The outstanding achievements of youth workers from across Birmingham were celebrated and rewarded at a special event organised by YMCA Sutton Coldfield, last month.
The awards ceremony, made possible thanks to funding secured from the Big Lottery Fund, showcased and highlighted the inspirational work individuals and groups alike have delivered that have made a significant impact on the lives of young people in the city.
Seven coveted awards were handed out to deserving individuals, as well as community projects that demonstrate tangible impact by youth workers in the voluntary sector and emerging junior leaders.
The event follows on from the successful Youth Works Conference that was held in November, which saw the launch of the Youth Works initiative, hosted by YMCA Sutton Coldfield in partnership with Birmingham Youth Service, Birmingham Association of Youth Clubs and Laurel Road Sports and Community Centre. The three year programme is a blend of six conferences and award ceremonies, each aiming to recognise the importance of youth work at a time when funding for youth work projects is in severe decline and to raise the profile of youth work as a crucial service for young people; our next generation of leaders.
Aphra Lewis, Release Young Carers Project Manager at YMCA Sutton Coldfield, won the Inspirational Youth Workers Award. She said: “I’m just glad that the young people I work with are happy with the work that I’m doing. It’s just so lovely for youth workers to be recognised for the work that we do.”
Stephanie Patrick, Deputy CEO of YMCA Sutton Coldfield, said: “Youth work is all about helping young people reach their full potential, something that we are very passionate about at YMCA. We want to celebrate the inspiring work that youth workers do and get youth work firmly back on the agenda.
“As a youth workers through and through, I’ve witnessed the life-changing work that youth work can achieve but I’ve also seen the negative impact on young people when projects can’t afford to continue. We want to address this decline and empower youth workers to keep fighting for young people and for their futures.”