The winners of the third annual Child Friendly Leeds awards were announced in a star-studded ceremony at Leeds City Varieties last week.
The awards, organised by young people celebrate some of the people, places and organisations helping to make Leeds a child friendly city. A host of well-known celebrities helped add a touch of sparkle to the event by presenting the winners with their awards.
Nadiya Hussain, the current winner of the Great British Bake Off, was joined by Sir Gary Verity, Claire Young from the Apprentice and Leeds Rhino’s hero Jamie Jones Buchanan to present the awards. Also presenting were the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Judith Chapman, Cllr Lucinda Yeadon and six young people, including the Leeds Children’s Mayor, Hannah Begum.
Hundreds of nominations came in for champion children, child friendly places, people who go the extra mile and great organisations, with the winners announced at the special event.
The awards showcased the talent, achievements and energy of the city’s children and young people, as well as highlighting and celebrating what people, places and organisations are doing to make Leeds a child friendly city.
The prestigious awards ceremony was organised by a group of eight young people who made up ‘The CFL Crew’. The ‘crew’ – some as young as twelve decided on a colourful carnival theme for the ceremony which was watched by an audience of nearly 400 people including city leaders and VIP guests.
The winners of the 2016 Child Friendly Leeds Awards are:
Children’s Champion: Under 11s category:
Harry was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2012 and since then has worked very hard to fund raise for various charities. He has raised over £45,000 for Candlelighters and has even brought a United States charity over to England. Harry’s family have helped him through his journey by doing dinner dances and the Runsie, a charity fun run that has taken place for the last three years. “Overall Harry is a fantastic person who should win this award as he is an amazing young man, whose efforts need to be recognised.”
Children’s Champion: 11 – 18 category:
Junior is an 11-year-old street dancer from Meanwood in Leeds. He is the UK Freestyle Champion and ranked third in the world, having started dancing at the age of three. He has suffered years of bullying for being a dancer and his self-esteem and confidence were affected badly. Through his dancing Junior has been able to overcome many obstacles in his life, as it is a way of him expressing his feelings. He is a fantastic young man who has brought joy to thousands with his amazing talent. Junior has recently been asked to become ambassador for the charity Dance Aid, which uses dance to help raise money for underprivileged and disabled children in the UK and Africa. Junior has up until recently been self-taught but he has now begun a full time scholarship at Pineapple Dance Academy and he travels to London every week from Leeds to train. Up to date he has also helped raise over £50,000 for various charities, including Martin House Hospice, Cancer Centre, Crohns UK etc. Junior’s ultimate goal is to get a part in a West End musical, become a qualified professional choreographer and share his passion for dance with other children.
‘Best Place for Children and Young People in Leeds’ category:
Roundhay Park & Tropical World
Roundhay Park received the most nominations from children and young people out of all the parks and was described as children’s favourite choice out of all the parks in Leeds. Facilities include Tropical World, the lakes, the woods, café and many events. Some of the many comments received about Roundhay Park and Tropical World included:
“Very child friendly and extremely fun for kids, families and even pets!” “It is a really good day out and amazing to see all animals and wildlife. Best place to go on a rainy day and in the summer holidays for children.” “Tropical World is great for children. As well as teaching children and young people about nature and wildlife, it also helps to encourage children to care for animals and plants.”
Supporting Schools: Children’s Choice’ category:
Hamara Supplementary School
Hamara Supplementary School takes place on a Saturday and supports children and young people to achieve good grades in maths, English and science, as well as running a homework club. They work very closely with and make a difference in the local community. One of the many supporting statements for Hamara said: “(Hamara is) not only a school but a fab organisation for children. They have several youth clubs such as football with Leeds United, Karate, Roller Skating sessions, evening football, cricket tournaments and much more. Their holiday play scheme attracts children of all ages and backgrounds organising trips, fun days out and brings arts and culture to the community. I think it really is a great place for children and young people and with the community café, its doors are always open to young people and new ideas. Many children living in the local area are from BME and therefore some have complex issues and Hamara works with them to provide a safe environment with a range of staff supporting their every need. Children also have access to jobs and support with education, work and training.”
Adult Looking After Children and Young People category:
Lynn Henry (Think Like a Pony)
Think Like a Pony provides a unique service for Looked After Children. This free, community based organisation using one to one tuition with ponies and trainers encourages them to develop as individuals in their own right by learning effective communication skills, self respect, leadership and responsibility by reacting to the special individual needs of what becomes their “own” pony during the training sessions.
Overall Contribution to Child Friendly Leeds category:
Leeds Play Network
Leeds Play Network is a charity which aims to offer support and guidance to anyone working within the field of play. They are currently working on developing street play by helping local families to close their streets for play. Leeds Play Network (LPN) is a small charity established by a group of play workers in 1994 with the aim of offering support and guidance to anyone working within the field of play work. Since 1994 the services offered by Leeds Play Network have been diverse, however facilitating access to positive play opportunities for the children of Leeds has remained central to the ethos of the organisation. Leeds Play Network is currently working on developing Street Play, which allows children to reap the physical, social, emotional and mental health benefits offered by outdoor play. Over the last four years LPN has also provided a play partner service (which is a one to one support worker) to hundreds of children with disabilities or additional needs, enabling them to access universal play activities, and enjoy the play benefits that all children are entitled to. LPN endeavour to be advocates for the voices of children who want somewhere safe to go, something to do and to be with friends.
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member responsible for children and families said:
“The Child Friendly Leeds Awards ceremony was an absolutely fantastic night which not only celebrated the people, places and organisations which make Leeds a great place to grow up, it also showcased the hugely talented young people we have in Leeds.
“I would like to congratulate all the winners, those shortlisted and all the nominees – they are shining examples of what it really means to be child friendly.
“Becoming a child friendly city is not something we, as a council, can do alone. There are so many people across the city who have really taken on board what we are trying to achieve and these awards are a great opportunity for us to recognise and celebrate their great work and achievements.”
The awards are hosted by the Leeds City Varieties and sponsored by British Gas, Trinity Leeds and The Works Skatepark and supported by Marks & Spencer and First Direct Arena.
Cllr Yeadon added:
“Without the support from these businesses we would not have been able to hold this fantastic event and celebrate all the people in our city who are helping to make Leeds child friendly. We are always looking for more businesses which are willing to make a pledge to look at how they can help make Leeds a great place to live for every child in the city.”
The full list of the shortlisted nominees:
Children’s Champion (under 11 years old)
Oliver Barrow and Briony Ellis
Children’s Champion (11-18 years old)
Sophie Chapman and Ellie Roberts
Adult Looking After Children & Young People
Leeds Play Network
Marks and Spencer
The Market Place
Dr Barbara Burke
Hamara Supplementary School
The Real Junk Food Project
Best Place for children and young people
The Rainbow Factory
Roundhay Park and Tropical World
The Conservation Volunteers at Skelton Grange Environment
The city is working together to make Leeds the best place for children and young people to live and grow up in. To find out more about what is happening and how to involved, people can visit http://www.childfriendlyleeds.co.uk
For more information about the awards ceremony please follow @Child_Leeds on Twitter and use the #ChildFriendlyLeedsAwards hashtag.