Last year, we made a promise that the 2013 annual Inspiration Awards would be the biggest, the best and the most inspirational awards we have ever had to date. We wanted to create an evening with an electrifying atmosphere, fantastic musicians and an air of inspiration. We wanted to celebrate and appreciate the best community organisations and individuals from across the country who selflessly give their time to help others. Did the night deliver all that we promised?
The night began with a short performance from upcoming singer-songwriter Abi Murray, armed only with her voice and a man with a guitar. She wowed the audience with breath-taking acoustic covers of Locked out of Heaven and Picking up the Pieces, followed by one of her own tracks. Abi did an amazing job of setting the night in motion, and we would like to thank her for such an amazing performance.
The second musical performance of the night came from our very own ambassador Raphaella, a very talented upcoming artist with a stunningly angelic voice. She choose to do a number of original songs including the song for our new anti-bullying campaign I Stand For. Raphaellas music boosted the atmosphere in the room as she made sure that ALL members of the audience got involved! Thank you to Raphaella for her fantastic contribution to the evening.
After Abi’s performance, things got down to business. The first Awards of the night came under the ‘Inspire the House’ title- these awards are presented to organisations or individuals who have been nominated by an MP who recognise their achievements in the community.
Winners and Awards:
Challenger troop came to the stage to accept their Highly Commended award for Best Contribution by a Community Group nominated by an MP, dressed in military attire. This group works with young people in Kent between 8-16years to help keep them in school. Many of the mentors have served in the Armed Forces, and use their experiences and strengths to teach the young people self- discipline and responsibility. Challenger Troop were a shining example of how we can use our experiences to improve the lives of others- something every one of us can take away from the evening.
Youth of Loughborough won the Highly Commended award alongside Challenger Troop. This organisation was recently set up in Loughborough because of the lack of opportunities and activities to do in the local area. The group talk to young people to find out what things they like to do, and the things that are needed in the local area. This group are an inspiration to us all, and show that if we are pro-active we can all make a difference to our local communities.
The Winners of the Inspire the House Best Contribution by a Community Group were Beat Abuse, an organisation set-up and run by a group of young people from Speke. They took to the stage and spoke of their inspiration to set up the group after one of their friends was murdered as a result of domestic violence. Deciding that there was a lack of organisations in the local area that dealt with the issue, they came together to use her death as a way to educate and raise awareness. It was truly inspirational to see how these young people turned a terrible tragedy into something that could help others in a similar situation. They campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse by hosting conferences, raising money to produce a leaflet and workshops in schools.
Another award was the Inspire the House Most Inspirational Young Person. The Highly Commended award went to Harry Crowther, the world’s only known sufferer of the genetic Atypical Progeria Syndrome. Harry is ageing 5 times faster than his peers which often makes it difficult for him to carry out the same tasks as those around him. Despite this, he is positive and cheerful and tries to carry on as normal. He is actively involved in raising money for the Progeria Family Circle – which provides help to the sufferers and their families, and regularly goes into care homes and schools to raise awareness of his illness inspiring many of the people he speaks to.
The winner of the award was 18 year old Stephen Sutton, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer after having surgery and chemotherapy. Despite being diagnosed with cancer, he worked hard at school and received excellent grades. Stephen spoke with positivity and enthusiasm, and spoke about his motivation, and passion to pass this on to inspire others to make a difference. Stephen has raised over £75,000 for teenage cancer charities, as you will agree a truly, truly inspirational role-model that we can all learn from.
The winner of Most Inspirational Young Person was Zoe McCarthy, who was a young carer to her father from the age of 11. Whilst attending Worcestershires Young Carers, Zoe was the main carer for her terminally ill father and was left to arrange hospital appointments, medication and his day-to-day care. She has taken part in many fundraising events such as bag packs, and is involved in educating young carers on a national scale. Zoe is a shining example of a young person who puts others before herself, and who uses her own experiences to support others.
KEEN London won Highly Commended for Most Inspirational Community Group. They are the only charity in London that provides free one-to-one sports for youth with special needs. They allow young people to take part in sports that they may not otherwise have the chance to get involved in because of their disabilities. I think you will agree what a fantastic organisation they are.
The Award went to The Acorns Children’s Hospices, a team that has set up youth clubs across the West Midlands usually run by a small number of young people and hospice staff that work with 10-18 year olds who often have no aspirations. The youth are encouraged to develop social networks and to share their experience with their peers.
The Kids Count Darren Campbell Positive Sports Award is an award that we present in conjunction with former Olympic athlete Darren Campbell. This year the award went to Sandwell Leisure Trust, a group aimed at getting young girls to volunteer and take part in sports in the deprived area of Sandwell. The ethos of this organisation is that ‘an area shouldn’t define the people – people define the area’. Run by young female volunteers, they try to instill their positive attitude into others by showing that no matter what your background you can achieve whatever you want.
The winner of the Most Inspirational Mentor was Yak Patel, a mentor who shows an incredible amount of commitment, energy and thirst to create opportunities for young people in Lancaster. He works tirelessly to get young people involved in tennis, raising money for the centre through a number of initiatives.
Highly Commended in the Most Inspirational Campaign was a young girl called Destiny Dalby. She campaigns to raise awareness of the impact that allergies can have on your life, and works hard to campaign to make school life easier for future generations. Again, another example of a young person thinking not of herself, but of others.
The winner of the Most Inspirational Campaign was Jayden Neville-Moore and Jonathan Monger. They live on an estate in one of the most deprived areas in England, where they are involved in campaigning for educational and leisure activities to keep youth off the streets. They want to show young people in that area that they can make a difference. They work alongside the charity, Fixers, which supports 16-25s across the country to change things for the better. Due to their persistence, they have gained funding for a pilot project in their local area.
The final award of the night was the joint Kids Count and RSA award which was awarded to Queens Crescent Community Association. Unfortunately they were unable to be there to receive the award, so a member of our Youth Board received the award on their behalf.
Without these selfless inspirational individuals and those that nominated them, the evening would not have been possible, so the Youth Board would like to extend a huge thank you to you all. We would also like to thank all the guests that came to the event to not only support our charity, but also to show support and appreciation to the winners of the awards. A big thank you to our two musicians Raphaella and Abi, our MCs for the night, the members of staff at the Houses of Commons, the Youth Board for helping the evening to run smoothly and other members of the Kids Count team.
So in answer to the question, YES the night delivered all that it promised. It was full of inspiration, motivation, enthusiasm, passion and selflessness. It was a fabulous celebration of all the good in society, something that is rarely celebrated in everyday life.
We hope to see you next year!