CAS recently presented three of its awards to recognise the achievements of young people in Suffolk.
The Anne Dunford OBE Award for Youth Participation award was presented to Liquid Youth Club in Bury St. Edmunds. This award is given to a group of young people who have taken a leadership role in a decision making process for the benefit of young people. This can be for a project within a an organisation, a campaign, a new group formed, or any piece of work where young people have actively contributed to improving or developing a service or provision.
12 young people from Liquid Youth Club all aged between 13 and 17 years old, produced a short film entitled Zero Tolerance to help young people address the subject of bullying. The young people worked with Summer Isle Films to make the film. They were involved in every aspect of the work, discussing aspects of mental health which affect young people, choosing the initial topic, coming up with a storyline, scriptwriting, casting, acting, lighting, sound, filming, choosing a location and even helping organise a premiere for their family and friends to showcase their work. The young people worked brilliantly together as a team, supporting and encouraging each other and valuing the contribution of every member of the group. Some of the scenes involved tackling some difficult and emotional subjects and the young people rose to this and showed great professionalism and commitment. The young people hope that the film will be used to highlight the problem of bullying and that it will give young people the confidence and determination to take steps to stop it happening and to speak to someone if they need help and support.
The runners up 2015 for the Anne Dunford OBE Award for Youth Participation were Level 2 Youth Project in Felixstowe.
The young people were involved in making a film on the effects of anti-social behaviour, the importance of participation in community, dispelling the myths between the older generation and the young and promoting the Level Two Youth Project. Around 200 young people had an input into this project with a core team of about 20 who were involved in the making of the film, which evidenced our findings. This team consisted of young people aged between 10 & 19. The project and East Coast Productions used of a 6ft skeleton called “Mr Green” to engage young people in interactive discussion and role play to reduce crime by promoting a better understanding of the dangers of anti-social behaviour and substance misuse. Young people then sought opinions and comments from the wider community to see how they are perceived and the effect these perceptions have on themselves, their futures, and on their families and the wider community. Individuals took responsibility for documenting this work by making their own short film which will be shared with the wider community at various events during 2015.
Youthbase is an inclusive youth club. They welcome all young people from the ages of 9 upwards. They are based in the heart of the community and attract children/young people from all backgrounds. The club strongly believes that young people need encouragement and inspiring, just someone believing in them will really make a difference in their life. Several of the young people have behaviour issues and are struggling at home and school but through the support and the value the team place on them as individuals there has been a real difference in their behaviour. The club does not make any charge for attendance as many of the families come from deprived areas and the club needs to be open to all, whatever their financial situation the young people need somewhere to go. All the team are volunteers and several of them are young people who have attended the club themselves, felt accepted, valued and have never left!
The Andrew Towers award for Young Person of the Year was awarded to Natasha Graves. This is a special award that one young person will receive each year, owing to the generosity of Mr & Mrs Towers and the Monks Eleigh Youth Club. The award is in memory of the late Andrew Towers who was a key member of the Monks Eleigh Youth Club, and it recognises a young person’s contribution to their community. It is for a young person (11-19) who has volunteered their time and skills to make a positive contribution to their club, group, school, project or community.
This years winner, Natasha Graves, is a Member of Youth Parliament for Suffolk and has represented Ipswich since April 2012. Natasha is extremely passionate about improving wellbeing and mental health for young people in Suffolk. Natasha has many achievements including consulting with over 4,000 young people during the UK Youth Parliament annual campaign and setting up and running a community group in Ipswich called ‘Incredible Edible’. The group give up their spare time to plant, grow and nurture fruit and vegetables on areas of ‘waste ground’ for the local residents to pick and eat. They have secured funding and also negotiated deals with the council to use council land for their gardens. Natasha has also been a part of the Suffolk Assembly of Youth since its inception and has spearheaded this project alongside Suffolk County Council. Natasha is committed to ensuring that all young people’s voices are heard and is a fantastic role model to all young people.
Other CAS award winners for 2015:
- Doris Main – The Ian Campbell MBE award for individual initiative
- Beccles Lido Limited – The Colonel Probert award for community initiative
- John Michell – The Outstanding Contribution to Volunteering award
- Seagull Theatre – The Village Hall or Community Building award