The doers finally get recognition!
By Ruth Lindley, Year 12 at St Thomas More School, Bedford
On Sunday the 16th December 2012, the University of Bedfordshhire hosted the town’s sixth annual Young People of the Year awards or YOPEYs.
I attended with no idea of what to expect and needless to say was blown away by the time and devotion all many young people give to others. Each of the 12 finalists shared their stories with all receiving money prizes, from £50 each for the runners-up to £800 for the Beds Young Person of the Year. Half of their winnings were
Young Person of the Year Hannah Sharman – wins £800 including £400 for Potton Youth Club
When teenager Hannah Sharman felt the need for a youth club in her village of Potton, she did something about it.
She spoke to councils, obtained premises, secured funding and now Potton has a thriving youth club.
Seventeen-year-old Hannah was nominated by Central Bedfordshire Council.
In November last year Hannah began to explore options for a youth club as she felt there was no place in Potton for young people to go to meet friends and
2nd place Winner Andrew Catherall – wins £400 including £200 for Wildlife Trust
Andrew Catherall volunteers on several environment projects, from the gardens of a historic house to his own litter-picking expeditions.
The 16-year-old spends hours each week volunteering – and is applauded as 'one of the most outstanding characters ever seen'.
Andrew has been helping others since he was 11 years old and spends most of his holidays going between different projects.
He was nominated by town councillor Kenneth
3rd place Winner Ben West – wins £200 including £100 for club for people with learning disabilities
A serial volunteer with a form of autism has developed his interpersonal skills through helping others.
Twenty-three-year Ben West has Asperger’s Syndrome and was very shy when he started volunteering six years ago – since then he has given more than 1,000 hours to helping others.
Aragon Housing Association nominated Ben and called him “a star”.
Ben used to bullied in and out of school, both verbally and
Junior Winners Brooke Fisher, Alanah Edwards, Jade Turner and Honor Willans – win £25 each and £100 towards setting up young carers' club at school
Four fantastic children at the same middle school, who are not yet teenagers, are all carers for seriously sick relatives.
All the girls were nominated by Etonbury Academy in Arlesey, and were praised for the fact that their dedication to their disabled mums and brothers has not affected their schoolwork.
The group is the youngest to be nominated for Young People of the Year, since