2 MIN READ
Date Posted: 25 October 2017
It always amazes me how our small team and 100s of volunteers pull together across the UK to raise awareness, money and support for the young people that benefit from our programmes, and this year was no different. We had multiple bake sales, challenges (most notably the Birmingham star climb), youth-led events and workshops – but there were two things that really stood out for me that made this year super special:
- Our inaugural Young People Awards in the South and North, and
- The launch of our Young Women’s Network in London and Manchester.
Young People Awards
Internally known as the “Imagine What You Can Do Now Awards” (courtesy of our chair Patrick Dunne), our very first Young People Awards was a fabulous milestone just three years into our existence.
We had a super collection of employers from a diverse range of sectors cheering on all nominees, a wonderfully talented group of young people from our programmes across the years, and, of course, our very loyal and generous volunteers who have got behind us to champion our cause and sign themselves up to any challenge we would throw at them.
Here’re just a few of our winners: the Big Lottery Fund (Employer Partner of the Year), Jack Bowles (Volunteer of the Year), Milly from the Reading Smart FuturesL 2016 programme and Fatima from the Our Future programme (Young Progress Maker of the Year), and Shahid (Young Person of the Year).
But for me, the real highlight was the three young people from our 2017 Smart Futures and Our Future programme – Samson, Prabjhot and Aadila – all under 18, who embraced the stage and hosted the evening with such style, grace and honesty – it made a refreshing change to have an event led by young people, for young people – and what an inspiration they are. I think I speak on behalf of all of the attendees who were wowed by their presence and their personal journeys – I’m pretty sure most of us were thinking that our 18-year old self would never have been able to pull that off in quite the same way!
Young Women’s Network
To end Young People Week we launched our Young Women’s Network in London and Manchester.
Our aim was to introduce our young women aged 14+ to positive female role models with a can-do attitude, and stories of courage and resilience. And hats off to the team who pulled together a pretty epic line-up of speakers in both locations, which included Brenda Trenowden (Global Chair of the 30% Club), Nafissa Bakkar (Co-Founder & CEO of Amaliah), Olivia Carnegie-Brown (Rio Olympic silver medallist), Manjit Gill (Founder & CEO of Binti), Sharon Amesu (Barrister turned Professional Speaker and Leadership Coach), and Nicole Bremmer (Property Developer) – to name just a few! What a powerful and inspirational group of women who absolutely blew the minds of both our young participants and us “old timers”.
Our long term ambition for the network is to bring together our young women to help them grow their confidence, motivation and belief in a safe environment, and to talk openly about the issues they face as they transition into the world of work – whether it be parental pressures, exam overload, university fees or apprenticeship debunking. It certainly felt like the launch set the scene for this, and we very much look forward to running more events for our young women in the coming year.
Nil Neale, Head of Young People Services, EY Foundation