This is the YVH Queens Youth Honours List – updated Jan 2022 to highlight those aged <30  who have been recognised for their exceptional service, leadership or  youth social action.  There were 79 new young people in the New Years Honours list, 6.1% of the total. Whilst most of these were for sporting achievement – 10 were recognised for their youth social action, volunteering or leadership.   This list values and celebrates these changemakers as worthy role models in a campaign to inspire more nominations, by you, particularly of those who would not otherwise be nominated. Read their stories and be inspired. Do you know of others who have similarly achieved and deserve to be lauded. Then follow our links to see how to make a  nomination and watch the video discussing the campaign. There are lots of other awards our there, – national and local. Do something amazing and nominate someone amazing today!

Scroll down for previous years lists. For information and on how to make a nomination go to our jointly hosted webinair slides  Youth Honours Cabinet Office Presentation (slides) and its links to Cabinet Office/Application forms.UK Honours System | Nominate someone amazing for a national award in the New Year or Queen’s Birthday honours lists ( Watch the webinair discussion hosted by Monwara Ali with campaigner James Cathcart and award winner Carl Konadu, here.



See the source imageTobias Weller BEM (11) For services to Charitable Fundraising during Covid-19. In March 2020, inspired by national treasure Sir Captain Tom Moore, Tobias, age 10, with Cerebral Palsy and Autism, embarked on his own mission to complete a marathon. With the help of his walker he walked the length of his street in Sheffield everyday throughout lockdown. He set up a Just Giving page raising money for his two favourite local charities, including Sheffield Children’s Hospital where he was born.  He exceeded his initial target of raising £500, successfully reaching the £100,000.00 fundraising mark shortly after finishing his first marathon. He then completed a second Marathon using a race runner, before presenting his charities with a cheque for £150,000.00. With the continued support of his mother Ruth, he has started on his third challenge – an iron man challenge!

Ella and Amy MeekAmy Meek BEM (18) and  Ella Meek BEM (16) For voluntary service to the Natural Environment:  Volunteer sisters Amy and Ella , over the past six years have been committed to communicating the message to reduce plastic use to a wide audience, and in particular, young people. They founded the Kids Against Plastic campaign. The campaign encourages people to reduce single-use plastics and empowers children and young people to believe they can make a difference. They gave a TEDx talk, and other media work presented and got the subject of plastic pollution raised in Parliament. Between them, they have collected over 98,000 pieces of discarded plastic. They were selected as ambassadors for the #iwill campaign in 2018 which, part-funded by DCMS, seeks to broaden participation amongst young people in social action projects, signing up over 1,300 schools across Great Britain, as well as their local Council and the Houses of Parliament to reduce their plastic use and disposal through their latest campaign, Plastic Clever Schools –

Max Woosey BEM (12) For services to Fundraising for the North Devon Hospice during Covid-19.

ASee the source image member of the Scouts Beaver & Cubs, Max, at the age of 10,  decided to camp out for lockdown to raise money for the North Devon Hospice which had cared for his 74 year old neighbour who died of Cancer in March 2020. Before he died his neighbour gifted this tent to him telling him to make sure he had an adventure in it and he did. His initial fundraising goal was £100 and he initially planned to camp out until he reached that. He decided to go for a year and raised over £570,000 for the North Devon Hospice.  He then organised a worldwide campout for children to celebrate overcoming a year of Covid. This saw nearly 2,000 children around the world join him in camping out,  raising awareness that many children across the globe have found lockdown and Covid tough to cope with. He has received numerous awards such as a gold Blue Peter badge, Point of Light Award, a Pride of Britain Award, and an Unsung Hero Award from Chief Scout, Bear Grylls.  

Nina Kayoko Andersen BEM (18) For services to the community in Wandsworth, London during Covid-19.  She single-handedly linked almost 70,000 school children from primary schools in London, Edinburgh and Dublin as well as schools over 20 different countries internationally with care homes in their areas. The project was called Community Senior Letters, encouraging children to write letters and send pictures to care home residents to bring a smile to their faces during the darkest days of lockdown, with the aim to reduce loneliness and isolation – linking a total of 250 schools and 250 care homes in 27 London boroughs. This engagement with the schools is now being extended with the children learning residents’ favourite songs with the hope to visit and perform at the care homes after lockdown. She also organised a Community Senior Music project, arranging for musicians, including herself as a violinist, to visit care homes in London.

Alice Jackson BEM (21) For services to the community in Hampshire during Covid-19 : At the start of the Covid-19 lockdown she had to leave university campus and return home to her rural community in Wiltshire, comprising a population of around two hundred and fifty, often elderly people. Enlisting a small group of friends, she quickly became the leading member of a tight-knit group of local volunteers, checking local needs and carefully advertising the group’s abilities and willingness to help those trapped in isolation. They helping the local Parish Clerk to set up a highly successful Covid-19 Support Group on WhatsApp with 80 subscribers. She organised shopping trips for her team, amalgamating various lists into larger one-off trips to supermarkets prior to distribution locally by car. She also organised the collection of medicines from local pharmacies, personally collecting many prescriptions, often queuing for up to two hours for single pick-ups. She also assisted older neighbours with internet related issues that became so important as lockdown took effect.

