Awards ceremony nod for Sidmouth and Ottery young achievers

OVER thirty young people from across Devon, including teenagers from Ottery St Mary and Sidmouth, will be honoured at a special awards ceremony being held at County Hall, Exeter next week (Thursday, June 25).

OVER thirty young people from across Devon, including teenagers from Ottery St Mary and Sidmouth, will be honoured at a special awards ceremony being held at County Hall, Exeter next week (Thursday, June 25).

Sidmouth youngsters Daniel Gigg, 16, and Caitlin Bowkett, 15, Sidmouth and Sam Thorne, 16, from Ottery have made a finalist shortlist after more than 100 nominations were received for the third annual awards, organised by Devon County Council and sponsored by Devon's Children's Trust, to celebrate the personal and collective achievements of young people.

Finalists have been selected by a panel of judges consisting of representatives from Devon's Children's Trust partnership and young people. The categories are: Healthy Lives; Safer Communities; Education; Participation and Positive Futures, a group category where young people have worked together to make a difference, and a Community Award where young people have worked to raise awareness of the positive contribution young people make to society.

Chair of Devon's Children's Trust Partnership, Mary Nisbett, who will present the Community award, said: "These annual awards are a wonderful way to recognise the efforts young people have made in their personal lives, their schools and clubs and their communities.

"Young people are often portrayed in a negative light, and the testimonies from the nominations show that so many of them have shown incredible strength, ambition, intelligence and selflessness in pursuing a goal or overcoming an obstacle."

The awards are being hosted this year by two young people: Leroy Venn and Leanne Atkins. Leroy joined Devon County Council as an apprentice at 17 years old and after only 8 months was offered a permanent job. Leroy represented the council at Young Local Authority of the Year 2008 and is now studying to become a qualified accountant.

Most Read

Leanne is a former care leaver who is actively involved in highlighting issues relating to children in care. She has been to the Houses of Parliament, taken part in a Green Paper on how children in care were treated and trained foster carers, social workers and host families. She was part of the Staying Strong Group which assessed Devon and Cornwall Care Leavers' Teams and won the Star You Are Award and a National award last year.

Cllr Andrea Davis, who will officially take up her post as Cabinet Member for Children and Young People's Health and Wellbeing on the day of the event, will present the Group award.

Said Cllr Davis: "I am delighted to be attending this year's Young People's Achievement Awards, as one of the first events in my new cabinet member capacity.

"It is really important that we recognise and honour children's achievements, and give them the rewards and incentives to aim high in all aspects of their lives, and these finalists really deserve this accolade.

"I would like to thank the Children's Trust partners for their generous sponsorship of this event, which is going from strength to strength."

Finalists for each category are:

Safer Communities: Robyn Whitakker, 16, Exmouth; Natasha Stringer, 17, Barnstaple.

Education: Heather Sharp, 18, Barnstaple; Sam Thorne, 16, Ottery St Mary; Regev Tripp, 17, Exeter.

Healthy Lives: James Sharman, 13, Exeter; Gemma Scoynes, Emma Bowbottom and Elly Munslow, 15, Exminster; Glen Burnett, 15, Exeter Sunnie Southard, 17, Exeter.

Positive Future: Darren Hollingworth, 19, Uffculme; Asif Ebrahimi, 17, and Mohammed Rahimi, 16, Exeter; Carrie-Ann Godfrey, 12, Bideford; Megan Coopey, 15, Cullompton; Melissa Hempstead, 19, Exmouth; Zoe Morton, 17, Exmouth; Felicity Hore, 17, Woolwell.

Participation: Paul Ntulila, 19, Exeter; Rowan Perrior, 19, Torridge; Emily Lewis, 16, Exeter; Shane Summer, 20, North Devon.

Community: Daniel Gigg, 16, Sidmouth; Jack Price, 13, Axminster; Charlotte Doran, 12, Exeter; Caitlin Bowkett, 15, Sidmouth.

Group: Holsworthy Explorer Scouts, 14-18; North Devon Young Assessors, 15-22, Bideford/Ilfracombe; Children's Voice Planning Group, 12-20, Devon-wide; VERVE, 13-25, Ilfracombe.