Service users, staff and volunteers from YMCAs across England and Wales celebrated their achievements over the past year at the charity’s glittering Youth Matters Awards ceremony last night (Thursday 22 October).
Awards were up for grabs across five different categories as the annual ceremony came to life at the Porchester Hall, in Bayswater, central London. In total, almost 250 guests and nominees attended.
Following a rigorous nomination and voting process, winners on the night were Jamie Miller, from West Kent YMCA, as Young Achiever of the Year; Frah Saeed, from YMCA North London, as Young Leader of the Year; Billie Murphy, from YMCA Fairthorne Group, as Young Volunteer of the Year; Tom Truman, from YMCA Birmingham, as Young Worker of the Year; and YMCA North London as YMCA of the Year.
Other highlights on the night included a runway showcasing embellished garments designed and created by YMCA’s young people.
Youth Matters is YMCA’s national awards ceremony which celebrates the outstanding skills and achievements of young people from across the country. It also recognises the vital work that YMCAs deliver every day to help transform the lives of young people and give them a brighter future.
A total of 66 nominations were sent in by YMCA staff, volunteers and peers. Judges then shortlisted nominees into 30 semi-finalists, before a public vote and further shortlisting came up with the final winners and runners up.
Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of YMCA England, said: “Youth Matters is about honouring every single YMCA, young person, service user, staff member and volunteer who has contributed in YMCA’s efforts to create better communities for young people and families.
“Well done to the winners on the night and all the finalists and semi-finalists who made it so far in the competition.
“Awards like this are an important way of giving back and saying ‘thank you’ with recognition.”
Notable attendees at Youth Matters included judges Victoria Roye, a BBC Talent Manager; Maxine Green, Chief Executive at YMCA’s George Williams College; Marksteen Adamson, Senior Creative Consultant at ASHA; and young entrepreneur Jamie Dunn.
Serving more than 530 communities, YMCA was founded in 1844, making it the largest and oldest charity in the world engaging with young people.