December 8 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Young people who are an inspiration to us all are set to be honoured at a special awards ceremony later this year – but people need to get their nominations in quickly as the deadline for entries is looming.
Over the last five years the Bernard Matthews Youth Awards, in association with the Eastern Daily Press, have highlighted and rewarded many deserving young people from Norfolk and Suffolk, with the award categories including everything from bravery to community to charity.
Each award comes with a £1,000 prize to help the winner further their dreams and ambitions, and the deadline for 2013 awards entries is this Friday.
Among last year’s award winners was 16-year-old Keata Wilby, from Great Yarmouth, who was presented with the 2012 charity award for helping to set up and fundraise for the Leah Wilby Foundation in memory of her sister who died, aged 15, after a seven-year battle with cancer.
The foundation has a caravan at Haven Seashore, holiday park in Yarmouth, for children with cancer and their families to enjoy much-needed short breaks or weeks away, and Keata helps to look after the caravan.
Keata said she felt proud to win the youth award and also pleased for the charity which she said was inspired by how her sister loved holidays. Keata said the foundation was looking to upgrade its caravan and her £1,000 prize would be used to help decorate the new caravan.
“We had our first family come to stay in our caravan in June 2012 and last year we were all booked up. This year we are all booked up too,” said Keata.
“We are looking to upgrade to a better caravan and the money will be spent on decorations and bedding and other things to make the caravan more comfortable.”
Keata encouraged more people to enter or nominate someone for the awards, which she said were “brilliant for how they are helping people across Norfolk and Suffolk”.
Chantelle Alexander, from Sprowston, won the 2012 community support award for her work to help make sure young people have a voice and her work to set up a permanent youth group with the Sprowston Youth Engagement Project.
Chantelle, 17, said: “The money we won has meant we could buy some much-needed equipment for the group who meet up every Tuesday.
“There are between 10 and 15 people so we bought giant bean bag seats and some Wii games so we could make the environment more user- friendly for our group.
“We have now been able to hold weekly drop-in sessions with companies that have been giving us talks – for example last week the Matthew Project came in to talk about drugs and alcohol – so having a nice environment to sit and discuss things in is important.”
The 2012 EDP food champion prize went to the Holt-based Roots and Shoots Growing for the Future Project involving students from Taverham High and Sheringham High.
The project teaches students how to grow, prepare and cook their own produce within a real working environment, and at the time of the awards students had created a kitchen garden to grow organic vegetables, fruit and herbs to be used in the Hunny Bell Inn at Hunworth.
Money from the youth awards has bought gardening equipment which has enabled students to gain their Level 1 awards in horticulture and to work on organic gardening courses.
Another worthy winner from 2012 was Thetford Cycling Forward, a group of volunteers led by Joshua Murad, which won the environment award.
By the time of last year’s awards the group had recycled more than 300 bikes and repaired hundreds more.
As a result bicycles which would have gone to waste, have been given to families without bicycles who are referred to the group by support agencies.
This year the Bernard Matthews Youth Awards’ categories include food, farming, sport, community, charity, arts, bravery and education, with each offering a £1,000 prize.
There will also be an overall Bernard Matthews Young Person of the Year Award, and a “hero” award to give young people a chance to recognise an adult who has done a great deal to support and inspire them.
Young people aged 11 to 18 from Norfolk or Suffolk can enter or be nominated. The closing date is this Friday. Shortlisted entrants will be invited to an awards evening at Open in Norwich in October.
For more on how to enter, or to nominate someone, visit www.bmyouthawards.com or call 01603 706566. Follow @BMYouthAwards on Twitter.