Wednesday, 7th November, saw the fourth, annual Services For Young People Youth Achievement Award ceremony come to town. The town being Aberdare, the venue being The Coliseum Theatre.
The ceremony is an especially big event in the Rhondda Cynon Taff calendar as it is a celebration of the achievements of young people and youth workers throughout Rhondda Cynon Taff, and ensures that all the hard work put in throughout the year gets the recognition and praise that’s deserved. Over 500 people attended the ceremony, which was Winter-Wonderland themed, and the comperes for the evening were the grouchy Ice-King and the sweetly-spoken Ice-Queen. Amongst the audience were Councillor Eudine Hanagan, Doctor Howard Williamson (CBE and Professor of European Youth Policy), Jenna Claridge (RCT Youth Mayor), Ryan Heeger (editor of ClicOnline) and Louise Cook (Head of Services for Young People).
There were 11 award categories and a presentation of Level 2 and Level 3 Youth and Community Work certificates for youth workers and volunteers who had recently completed their respective levels; and throughout the night there were 7 performances ranging from solo singers to street dancers to rock bands.
The evening began with speeches from Louise Cook and Councillor Hanagan, welcoming everyone to the ceremony and praising the young people of RCT and thanking them for the good work and effort that 2012 has seen from them.
Next up was a performance by Lucie Anne Davies – a singer – who ushered in the evening with a great and nerveless vocal performance, and this then led onto the first award categories of the night: the outstanding contribution to Health and Wellbeing Award, and the outstanding contribution to Sport Award.
The Health and Wellbeing category was won by ‘Raise It’ – which was written, designed and developed by Detached Youth Workers. The project aims to educate and raise awareness of mental health issues and to also promote positive mental health in young people. There is an overall message that this project delivers – it emphasises that there is no problem too big to resolve and that the key is to talk about feelings with a trusted person in order to maintain resilience & positive mental health.
The runners up for the award were: the Anti-Bullying Performance Group and Girls Group. The award was presented by Ruth Treharne, Director of Planning and Performance.
The Sport Award category was won by Hannah Morgan. Hannah’s passion and dedication for hockey has seen her support and encourage young people as a coach and was also recently selected to stand as a hockey patrol at this year’s London Olympics, where she was an ambassador for Wales and the South Wales Valleys.
The runners up were Chris Griffiths and Emily Pearce. The award was presented by Gordon Clark, Senior Regional Officer for RCT.
After these awards, we were treated to a duet from Kayleigh and Amy, two singers, who were accompanied by Tanya Walker-Brown. Their performance belied their young ages and it was easy to see that singing in front of over 500 people meant a great deal to them.
Then, the next award category was announced: the outstanding contribution to Music Award.
The Music Award was won by Joshua Jones. Joshua is an ideal mentor, standing as a key member of this years Britain’s Got Talent Finalists in Only Boys Aloud, and he is able to pass on so much experience and expertise. He has also recently achieved an A grade in his music GCSE, and has also been selected to attend Only Boys Aloud Academy – who perform regularly on TV and radio. Josh also finds time to be the lead singer of an acoustic band and also supports other bands as a singer and guitarist.
The runners up were Thomas Morgan, and the e3+ DJ’s (Jake Street, Keelan Murphy, Jenna Jones and Lewis Gardner). The award was presented by Rhys Benardo and Damon Miles, members of the band Reaper In Sicily.
The next award was the outstanding contribution to Media Award, which was won by Mark Bees. Mark has an unprecedented drive to succeed in a career in new media with an exceptionally strong passion for photography – for which he has a natural flair. He is always the first in line to volunteer his time & efforts to taking part & is always keen to learn new skills – as well as pass his own skills on to other young people. Mark’s talent & passion for photography has seen him engage hundreds of people at this years Big Welsh Bite, where he took photos, edited them & saved them on memory sticks for people to take home with them – a lovely keepsake.
The runners up for the award, presented by Ryan Heeger, were Nathan Mordecai and Nathan Farrar.
Next up was the outstanding contribution to Performing Arts Award, won by Max Hallett. This young man has shown passion and flair in his love for music and performance. Max recently won the Youth Events Wales singles dance title in 2012 & regularly performs for the public on the streets of Cardiff – a true entertainer.
The runner up was Kieran Pryor and the award was presented by Steve Davis of Spectacle Theatre.
Then, we saw a performance by the effervescent Studio Street Wise, a dance troupe – before a well-deserved break halted proceedings for 20 minutes.
After the break, Organised Chaos – a one-woman dance/circus performance – brought everyone’s attention back to the dry-ice-shrouded stage, where the comperes once again took control after Organised Chaos had finished her performance.
