Rotherham dominate youth awards

Published Monday, 21st January 2019
Rotherham dominate youth awards
Young people from Rotherham are on track to scoop a number of national youth awards.

Young people from Rotherham are on track to scoop a number of national youth awards after dominating the regional heats this weekend.

It was their awareness raising of mental health issues which caught the judges’ eye, including how teenage body image can cause distress, especially due to pressures of social media.

The Youth Voice Star awards, run by the British Youth Council, were held on Saturday in Leeds aimed at celebrating the breadth and diversity of youth work regionally. They also celebrate and recognise the workers and organisations that make it happen as well as projects which do things differently to address local and national issues.

The winners were in the main from Rotherham’s Youth Cabinet, whose recent manifestos have focussed on improving opportunities for youth mental health training, helping to raise awareness and enabling mutual support. They were the overall winner in the Young Campaigners of the Year award while individual members also scooped awards including for their commitment to rolling out Paige’s Project - offering safe spaces for children with eating disorders, mental ill health and invisible, chronic illnesses.

Toni Paxford, who scooped the Regional Diversity Award for her work on Paige’s Project said: "I'm exceptionally proud of all the work we have achieved as project and as a borough, it demonstrates the amazing work going on in our area and I'm glad this got recognised.

“We are committed to making sure we tackle what is pressing for young people here in Rotherham. So far we have campaigned on body image, mental health, open water safety and public transport issues. We will continue to campaign to ensure our young people have a voice and are heard.”

Youth Cabinet member Molly Crossmore also scooped two further awards including the Personal Development Award and for her work as part of the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Steering Group.

And Emilia Ashton, who was very involved in putting together the nominations and films on which it was all judged, also got a special award for commitment to Youth Voice.

Meanwhile Rotherham Council officers were also recognised for their role in helping to promote the voice of young people. This included Regional Youth Voice Worker winner for Sarah Bellamy, who runs the Youth Cabinet. And Ruth Fletcher-Brown from the Public Health team was a joint winner of the Youth Voice Champion award, for her work in promoting mental health services for young people, including with the My Mind Matters website. She shared this award with Tim Taylor from the SYPTE for their work with Rotherham’s Youth Cabinet.

Cllr Gordon Watson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services at Rotherham Council said: “Huge congratulations to all those who have won these awards. What a great start to the year! Our Youth Cabinet are such an asset to us here in Rotherham for their tireless work they do to ensure the voice of our young people is heard and acted upon. This fits entirely with our commitment to being Child Friendly Rotherham and to ensure we give every child the best start in life.

“These awards clearly recognise the numerous successes they have had and their dedication and commitment to improving services for young people. Here’s to them winning further awards nationally later in the year!”

All regional winners from across the country will be invited to the national awards which will be held in London on 8 March, where the final winners will be announced.