Child Friendly Leeds set to enter the matrix to celebrate 10th birthday

Taking place for the first time since 2020, the awards will be held on July 5 at the City Varieties Music Hall, with a group of local young people taking charge of the planning for the glitzy occasion.

Overall, 29 nominees have been shortlisted across seven nomination groups which include people, places and organisations that have positively impacted the lives of children across Leeds.

The group of 11 young people who took charge of the planning for this year’s awards have been meeting regularly with Leeds City Council’s education team at City Varieties. Due to the special nature of the award night’s return, a number of the planners returned to reprise their roles from 2020. The group have decided on the look and feel of the event, with a ‘futuristic’ theme chosen, inspired by sci-film The Matrix.

And in another cause for celebration, the awards night will also be the perfect opportunity for the council’s Child Friendly Leeds campaign to celebrate its 10th birthday. Since being launched by Her Majesty the Queen in 2012, Child Friendly Leeds has been working to make Leeds a child-friendly city. Highlights of the past 10 years include the creation of the City Centre Project, which in turn developed CFL Live, a large-scale day event of children’s entertainment hosted at Millennium Square.

Over its lifetime, Child Friendly Leeds has also delivered a wide range of enrichment projects for children in care, young people and unaccompanied asylum seekers. Child Friendly Leeds has also carried out ambassador events over the years covering an array of different subjects.

Councillor Fiona Venner, executive member for adult and children’s social care and health partnerships, said: “I’m delighted to see the strength of the nominees that have been shortlisted for this year’s awards.

“Each nominee represents a person, place or organisation that has worked incredibly hard to improve the lives of children in Leeds across the last two years.

“The fact that it will be the first awards night since 2020, as well as the celebration of Child Friendly Leeds’ 10th birthday, means that it will be a night to remember. I’m excited to see the result of the planning group and I anticipate it will be a very special time.”

The awards have been sponsored by City Varieties Music Hall, The Grammar School at Leeds, Harvey Nichols, Trinity Leeds, White Rose Shopping Centre, Victoria Leeds, and First Direct Arena.

Media opportunity

When: Tuesday 5 July, 7pm to 8:30pm (Doors open at 6pm)
Where: City Varieties Music Hall

The ceremony begins at 7pm and there will be an opportunity to film, photograph and interview the winners from around 8pm. Filming and photography during the awards ceremony and performance is also permitted.

Please contact matthew.fillery@leeds.gov.uk to arrange attendance.

The shortlisted nominees for the seven categories are:

Young person/child of the year

Amaran Neshat

Amaran is a John Smeaton Academy pupil who provided invaluable support to new refugees from Afghanistan when they joined the school. As a fluent speaker of Darsi/Farsi, Amaran put them at ease, supported teachers with translation and led his peers in providing a warm welcome. The new pupils are thriving in school, thanks to Amaran’s awe-inspiring compassion.

Elise Collins

Elise works as a dedicated community ambassador on a range of social action projects in Halton Moor. She gets involved in mental health support, healthy holiday and engaging young people in different activities. She is positive, hardworking and shows great passion for her community and those who are often overlooked.

Ria Lake

Ria is a kind and valued member of the Care Leavers Council. A talented artist, she used her skills to develop a postcard which gives children and young people with a therapeutic social worker a voice. She has inspired social workers by sharing her experiences and is a passionate advocate for care experienced children and young people. 

Tamirah Bass-Grant

Tamirah is deeply committed to raising awareness of what it means to be black in the 21st Century. She was instrumental in developing Being Black and Being Me, a short film exploring children and young people’s experiences of growing up black in Leeds. The film is now used as an anti-racism resource for schools, university courses and with Leeds City Council staff.

Best place

Barca

Barca went above and beyond to support young people in their community during the pandemic. Delivering parcels of activities, food, and equipment to individuals. They also set up Work Well service aimed at helping young people aged 15-24 manage the impact of the pandemic moving forwards.

Leeds Children’s Charity at Lineham Farm

Leed Children’s Charity’s new partnership with Lineham Farm provides a sanctuary of fun for some of the city’s most disadvantaged children and families. They are dedicated to brightening lives by providing exciting and meaningful activities, a safe space and an environment for parents to develop their skills using outside play and interaction.

LS – Ten skate park

LS-Ten is not only a skate park but an inspiration for the city. Their dedicated team offer inclusive free sessions to disadvantaged groups in the school holidays. They create a safe and inspiring environment for children and young people to learn new skills, develop friendships and stay active while having fun.

Think Like a Pony

Think Like a Pony is a supportive place for children of all ages with emotional, behavioural and mental health challenges. Young people work directly with ponies that have experienced similar challenges. Mentored by knowledgeable staff who teach invaluable coping strategies for everyday life, they are supported to make positive changes and build confidence and self-esteem.

The youth group of the year (up to 25)

The Care Leavers Council

The Care Leavers Council works tirelessly to raise awareness of issues and challenges that face care experienced young adults. They are passionate about improving the experiences of their peers and work with numerous services to improve the city’s offer to care leavers, volunteering hundreds of hours of their time.

Codswallop CIC

Codswallop delivers inclusive arts, cultural activities and events for the community of Guiseley and afterschool clubs for children in the area. They use their passion for creative arts to empower and improve the wellbeing of the young people and adults who attend their events. All abilities are welcomed, and children get the opportunity to experience different creative activities.

