throws herself into all challenges with enthusiasm.
Disabled Young People’s Champion
For a young person with a disability or an additional need who has supported other young people to be heard and have a voice.
Winner - Alex Brown
Alex is a young person who has been employed to work with the Aiming High service for just over a year now after completing a Supported Internship. Alex is a very supportive young man and will try different ways of supporting children and young people across the numerous groups where he is a volunteer. Alex is excellent at encouraging young people to join in activities and will take part himself to lead by example. He really does make a difference to these young people’s lives and always does it with a smile on his face. Alex has Autism himself so is able to think of different solutions to support young people.
Super Group Award
This award recognises a group that have worked together to benefit the community and considered the needs of others above their own.
Joint winners were selected this year for their continuous work and commitment to represent their communities’ views and voice and to make a difference to young people’s lives, these are Rutland Disabled Youth Forum and Rutland’s Children in Care Council (SUSO).
Rutland Disabled Youth Forum:
This group give up their time, commitment and enthusiasm, to represent the voice of Children and Young People with SEND in Rutland. The group work with and advise various teams at RCC, health services, SENDIASS, schools, colleges and other organisations including national advisory groups to make sure that support and services are working for this group of children and young people.
This group of young people give up their time to meet regularly to discuss important issues about the care system representing the voice of Children and Young People in care to make sure the views of children and young people help to shape the way services are run. The group work with and advise teams at RCC to ensure that all Children who are Looked After have good experiences whilst living in care through various initiatives as well as feeding into national events.
After presenting awards to the winner and runner up in the Benefitting the Community category, Lord-Lieutenant of Rutland Dr Sarah Furness said: “It has been a privilege to hear the incredibly inspiring stories behind each of the young people nominated for an award this year. They should all be immensely proud of their achievements, as we are equally proud of them.”
As part of the Young People’s Awards, Rutland Youth Council, presented details of their work to assembled guests, including parents and professionals who work with young people.
Ashley Smart, Chair of the Rutland Youth Council, said: “It was so nice to be able to host the young people’s awards after a four-year break due to Covid. We have been privileged to hear so many inspiring and heart-warming stories about the young people of Rutland and to be able to celebrate their achievements. A huge congratulations to everyone that was nominated, and special congratulations must go to the winners and runners-ups. The Young People’s award is a great way to showcase and commend the successes of young people and how much of an impact they have on our county. A massive well done to the rest of the Rutland Youth Council for a brilliant night, it couldn’t have happened without you all. A brilliant night that really did highlight the young people in this county and we are all very proud to be a part of it.”
The Rutland Youth Council is a formal decision making and discussions group made up of young people from across Rutland. The main aim of the forum is to discuss issues that affect young people and act on them.