Last week at Wicksteed Park in Kettering some of Northamptonshire’s most inspiring young people were honoured at the fourth annual Youth Ambition Awards. Winners included a play about bullying created and performed by pupils, a teenager who leads a group working to improve services for looked after children, and a youth project targeting stigma around mental health.
Prospects sponsored the Taking Charge of Your Life award at the event, organised by Northamptonshire County Council, to recognise some of the fantastic things being done by children and young people across Northamptonshire. This year, for the first time, the winners received a £200 cash prize, plus there was a special recognition award for a finalist who didn’t win in their category but who deserves to be recognised.
Paul Welch, Prospects Regional Director who manages the Youth People Support contract in Northamptonshire was one of the judges alongside county council cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Matthew Golby, who presented the awards. Cllr Golby said: “This is the first Youth Ambition Awards I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of and it was a really moving occasion.
“You can’t help but be moved by some of the inspiring stories we’ve heard, and all the children and young people who were shortlisted for an award should be incredibly proud of what they’ve achieved.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to nominate a young person for one of our Youth Ambition Awards and to our sponsors who have helped to make this such a wonderful event.”
The Youth Ambition Awards are held in conjunction with Northamptonshire Newspapers’ Education Awards.
16 year old Pascale Cordell won the Taking Charge of your Life award and was presented with her prize by Nick Bell. Pascale was chosen as she has proved to be an exceptional student, passing all her GCSEs with A* to C grades and starting her AS levels despite recently being taken into care. She has just been accepted for a prestigious law internship this summer and will also be taking part in a volunteer scheme in Sri Lanka working with people with mental health issues.
Social worker Nicola Thrower said: “Pascale is an inspiration for other young people as despite the adversities she has experienced, she maintains her determination and motivation for success. She has her goals and ambitions and she is reaching for these and doing all she can to ensure that she gets there.”
The Prospects Northamptonshire team were also delighted when Chelsea Hammond won the Special Recognition Award. Chelsea at 20, has turned her life around after getting involved with the Prince’s Trust. She has battled with depression and anxiety, but successfully completed the programme and even found the courage to talk about her experience with the Prince’s Trust to an audience of 80 people.
Chelsea was nominated by Prospects colleague, Shirley Turner, who said: “After a very difficult start, Chelsea pushed herself and completed the very challenging Prince’s Trust programme. She has shown real courage in taking control of her life and now wants to help other people reach their full potential.”
Nick Bell speaking at the awards commented: “The stories of how the young people entered for these awards have overcome huge adversities to succeed was inspiring and humbling. The awards bring home to me the real impact we are having in helping people across the county improve their lives and have better futures to look forward to.”