and the winners are…

Wow, what a fantastic evening we had at The Oxfordshire Youth Awards!

Here are the winners, selected by our Youth Committee, out of the hundreds of nominations received:

Pride of Oxfordshire Award

1st – Mya Harris

Mya is a truly exceptional and inspirational young lady. She is resilient in her courage and strength of character that she shows. She was born with Spina bifida, and has never let her disability get her down. She shows true bravery as she has endured many operations since she was born.  She has been an inspirational ambassador for the Oxford children’s hospital, supporting and raising awareness about its fundraising. In 2012 she starred in a short promotional video to advertise the 10th OX5 fun run, the results of which saw a record number of participants take part, that raised over £60,000.

Runners Up: Isaac Jordan, Isabel Goves

Arts Superstar Award

1st – Amber-Lauren Ballantyne-Styles

Amber is an amazing young artist. She was encouraged at an early age to express herself on paper. At 11 she left mainstream education and was home schooled where she gained handful of GCSE’s and an AS in Art and Photography.  At 15 she was accepted in to the Oxford & Cherwell Valley college where she was awarded 3 distinctions for her art & design and obtained a merit for her one year foundation. Instead of going onto university she decided to forge ahead with her business and is immensely proud that earlier this month her business was officially backed and supported by the Princes Trust. She is an amazing mentor and an inspiration to all.

Runners Up: Isaac Stuart, Charles Kagunda, Leona Sianga

Inspirational Entrepreneur Award

1st Place – Morgan Williams

Morgan is a young man who used to be very isolated and spent much of his time playing computer games. He did not really engage in education or social activities. Since working with Thrive in Barton, he engages with other young people and is developing new interests. One of the things he realised is that there aren’t many opportunities for people to find work in Barton, and that less than half the adults he knows have jobs. So he was challenged to step out from that stereotype and achieve something with his life. Very quickly goal setting became much more about the future, with him wanting to develop as a businessman. He came up with the idea of developing pop up restaurants that he could run at community and school events, and has since run 3 events. He gave away 100% of the profit away to those who face hardship people face in the Philippines.

Runners Up: Joyce Lo, Amy Alden

Young Einstein Award

1st: Athena Martin

Athena is a young lady who completed a Nuffield Research Placement in Summer 2013. Her 4 week research placement was at Oxford University Museum of Natural History, where she worked in the Entomological Collections team. During her placement, she found the Amazon Dismorphia butterly which had been collected by the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace that had remained undiscovered and unacknowledged within the museum since the end of the 19th century. This  discovery has since been described as “priceless” by the museum and was featured in both local and national press.

Runners Up: Phoenix Sremevic, Amy Alden

Community Champion Award

1st: Honor Boyle

Honor is an impressive young lady, who for the past few years has volunteered in her local produce market and café that takes place every Saturday morning in her village hall. She is the only teenager who volunteers, her energy and commitment are striking. She works with enthusiasm and respect alongside her older colleagues. At Christmas she raised funds in aid of Cystic Fibrosis by making beautiful Christmas wreaths and table decorations to order.

Runners Up: Cancer Resarch UK Row 2014, Isabel Goves

Sporting Achievements Award

1st: Eoin Hartwright

The winner of the Sports Achievement Award, went on an incredible journey. At only 16 years old, he has earned himself a place in the Guinness World Records as the youngest to row across the Atlantic. Whilst no one can take anything away from his team-mates and their part in the challenge, anyone who knows the story behind the last years events have nothing but the utmost respect/admiration for him & his determination to complete the challenge. Our winner got the inspiration back at the age of 12 when he heard a talk from Mick Dawson (who had previously rowed both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean) from that moment on it was his dream to do just that too…and he did, with the support of Mick!! His original team did not make it to the start line, then a 2nd team set off but the Skipper decided after 24 hours in to the row to turn round and return to port – this left him DEVASTATED, he came back to England determined to get back out to sea.  AND he did just that, within two weeks of returning they formed the Atlantic Quad!

Runners Up: Thomas Everex-Armstrong, Flora King

Youth Project of The Year Award

1st: The Yellow Submarine Project

The winners of Youth Project of the Year are a social group for young adults with learning disabilities. It caters for persons aged 18 – 25, which sets it aside from many other providers in Oxfordshire. The group has a space where the members can socialise with their peers in a safe and welcoming environment

It is these life experiences and simple pleasures which are so often overlooked when a person has a disability. The varying needs of the attendees means that some sessions can be challenging, but the incredible sense of camaraderie between the members and tireless patience of the volunteers means that these sessions can be some of the most valuable and rewarding.

Runners Up: North Leigh Youth Club, Youth of Bicester

Jake Spicer Special Recognition Award

Winner: Maisie Norton

The winner of this years award is as young lady who has faced battling Cancer tumours twice in the last five years and has done so with dignity, determination and humour. She has currently been clear for 2 years and has leapt at the chance to help organise Wantage Standing Upto Cancer, which is a community event run in partnership with the town council that raises funds for Cancer Research UK.

She is in charge of administration, helps give assemblies to encourage students to get involved, helps on the day with general duties, as well as running the 5k. She has also raised a significant amount for Clic Sargent. She will also be helping organise the Wantage Moonlight Walk, which is another event for Clic Sargent . She always has a smile on her face and is a real pleasure to be around. She is passionate about raising funds so other youngsters can be helped and cured.



