Last night was a highly emotional and successful one for Create: our work with children and young people was recognised with not one, not two but THREE Children & Young People Now Highly Commended awards.
Our Senior Project Manager Jodie Sadler and I attended the ceremony, an evening that celebrates the work of those working with children, young people and families across the UK. The event was fun – the celebratory tone was set from the start with a vibrant performance by students from the World Heart Beat Music Academy which received rapturous applause – always great to have the arts up front! The evening was compered by TV and radio presenter and Childline Counsellor Anna Williamson.
The Children & Young People Now Awards have become the gold standard for everyone working with children, young people and families. Now in their twelfth year, these awards are a great source of pride and recognition for all those who strive to improve the lives of others. They raise the profile of projects and initiatives to funders and the general public, and showcase learning and best practice from across the country. Crucially, entrants must be able to provide evidence that what they have done has had a positive impact on people’s lives.
So what did we win?
The Youth Work Award for ‘the initiative that has done the most to promote young people’s personal development and help them to achieve their potential.’
We were Highly Commended for creative:connection, our programme that brings disabled and non-disabled children and young people together for creative activities, helping to break down barriers and develop shared understanding.
Whitney, 14, who took part in a creative:connection project in Barnet, north London, said: “I didn’t know any disabled people before this project so I wasn’t sure how we’d work together a team. I thought they might struggle with certain things and they proved me wrong. I have a different understanding of disability now. I saw that the disabled students had so much fun being creative and getting stuck into the activities.”
The Young Carers Award for ‘the initiative that has done the most to support children, young people or young adults up to 25 who care for a family member or friend with an illness, disability, mental health problem or addition.’
We were Highly Commended for art:space and inspired:arts, our programmes that give young carers a break from their caring responsibilities and enable them to develop new skills and peer support.
Anthony, 12, who took part in an inspired:arts project in Newham, east London, said: “I wasn’t really a creative person before and I didn’t think much of art but the Create workshops have helped me realise that there are loads of exciting artforms I can explore. Now I’m thinking about taking Art GCSE. Young carers take on a lot and do a lot at home, so it’s really important that every now and then we get together and have a chance to do something that’s just for us. When you spend time with other young carers you can share your problems and experiences with each other, which is really important.”
The Youth Justice Award for ‘the initiative that has made the biggest contribution to improving the life chances of young offenders, or those at risk of offending or reoffending.’
We were Highly Commended for Inside Stories, our programme through which young offenders write, record, illustrate and set to music original stories for their children.
Ryan, who took part in an Inside Stories project, said: “You’ll hear a lot of people in jail saying their kids are their rocks. You can only make two phone calls a week in here and it’s hard to talk to them because, well, there’s not a lot you can say to children while you’re in prison. Having this book that you can give to them, and a CD where they can hear your voice makes you feel good. They can say “that’s my daddy”. It makes me feel good knowing they can hear my voice whenever they want, just by pressing ‘play’ on a CD player.”
We are deeply committed to raising awareness of the empowering qualities of engaging in the creative arts. To have been acknowledged with three Children and Young People Now Highly Commended awards is wonderful recognition of the deep commitment to our work with children and young people shown by our funders, our dedicated staff team and the inspirational professional artists who deliver our programmes.
Nicky Goulder, Chief Executive