The next award was the outstanding contribution to Centre/Club/Project/Community Award. The winner was Daniel Garland. Daniel has not only worked to improve his own levels of engagement, but has selflessly made efforts to engage and improve levels of participation amongst his peers within his community, resulting in Daniel becoming a fantastic advocate for Detached Youth Work as well as other young people. Daniel’s positive attitude and excellent rapport with other young people, has meant that he has successfully engaged many young people, enabling them to engage, participate, access support and information and more importantly have fun – a true role model and champion for all young people.
The runners up were Lloyd Owen and Amy O’Callaghan. The award was presented by Jenna Claridge (RCT Youth Mayor) and Samuel Akintoye (RCT Deputy Youth Mayor).
Next up was the outstanding contribution to Environment Award, which was won by two groups – one called Green Day: this project saw the eco group bringing environmental issues such as litter, waste, energy, water, transport, healthy lifestyles, school grounds and global citizenship, to the top of the agenda. They did this by holding a ‘Green Day’ in their school, spreading eco messages & giving other young people opportunities to take part in a variety of sustainable activities & raise much needed funds for their school garden.
The other winners were a group made up of Joshua Shakespeare, Kieran Clee and Owen Morgan. This is a story of ‘three remarkable young boys’, who have dedicated all their spare time and energy into transforming a patch of waste land into a home for ducks, chickens and geese. The three boys bought all the needed equipment and tools themselves from their pocket money, working tirelessly to eventually create and provide their community a place to take their children to enjoy and feed the animals and even an opportunity to purchase their very own free range eggs!
The runner up was the School Garden Relocation Project. The award was presented by Nigel Wheeler, Service Director of Street Care.
The next award was the Outstanding Project Award, won by Our Rights project. This project sees a group of 4 young people raising awareness of a subject that they feel extremely passionate about – Young Peoples’ rights. They have created and developed their own resources and had full training to get them ready to deliver awareness sessions on the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
The runners up were The Nurture Drama and Theatre Group and Emotion behind Commotion. The award was presented by Elaine Reynolds, Assistant Head of Mountain Ash Comprehensive School.
The outstanding contribution to Voluntary Youth Work Award was won by Crystal Matthews. Crystal became involved with RCT Services for Young People through a placement from Rathbone Training where she was undertaking a business admin qualification – which she has successfully completed. It was while Crystal was on placement with SFYP, volunteering with wicid.tv, that she quickly identified a passion for supporting young people who were disadvantaged or struggling to take part in activities due to personal barriers. She is a true star with a cheeky personality, liked by young people and staff – a true inspiration to others.
The runners up were Jarrad Facey and Aaron Carpenter. The award was presented by Catrin James, Regional Co-ordinator for Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services.
Penultimately, the outstanding contribution to Paid Youth Work was next, and it was won by Hayley John. Hayley has so many qualities it’s hard to know where to start. Hayley is a kind and caring person, who is continuously looking to see how she can help and support all young people that she comes across. Hayley not only spends all her working time supporting young people, but also goes that ‘extra mile’ by volunteering her free time.
The runners up were Karen Arnold and Carly Jones-Morgan. The award was presented by Doctor Howard Williamson, CBE, and Professor of European Youth Policy.
The final award was the Shining Star Award and it was won by Rhianne Jones. Rhianne is described as a “stunning, confident & charismatic young lady”, but this hasn’t always been the case. First engaging in e3+ as a “shy, introverted and sad” young lady in year 7, Rhianne has overcome massive personal barriers to engage with e3+ activities, but has done so with a smile on her face and a spring in her step. Whilst engaged in e3+ sessions, Rhianne takes a lead role in enthusing and supporting other young people to engage and participate, always offering to help wherever she can – she truly is an inspiration.
The runners up were Kurt Palmer and Shannon Daniels, and the award was presented by Councillor Eudine Hanagan.
The final presentations of the evening were for volunteers and youth workers alike who’d recently completed their Level 2 or Level 3 in Youth and Community Work, followed by a performance from Kelly, Stacey, Kayleigh and Amy – a group of singers, who were once again accompanied by Tanya Walker-Brown. The performance tugged at the heart-strings of many people in the audience, some could even be seen wiping tears away; the girls can be really proud of their performance.
Then, to round the evening off in style, there was a closing speech from Dr Howard Williamson and two performances from the bands Supporters Not Criminals and Wicid.tv’s Battle Of the Bands winners, The Broadcasts. The bands ensured everyone left with an even bigger smile on their face, and both bands definitely left with more fans.
The whole evening did great justice to the young people of RCT who were nominated and was a true testament to the hard work and effort they’ve put into their respective projects in 2012. Some people have even said that the 2012 Youth Achievement Awards were the best yet!
We’re looking forward to the 2013 Youth Achievement Awards already!