Nominations Closed!

Thank you to all of you who have nominated a young person or group for the Oxfordshire Youth Awards 2014! We’ve received a record breaking 650+ nominees this year – more than double our previous year. We look forward to celebrating Oxfordshire’s young people at the New Theatre on the 17th March!

Nominations Now Open!

Nominations are now open for the 5th annual Oxfordshire Youth Awards!

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Young people in Oxfordshire between the ages of 11 and 19 can be nominated for awards in seven categories. The award categories include Arts Superstar, Sports Achievement, Community Champion, Pride of Oxfordshire, Inspirational Entrepreneur, Young Einstein of the Year, and Youth Project of the Year. Anyone can nominate a young person by submitting a nomination form online here. Nominations close on 17th February 2014.

The Oxfordshire Youth Awards 2014 will take place on Monday 17th of March 2014 at the Oxford New Theatre from 7pm until 9pm. The prestigious annual event is produced by the Oxfordshire Association for Young People, supported by businesses across the county and celebrates the achievements of young people across Oxfordshire. The Awards raise awareness of the inspirational contributions, big and small, made by many wonderful young people in Oxfordshire today.

Distinguished guests from Oxfordshire will present the awards on the night. In 2013 presenters included celebrated author Philip Pullman, former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes and Oxford United striker Jon-Paul Pittman. With performances from a selection of the most talented young people currently producing work in Oxford, this unique and exciting event promises to be an unforgettable experience for all involved.

The Oxfordshire Youth Awards 2013 resulted in over 250 nominations from across the county, more than double the nominations received by any previous Oxfordshire Youth Awards. Building on this success the 2014 event has been moved from the Oxford Town Hall to the 1,800 capacity New Theatre Oxford. The Oxfordshire Youth Awards 2014 will celebrate young people and showcase the very best of Oxfordshire’s youth talent on the most dramatic stage in the county.



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“County Youngsters Honoured in Oxfordshire Youth Awards”


From the Oxford Mail:

More than 300 young people attended the event and were joined by a further 300 friends and family.

Award winners collected their prizes from top VIPs including Supergrassfrontman Gaz Coombes, Oxford United chairman Ian Lenegan and author Philip Pullman.

Winner of the volunteer award Courtney Hughes, 15, from Didcot, raised money to donate presents to children in hospital at Christmas.

She said: “I wanted to give them a gift and give them Christmas.

“I didn’t expect anything so I was quite shocked and very, very happy to win the award.”

Read the full article here:

Literary Award Sponsor Offers Unique Mentoring Opportunity to Oxfordshire Youth

Friday 8th February, Literary Award sponsor Judith Keeling, arrived at Wheatley Park School to meet the Youth Committee responsible for organising the 2013 Oxfordshire Youth Awards. Judith Keeling is the editor and owner of Oxford People, an interactive community website which showcases contributions from ordinary members of the public. Judith explains, “Oxfordpeople is very keen to promote self expression in all forms – in print, on film and online, which is a major reason we’re offering the mentoring scheme we propose.”

Judith is passionate about encouraging self-expression in young people – as a former senior National newspaper and magazine journalist of 20 years standing, she hopes her rich and diverse writing and editing experience can be of service to young people involved in the Oxfordshire Youth Awards  and will inspire others with their literary expression, opinions, and experiences.  The nature of the mentorship relationship will be shaped by the dreams of the young people she intends to work with as Judith says, “It really will depend on the individual interests of the young people involved. I have a number of ideas of the ways Oxfordpeople can help offer mentorship to young people, from organising work experience, to bringing authors to youth clubs for Q and A’s,  or even running workshops for young budding journalists” However, Judith is keen to explain that this relationship is not about giving expertise but will be more reciprocal and based on responding creatively to the requests and suggestions made by the mentees, “ Oxfordpeople is looking forward to being excited and stimulated by young people’s ideas.”

Most excitingly, the offer of mentorship will not be a short term one as Judith explains “21st of Feb is the beginning of a long and great relationship of support and stimulation between Oxfordpeople and Oxfordshire Youth.”  This offer of mentorship marks a new beginning in the Oxfordshire Youth Awards as it involves sponsors reaching out to the lives of the young people their sponsorship is helping. Oxfordshire Association for Young People are very pleased with this new direction and will work closely with Judith in the months after the Youth Awards to ensure those connections are both forged and nurtured.

Laura Sewell
Youth Awards Co-ordinator
01865 368027

“Stars Back Young People Awards”

Gaz Coombes, Supergrass

Gaz Coombes, Supergrass frontman, will present the Arts Award

From the Oxford Mail:

BIG name guest presenters have been announced for an event rewarding the achievements of young people across Oxfordshire.

Chairman of Oxford United Ian Lenegan, author Philip Pullman andSupergrass frontman Gaz Coombes will be presenting awards at the Oxfordshire Youth Awards.

Mr Pullman, who wrote the His Dark Materials trilogy, said: “I’m always in favour of supporting young people and it seemed like a good idea. I will certainly be there.”

Read the full article here.