From champions of the agricultural world to superb sporting achievers to dedicated community volunteers – the search is now on to find and reward some of Norfolk and Suffolk’s most inspiring young people.

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The Bernard Matthews Youth Awards, in association with the Eastern Daily Press, celebrates the great accomplishments made by young people in our two counties, and entries have now opened for the 2012 competition.

Now in their fourth year, the awards have previously highlighted a huge range of amazing achievers, and now is your chance put yourself forward or nominate someone you know for one of the 2012 awards.

New for this year is the food champion award which is sponsored by the Eastern Daily Press and aims to recognise outstanding achievement to the local food community, perhaps by growing and selling local food or promoting healthy diet.

The other categories are young farmer, sporting achiever, community support, charity, cultural achiever, bravery, environmental, and educational achievement.

The winners of each category will be awarded £1,000 to help them further their dreams and ambitions, and there will also be a special winner of winners award.

Rob Mears, managing director at Bernard Matthews, said: “As a business that has been an integral part of Norfolk and Suffolk life for over 60 years we want to champion those people who bring their passion to our communities.

“This is the fourth year that we have been running the youth awards to celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of the young people in our region and to show our appreciation of their achievements which often go unrecognised.

“In the last three years we have been absolutely amazed with the number and quality of entries we have received and this is our opportunity to reward them with prize money that can make a real difference to the realisation of dreams, goals and ambitions.”

Eastern Daily Press editor Peter Waters said: “We’re thrilled to continue our support of the youth awards as they’re a great way of recognising outstanding contributions from a section of the community who don’t always get a good press.

“Our sponsorship of the new food champion award fits in very much with the EDP’s ethos of trying to increase the public’s understanding of the importance of food and farming to our economy, well-being and environment, and also encourage youngsters to think about the healthy benefits of eating fresh local produce.”

The awards are also supported by Open, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and The Garage.

The EDP will be catching up with all the winners of the 2011 Bernard Matthews Youth Awards over the next few weeks. To see the youth awards stories online as they are published visit www.edp24.co.uk

• How To Enter

All nine awards are open to both individuals and groups, and people can either enter themselves or nominate others.

Entrants must be aged between 11 and 18 and live in either Norfolk or Suffolk. Entries should illustrate the entrant’s achievements and why they are exceptional.

If you are nominating somebody else you must have their permission and, if they are under 18, the permission of their parent or guardian.

You can enter the awards by filling out a form online at www.bmyouthawards.com, uploading a video on the youth awards website, or downloading an application form from the website and sending it to Bernard Matthews Youth Awards, c/o Shorthose Russell Ltd, 12 Meridian Way, Meridian Business Park, Norwich, NR7 0TA.

Video entries must be no bigger than 10MB and no longer than three minutes.

The closing date for entries is July 20, 2012. Shortlisted entrants will be invited to an awards evening on Tuesday, October 30 when the winners will be announced.

For more information about the awards visit www.bmyouthawards.com, follow the awards on Twitter at @BMYouthAwards or call 01603 706566.

• The Award Categories

Food Champion (sponsored by the Eastern Daily Press) – this new award recognises outstanding achievement or contribution to the local food community, for example cooking, growing or selling food or promoting a healthy diet. The winner will need to demonstrate particular achievement, effort or creativity.

Young Farmer – for outstanding contribution to the local agricultural community. Entrants will need to show how they are involved in farming and the farming community, with particular attention given to agricultural achievement, unique or interesting agricultural projects, or the day-to-day delivery of excellence.

Sporting Achiever – for outstanding achievement in sport. The judging will take into account the nature of the achievement, any challenging circumstances and any comparison between their peers’ achievements.

Community Support – for an individual or group who has gone out of their way to contribute to their local community through voluntary work. This might include supporting community activity, through youth groups, working on community projects or developing and supporting local community initiatives via volunteering. Entrants need to show the positive difference they have made to their community.

Charity – for the delivery of an outstanding level of charity work in Norfolk and Suffolk. This may be through a single act, ongoing support, or a series of activities for a range of different charities. Judges will look for the effort, creativity and application put into the charity work.

Cultural Achiever – for outstanding achievement in a cultural field, such as music, art, design, theatre and dance. The overall winner will need to demonstrate the creativity and uniqueness of their achievement.

Bravery – this recognises great strength and courage. This may include either a single act of selfless bravery or personally facing a challenging situation. Judges will look at how entrants have coped with their situation and the impact their bravery has had on their own and other people’s lives.

Environmental – for taking part in or initiating a project that has had a positive environmental impact. Judges are looking for people who have been involved in unique and interesting environmental schemes that have had a significant outcome or who can show a passion and enthusiasm for green issues.

Educational Achievement – for outstanding academic success in relation to personal circumstances. This could include school exams, national qualifications or grades achieved for vocational training. Judges will not just look for the highest grades but also want to see examples of what makes entrants’ achievements outstanding in comparison to their peers or personal circumstances.

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