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Child Friendly Leeds champions announced

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The winners of the seventh Child Friendly Leeds awards have been announced in a star-studded ‘Space’ themed ceremony at Leeds City Varieties.

The awards, which are organised, planned and delivered by young people, celebrate some of the people, places and organisations working to make Leeds a child friendly city.

A significant number of nominations were received across the city for inspiring young people, child friendly places, people who go the extra mile and fantastic organisations and community groups, with the winners announced at the special event.

The awards showcased the diverse talent, significant achievements and energy of the city’s children and young people, as well as highlighting and celebrating those people, places and organisations that are dedicated to making Leeds a child friendly city.

The prestigious ceremony was organised by a group of 10 enthusiastic and dedicated young people, ‘Tentastic Productions’. The young people, aged eleven to fifteen, planned every aspect of the ceremony, from the designing the decorations and writing the script, to selecting the young and talented performers who entertained guests on the night. The Tentastics were supported by the City Varieties Learning Team, who have run weekly sessions to support them. The ceremony was attended by an audience of 400 people including the Lord Mayor of Leeds, City Leaders and VIP guests.

Although the ceremony last night was a chance for Child Friendly Leeds to recognise groups and individuals across the city, the project itself recently recieved the Award for Public Service at the National Leadership Forum for its work alongside the council’s City Development team and Child Friendly Leeds ambassadors to make Leeds city centre more child friendly. This award was on show at the Child Friendly Leeds awards last night, giving attendees even more reason to celebrate.

The winners of the Child Friendly Leeds Awards 2020 are:

Child of the Year (Under 11):

Lee Newton: Lee is a dedicated individual who gives up considerable amounts of time to help his school; such as arriving early to help teachers and other children, and working with the superintendent to keep the school safe. He is also part of the school mental health ambassadors’ team, who train to support people who are struggling.

Young Person of the Year (11–21):

Danny Hirst: Danny was born with a hole in his heart. In 2016, he had a mechanical valve fitted. He has fundraised for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund www.chsf.org.uk in many ways such as; organising a ‘Wear Red Day’, taking part in ‘Superhero Walks’, doing a 10-storey building abseil, and persuading his mum to jump out of a plane!

Youth Group:

The Tribe Youth Group: The Tribe offers opportunities to develop skills and confidence through the I am Me project with Beyond Inspired whilst making a positive contribution to the community with projects including BuddyBags, community clean ups, and food collections. They have also encouraged local businesses to give up single-use plastic.

Adult Making a Difference:

Jamie Hutchison: Jamie created Studio12 – creating avenues into work for disadvantaged young people aged 16-30 by providing free access to a production studio and training. Jamie broadened the horizons of young people in Leeds by campaigning to bring Channel4 to the city and producing a bid film that won the hearts of the broadcaster’s bosses.

Communities and Schools Working Together:

Let’s Read: Let’s Read aims to improve learning and achievement for children, increasing their future educational and employment opportunities. Manager Gail oversees a programme of recruitment, training and support for volunteers from businesses and local communities, enabling the project to provide schools with support for children who are falling behind with their reading and literacy skills

Inspiring Creativity Through Arts and Culture:

Wrongsemble: Wrongsemble is a theatre company made up of professional artists and practitioners who specialise in working with and creating work for young people, schools and families. They provide free entry for Refugee and Asylum Seeker Families and place accessibility and diversity at the heart of everything they do.

Best Place in Leeds for Children and Young People:

Little Hiccups: Little Hiccups have provided a place for young people with disabilities and their families to meet and share experiences. Founded by parents who have children with disabilities they recognised the need for such a group from personal experience, the group has grown to provide invaluable support and opportunities to many families across the city.

Overall Contribution to Making Leeds a Child Friendly City:

The Outward Bound Trust: The Outward Bound Trust play an important role in enabling some of the most vulnerable young people to have access to their life changing summer residential programmes and opportunities that without financial assistance would not be possible. Those who take part gain important life skills and take away lasting memories and friendships.

Councillor Fiona Venner, executive member responsible for children and families said:

“The Child Friendly Leeds awards ceremony continues to be a sensational yearly celebration which recognises those people, places and organisations who go the extra mile to ensure Leeds is a great place to grow up, and showcases the hugely talented young people we have in our city.

“I would like to congratulate the winners, those shortlisted and all the nominees – they have all made, and continue to make remarkable contributions to our child friendly ambition.”

“Becoming a child friendly city is not something that we, as a council, can do on our own. There are countless organisations and people across our city who share our passion for, and commitment to, being a child friendly city and these awards are a great opportunity for us to recognise them and commend their tremendous work and tireless dedication.”

“The Child Friendly Leeds Awards, and the chance to celebrate those with a passion for our child friendly ambition, would not be possible without the ongoing support of our incredible network of business ambassadors, and so a special thanks also goes out to all of them. We are always looking for more businesses to join our growing network of committed ambassadors who are willing to make a pledge to help make Leeds the best city for children and young people to grow up in.”

The awards were hosted by Leeds City Varieties and were sponsored by AQL; White Rose Shopping Centre; City Varieties Music Hall; Victoria Leeds; Trinity Leeds; Harvey Nichols; and First Direct Arena.

Tentastic Productions chose the Child Friendly Leeds Fund as their recognised charity at this year’s Child Friendly Leeds Awards. Donations to the Fund support positive learning and enrichment activities and opportunities for vulnerable children and young people – those who simply would not be able to access them without additional support. These opportunities are really important in helping to increase young people’s social skills, support their learning and build their confidence, self-esteem and resilience.

If you would like to make a donation to the Child Friendly Leeds Fund, please visit the Child Friendly Leeds website www.childfriendlyleeds.gov.uk click on ‘CFL News’ then ‘Child Friendly Leeds Fund’.

Source Leeds City Council