The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, has praised the commitment shown by young people to making a positive difference to their schools and communities.
In a celebration event today at 11 Downing Street, young people from across England, Wales and Scotland travelled to meet Frances Lawrence and those involved in the Philip Lawrence Awards to celebrate their success.
Representing the NASUWT were Brian Cookson, NASUWT National Treasurer, and Jennifer Moses, NASUWT National Official for Equality and Training.
The NASUWT is a major sponsor of the awards, which recognise outstanding youth involvement in the community. The Awards were established in 1996 in memory of headteacher Philip Lawrence who was murdered while protecting a pupil outside his school.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:
“Every year these awards profile extraordinary young people who have demonstrated the true meaning of community spirit with their award-winning projects.
“They epitomise the major, positive contribution that young people across the country are making day in and day out and represent the very best of their communities.
“Unfortunately, commendable efforts and deeds don’t often make the headlines, unable to compete with the disproportionately high profile given to the tiny minority of young people who engage in antisocial behaviour.
“The Philip Lawrence Awards provide an important opportunity to recognise the dedicated and selfless work of these young people who are making a really positive difference to the world around them.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Philip Lawrence Awards is the largest scheme of its kind and recognises outstanding achievement among young people aged 11-20.
The Philip Lawrence Awards celebrate groups of young people making life better for themselves and others. Winners will be recognised at local and national award events and receive £1000-worth of prizes.
Groups consist of young people in the UK, aged between 11 and 20 who are doing extraordinary things for their communities: leading the way, crossing divides, building bridges between young people and adults, and making their communities stronger and safer.
The winners of the 2011 award who attended today’s event are:
· Jut Ask Nottingham (Nottingham)
A peer-led information service for young people by young people delivering work clubs for unemployed young people, amongst a range of other services.
· Mentality (Bristol)
A youth leadership project concerned with challenging negative attitudes surrounding the issue of mental health, raising awareness about mental health problems, providing support and advice for young people, and opening up a frank public discussion.
· Reclaim Our Name (Manchester)
Reclaim Our Name shines a light on the positive role young people can play in urban communities. Through engaging with the media and politicians, the project challenges the negative stereotyping of young people which has intensified in the wake of the riots.
· Vale Youth Speak Up (Barry, Wales)
A user led self-advocacy children and young people's group. The group tackles and highlights disability issues that young people face, such as discrimination, bullying and issues with parents.
· Voices Against Violence (Scotland)
Voices Against Violence is a group of eight young people with first-hand experience of domestic abuse and support services who formed a national independent group of recognised 'young experts' to tell people in power what needs to change to improve the lives of children.
· Young Citizens (Lewisham, London)
Founded by six year 7 pupils in Prendergast Ladywell Fields College, Young Citizens connects young people concerned about violence and crime with the individuals and organisations who can help, with the aim of improving the safety of the Lewisham community and the lives of those within it.
Further details about The Philip Lawrence Awards can be found at www.philiplawrenceawards.net
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