2013 National finalists
We are thrilled to announce our 2013 vInspired National Awards finalists.
This lineup of inspiring young people and youth workers are in the running to receive the prestigious vInspired National Award. Winners will be announced at our annual ceremony on March 26th, taking place at Camden Roundhouse.
All 18 of our finalists have been nominated to be recognised for their commitment to volunteering and passion for their cause, making them just a few of the most inspiring individuals we've had the pleasure to meet.
Our finalists are:
All Round Commitment to Volunteering
Ryan Jay, 20, Ipswich
Ryan set up Club 4 Teenz at just 14 to give young people his age something to do. He asked the local library for a room to use and now leads a team of fellow young volunteers who provide twice weekly sessions for young people, as well as trips and events and a community cafe. Mostly due to his dedication to this project, anti-social behaviour in Ryan's area has reduced by 40%.
Beth Carty, 18, Chester
Beth's frustration with the treatment of her younger sister, who has ADHD, inspired her to set up her own youth club for other sufferers. She created weekly sessions for young people with ADHD to try new sports and make new friends. The club now has a support group for families of young sufferers.
Rebecca McGuinness, 25, Southfields
Becki began volunteering at 15, helping people with severe disabilities and learning difficulties. She later became a support worker in a youth club for young offenders. Becki was diagnosed with a benign tumour in 2005 at 18, and with bone cancer in 2008 aged 21, so volunteered at a local school to keep her mind off her treatment. Since then she has continued to volunteer with the Prince's Trust, Crimestoppers, ACLT, was a wheelchair dancer performing in the opening of the Paralympic Games and raised £236 for the cancer charity Sarcoma UK. In 2013 Becki is volunteering with Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospital in the Cancer Day Unit to support fellow sufferers. Becki will be giving back to Clic Sargent in 2013 by volunteering with their PR department - Clic Sargent is a cancer charity that has helped her in the past when unwell. You can find Becki blogging about her cancer experience at copingwiththebigc.blogspot.co.uk.
Best Young Volunteer
Amy May Knowles, 16, Cirencester
Amy May is the main carer for her mum, who has three complex illnesses. Despite this, she clocks up countless hours of volunteering in every month and even launched her own charity this year to raise awareness of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. She is also chairman of the Cirencester Youth Town Council, and as well as her school work she volunteers with a group to provide activities for disabled children, and another for young carers.
George Taylor, 12, Northfleet
Since he was eight years old, George has fundraised for the Royal British Legion since hearing the story of a veteran forced to sell his medals to pay for his gas bills. George spoke with his local MP for permission to raise awareness of the problem, and arranges challenges, sells poppies, organises school discos to raise money. He is now youth advisor for his local British Region Branch and recently became Kent Area Officer for the VC Trust.
Yakoob Seedat, 17, Preston
Yakoob dedicates entire Saturday's to volunteering. He coaches children's football in the morning, runs a 'chill zone' for kids in the afternoon and helps at a teenage youth club in the evenings. He has also set up a football league, a cricket league and a Tae Kwondo academy for under-priviliged young people. He represents young people in focus groups and at local Neighbourhood Management Partnership Boards, describing himself as a friend of the community.
Bringing Communities Together
Matthew Chambers, 16, Cleveland
In less than a year, Matthew has made a huge difference to relations between young and older people in his area through work with the Cleveland Police and Crime Youth forum. Over the past six months he has connected with young people about crime as well as planning and hosting events for young people to meet local Police Commisioner candidates.
Jessica Purchase, 18, Wolverhampton
Regularly in trouble with police and excluded from school, Jessica was heading towards a life with no qualifications and no career aspirations. However, with the help of positive activities and reinforcement, Jessica turned herself around after joining the Wolves KICKZ programme. Jess quickly changed her attitude towards life, school and the police, and achieved 14 GCSEs. Her commitment and newfound passion for football coaching led to the chance of volunteering with Wolves KICKZ, and has since set up her own football project 'Mini-Kickz' for 7-11 year olds. Over 200 children have registered on the project, and Jessica has contributed over 1000 volunteering hours - plus won numerous coaching qualifications - over the last two years.
Eliza Rebeiro, 19, Croydon
Eliza was 13 when she was excluded from mainstream education and lost faith in her community. Following the stabbing of several friends at 14 years old, she realised this was not the life she wanted for herself or the young people around her, so set up Lives Not Knives. The project aims to prevent gang related violence in Croydon by running road shows in over 60 primary and secondary schools. The project has now expanded into the neighbouring borough of Bromley. She manages 20 mentors who are trained in listening skills, confronting conflict, sexual awareness, mentoring and befriending.
Most Outstanding NCS Team
NCS Tredworth (Team 1), Gloucestershire
This hugely diverse team developed a strong bond and learned to work together to organise the Tredworth Festival of Play for a run-down area of their community. the team revamped a disused community centre and found funding to provide food and entertainment. More than 150 families attended, and most of the group are still volunteering together.
The Padgate Team, Warrington
Following the tragic murder of a local man that had created huge community divisions, the Padgate team united locals in a good cause. They created a community fun day, asking for donations of food or clothes instead of an entrance fee. More than 130 people donated items for the shelter.
The Portsmouth NCS team were moved by a visit to Enable Ability's Summer Play Scheme. they realised that they hardly saw people with disabilities out and about in town, and decided to help increase awareness and understanding of disabilities. The team organised an epic 186 mile wheelchair half-marathon and, despite wind and rain, the whole team completed the task. Three quarters of the team have continued to volunteer since.
Outstanding Contribution By A Youth Worker
Linda Markey, 64, Fylde
During Linda's 30 year career in youth work, she has helped thousands of young people reach their potential through volunteering. Volunteering with young people helped her to overcome her divorce and, realising it was her perfect career, went to uni aged 50 and set up her own volunteering project, Fylde Coast Be Involved Youth Volunteering Project.
Fiona Tomlinson, 51, Harrogate
During her four year career as a Young Persons Volunteer Coordinator for Harrogate Hospital, Fiona has inspired 400 young people to volunteer there. She has been particularly commited to encouraging young people from less priviliges parts of the community, helping many young v0lunteers to find paid jobs in the NHS
Daniel Fry, 28, Vauxhall
Daniel works with the Sparks Project to inspire young, black men to share sexual health and welfare information with their communities. He was introduced to the scheme through his former job in journalism and was shocked to discover that STI and HIV rates among black when were double that of white men. he now works with volunteers who reach out to the young men on club nights and within the community, helping them raise awareness of sexual health, stigma, racism and family problems.
YoungStars comprises of two young men, Tahmid hussain and Voltaire Taiwo, who created the project to bring peace back to the streets of their community by encouraging friendship whilst challenging the status of violence and crime. Both use their understanding of knife crime and the community to raise awareness through their Peace Pledge, which now has 5000 signatures. Voltaire was presented with the Dalai Lama's youth and peace award this year.
Shawe Thing, Wythenshawe
Shawe Thing is the District Youth Panel for Wythenshawe, made up of eight young people aged 16-20 working their way towards improving their neighbourhood. They have worked together to clean up a local park, collect Christmas presents for children at the local hospital, help elderly people keep fit by playing Wii and campaigned against negative perceptions of their community.
Epsom Phab, Epsom
Upon hearing that their youth club was going to be sold by the council, Epsom Phab decided to take a stand. They organised rallies, campaign tshirts and questioned councillors at council meetings all alongside their normal work providing activities and trips for the young people in their community. Their dedication resulted in the council agreeing to provide a new centre for the club.