Compass House Project

The Compass House project was developed in response to ‘curriculum to prepare us for life’ being voted the top issue for young people living in Leeds. In 2021, staff and students from several specialist provisions worked with the VIC team and Kirkgate Market to deliver their fourth pop up shop selling handmade gifts made by students.

Rothwell Windmill Youth Club

This tenacious group started meeting their youth workers in the local park when they couldn’t access their club building during the pandemic. They committed to meeting regularly outdoors throughout, to support each other with their mental health through this difficult period. The group surpassed expectations of campaigning to save their group and have supported their community through the pandemic.

The adult making a difference for young people

Chris Graefe & Rainbow House

Chris and the staff at Rainbow House worked tirelessly during the pandemic to ensure young people with additional needs had a fun place to stay. Chris is dedicated to ensuring children have positive experiences as well as offering much needed support to their families during the pandemic.

Jane Hinchcliffe

Jane has been supporting children and parents for many years. Her expertise in trauma-informed practice allows her to safeguard families and provide children with a safe place to explore their emotions and take ownership of their happiness. During the pandemic, she used technology to stay in touch with families to provide much needed support at that time.

Julie Roper

Julie is a longstanding member of the Girls’ Brigade and is an inspiring role model for young girls. She promotes healthy lifestyle, community spirit and the importance of being an active citizen and supporting others. During the pandemic, she continued badge work, games and competitions for the girls and became a valuable source of support.

Sara Dawson

Sara has been invaluable to the Friends of Roundhay Park. Sarah raised thousands of pounds to provide fantastic new playground equipment and hosted a wealth of outdoor activities for children and their families. Sara used her skills to open a sensory garden in 2021 which is used by people from across Leeds.

Schools award for local heroes

Hamara Supplementary School

Hamara were a valuable community support during the pandemic. They worked with their families and local primary schools to ensure children who normally would receive free school meals always had a breakfast and lunch. They also provided English and Maths lessons on Saturdays and ‘Stay at Home’ activity packs for the community.

Inspiring Futures

Inspiring Futures is delivered by Health for All and provides 1:1 coaching for young people from marginalised backgrounds. It supports them to develop build skills and language and overcome boundaries. In addition, it hosts group sessions and workshops aimed at tackling loneliness, isolation, and developing interests and aspirations through education, training, employment, and enterprise.

The Vine Child Contact Centre

The Vine Centre is a free and safe environment that facilitates contact between children and young people and their parents. Using their specialised skills, they work with parents and children to help develop relationships to the point that these can become independent of the centre.

Zarach Leeds & Bex Wilson

Bex founded Zarach in 2018. The charity began by providing a proper bed to children living in Leeds without one. They have since expanded their services to offer food clubs, emergency electric and gas supplies, school uniform exchange, and holiday projects and are committed to improving outcomes for children experiencing hardship.

Inspiring creativity through arts and culture

Chapel FM

Chapel FM is a radio studio in the heart of Seacroft. Offering a wide range of music broadcasting workshops where local young people can learn and develop new skills. They are passionate about the environment and escorted young people to COP26 last year, an incredible experience the young people won’t forget.

LS18 Rocks

During the pandemic, young musicians at LS18 Rocks excelled themselves by raising thousands for charity. They recorded a song that attracted worldwide publicity, funded an older person’s social project, staged fundraising concerts for refugees, and launched a project to raise climate change awareness that has resulted in a collaboration with the world-famous Hallé Orchestra.

Northern Ballet

Northern Ballet continues to work with inner-city schools to raise aspirations and provide creative opportunities to children and young people who may not have them otherwise. Their Rise project is delivered to key stage 2 pupils in schools across Leeds.  Pupils use ballet and creative movement to explore their mental and physical health and wellbeing. 

SAA-UK (South Asian Arts)

SAA-UK is committed to inspiring people to connect with their cultural heritage through learning and engagement. Their dedication to keeping the sound of South Asian music and dance alive is seen through the young people and adults they work with, who have a growing sense of community and togetherness.

Overall contribution to making Leeds a child friendly city

Baby Bank Leeds

Baby Bank Leeds supports families across Leeds, who require baby essentials. From nappies and formula to buggies, clothing, and toys; they provide everything needed to support families caring for pre-school children. They not only ensure children are safe, clothed, and fed, but also connect families to other services in their area for ongoing support.

Be Curious at the University of Leeds

The Be Curious team worked tirelessly to ensure that thousands of young people and their families in Leeds and beyond were able to access exciting, engaging, and inspiring learning opportunities throughout the pandemic. Be Curious was transformed into an almost seven-week virtual festival-style activity curriculum, freely available to all to support those home-schooling or isolating.

Fall into Place/LS14 Trust

LS14 Trust is a not-for-profit organisation that runs an extensive range of activities ensuring there is always something fun for children to do within an area of great need. Children are at the heart of everything they do. They are improving play opportunities and have fought hard to give children a local park and community centre.

Malcolm Michaels Quality Butchers Ltd

At Christmas, the team at Malcolm Michaels collected hundreds of toys for the children of those getting help for alcohol and drug misuse. They also provided a free visit to Santa over the Christmas period to ensure that all children got to meet the big man himself.

The British Library

The British Library have been working in partnership with Leeds City Council delivering a project exploring food, culture, and identity for unaccompanied asylum seekers living in Leeds. Together they are co-creating a recipe book. With the young people as the chef-authors, they have developed relationships and grown their confidence through what has been a therapeutic process.

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