Youth Buzz Awards - winners announced!

This year's Youth Buzz Awards have seen some amazing young people from across Manchester recognised for their stand-out achievements and for making a positive contribution to their communities.

The awards, for young people aged 11 - 19, are organised by Manchester Youth Council and Young Manchester Young Ambassadors on behalf of the city council and Young Manchester, and were sponsored this year by a number of local businesses and organisations.

This year's awards attracted over 130 nominations from a wide range of organisations including youth groups, schools, voluntary and community-based organisations.  Thirty of these made it to the final round of judging with three finalists in each of the ten different award categories.

Winners included 18 year old Sam Hills who won the Young Achiever award that recognises a young person's self belief and the outstanding contribution they have made in all aspects of life. 

As a member of the Changemakers Group at Greater Manchester Youth Network, Sam has powerfully represented the disability rights of young people, especially autistic young people.  He has also represented young people both locally and regionally, contributing to a national consultation for travel improvement for disabled young people by the Council for Disabled Children - and did all of this whilst working towards his GCSEs.

The Young Leader award went to green-fingered Zimal Arshad aged 11 who has been volunteering with Greenheys Residents Association in her local community for over three years - incredibly clocking up over 200 hours of volunteer work.  

Zimal is hugely committed and passionate about where she lives and is regularly seen tending the communal gardens and looking after her neighbours' garden with real horticultural expertise.  She also regularly gives up her time to tend hanging baskets and plants, and takes part in other environmental work including litter picks, to make the local area nicer for everyone.

Winners of the award for Best Social Action Group went to The Proud Trust for their Youth Loneliness Research Project. Young members of the Trust developed and delivered a social action research project to work out which types of social action have the most positive effect on loneliness and mental health in LGBT young people.  This included carrying out a survey with nearly 200 LGBT young people aged 13-25 about their experiences of social action and the effect it had on them.

Members of Norbrook Youth Project - who between them were instrumental in securing £50,000 of capital funding to build an extension on their youth club to add much-needed extra space and house a brand new games room - were awarded Youth Project of the Year.  

The young leaders at the Wythenshawe-based project are represented at every level of the organisation - from volunteering and coordinating youth sessions to representation at committee level. They were recognised for their strong sense of ownership of the project and for helping make a real difference to young people's lives in the local area.

This year's Outstanding Achievement award went to 15 year old Nayan Higgins for his work with art organisations the Contact Theatre and Odd Arts.  As well as achieving his Gold Arts Award - a momentous achievement for someone of his age - he also completed a training course with Odd Arts enabling him to deliver his own drama workshops for children aged 8 - 10 years old.

Hosts of the awards this year were TV presenter Jenny Powell, and Manchester Youth Council and Member of Youth Parliament, Ishaa Asim.  Poet Lemn Sissay and the Lord Mayor of Manchester Abid Chohan were amongst those who presented awards on the night.

Also recognised at the awards ceremony was a group of 15 young volunteers who had worked together on all aspects of the awards ceremony to help make it a success. They were presented with Skills for Life certificates to recognise their achievements in demonstrating the five core skills that all young people need to become successful young adults - communication, problem-solving, self-belief, self-management, and teamwork.

The council is currently working with schools and youth organisations across the city to embed these five core life skills across all areas of the curriculum and learning, both inside and outside the classroom.  All of the young people nominated for awards also had to demonstrate through their entries how the work they had done contributed to their Skills for Life learning. 

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Skills, Manchester City Council, said: "Every day there are young people in Manchester who are leading the way, doing the most amazing things that really help make a difference to their communities.  

"All too often these things can go unnoticed, but the annual Youth Buzz Awards give us the chance to formally recognise and reward young people for the fantastic things they do - not just for themselves but also for others.

"A massive well done to everyone who was nominated, and to the winners.  Together you are helping shore up our city for the future and helping make it a better place for everyone who lives here. Don't stop!"


Full list of award winners:


Young Mentor - Jessica Visco

Young Achiever - Sam Hills

Young Volunteer of the Year - Georgia Winder

Most Effective Youth Campaign - Reclaim Young Campaigners Group

Making a Difference - St Peter's High School

Youth Project of the Year - Norbrook Youth Project

Young Leader - Zimal Arshad

Community Champion - Bobbie Strutt

Best Social Action Group - The Proud Trust 

Outstanding Achievement - Nayan Higgins


Sponsors of this year's awards included XMA, HP, Manchester Arndale Centre, One Manchester, The Manchester College, The University of Manchester, Manchester Evening News, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, and Fjallraven.

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