Sahil Usman BEM (16) For services to the community  during Covid-19: In 2018, Sahil was diagnosed with Leukaemia. He decided to both raise awareness about the condition in children and to help others. During Covid-19 lockdown he made 300 hampers and delivered them to local elderly people. He spent his own money to buy Christmas gifts, gloves and hats for other patients on his ward; which he continued for two years. Each gift bag was worth around £35, and he bought 250 gifts in total costing £2,000. With his ‘Raising Awareness for Cancer’ project, he has designed presentations for delivery in schools to raise awareness of the impact of cancer on young people. He has hosted a radio show for local ethnic communities; encouraging understanding amongst those who lack knowledge and may be hesitant or afraid to talk about the disease.

Hamaad Ali Karim BEM (22)  For voluntary service to Students and the Wider Community during COVID-19: Student Mentor.  He helped students and graduates (especially from underprivileged backgrounds, to gain key employability skills to give them the best chance of obtaining a job despite covid related unemployment. He created virtual content which reached over 180,000 people across the UK, on mediums such as Linkedin. He aided 85 students to obtain training contracts and graduate positions with the Tazil Foundation, which he co-founded. He became a mentor to 50 students, to try and aid students obtain graduate legal roles. Outside the Covid-19 pandemic he is also involved in a wide variety of other charitable initiatives, notably We Create Change, a platform created at the start of this year to help better educate people on the issues facing ethnic minorities globally. He has also raised money for other charities, during the University of Birmingham Charity Week.

Emma Beauchamp BEM (24) For services to Apprenticeships and Skills: Chair, North East Young Apprenticeship Ambassador Network since March 2020; she has been responsible for not only setting out the strategy for engagement with schools and colleges in her own region but has also helped to shape and influence a significant amount of national activity in regards to building packages of training for new young apprenticeship ambassadors. During the pandemic, while on furlough, she connected with regional ambassadors, continuing to encourage and inspire them to carry out their advocacy work online alongside signposting them to the range of support services available. She led an online roundtable discussion (with 300 ambassadors) with a Government Minister on boosting the number of young people engaged in apprenticeships and the impact of the young ambassadors. She was named as the North East Degree Apprentice of the Year in the National Apprenticeship Awards in 2019 and is now Co-vice Chair of the National Apprenticeship Ambassador Network.

Omair Ali Shah BEM (25)    For services to the community in Barking and Dagenham, Greater London during Covid-19, especially to support the most vulnerable members of society – the elderly and those deemed at increased risk of contracting Covid-19. He collaborated with Voluntary Community Sector (VCS), local businesses and the local authority to organise the collection of food donations, offered advice and support to those needing financial help as well as pointing those requiring counselling and health advice to the appropriate service providers. He also played a prominent role in organising the temporary closure of the mosque, whilst ensuring continued religious guidance between the 20,000 worshippers to maintain spiritual support among the local faith community.

PREVIOUS YEARS (note – these names are taken from media reports – if you are aware of omissions please contact us.)

2021 – 14 winners: Amika George MBE (at 21 the youngest in this group) and  Clegg Bamber MBE (25) for their period poverty campaigns; Raheem Sterling MBE* (26) Race equality campaigner and charity founder ; Rhys Mallows BEM (25) Covid equipment innovator ; Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson BEM (27)  for services to young people. Molly Stear BEM (23) founded Mollys Meals in response to Covid; Atif Ali BEM (26) Covid community volunteer; Craig Browne BEM (28), charity fundraiser and community volunteer ; Christopher Edwards BEM (28) for services to and role model of disability in sport ; Kiera Byland BEM (23) for services to special needs in sport, Special Needs Olympic competitor and Gold medal winner; Carl Konadu BEM (28),for supporting and empowering young people (CEO and co-founder of 2-3 Degrees as a youthled start up); Rhammel Afflick BEM (26), Community for work in London, including Director of Comms for PRIDE (Comms lead at the British Youth Council); Alex Anderson BEM (20) for charity work/raising awareness and challenging labels of young people on the Autism Spectrum ASD (Air Cadet) and Samah Khalil BEM (20) Young Mayor of Oldham, youthvoice, participation and representation.

2020 – 11 winners: In the 2020 New Year’s Honours list Matthew Otubu BEM (age 24) former member of the Youth Parliament for services to young people in the UK and Africa, Ibrahim Yousaf BEM (13), for fundraising for cancer research, joined the inspiring Mete Coban MBE (age 27) for establishing My Life My Say, giving youth-voice an effective platform on Brexit, as well as campaigning for young voter-registration. In addition, Yusuf Patel MBE, 25, is now an MBE for services to community cohesion and interfaith in Redbridge; and BEMs for disability advocate Jack Marshall BEM, 21, Hannah Phillips BEM, 24, for services to charity, and finally Kaiya Swain BEM, 25, for services to the World Skills Competition. In the summer three more names were added to mark the Queens Birthday, making 2020 a record breading year. Amelia Collins-Patel MBE (22) for her services to young people, including volunteering for Project Hope @ylprojecthope,  who have launched their own Young Peoples Honours List at the end of 2020; Marcus Rashford MBE (22) for his campaigning on free school meals, and Theo Wride BEM (16) for making PPE during Covid crisis, and John Challenger BEM (17) for his service to young people, particularly his coordinating role at Sea Cadets.

2019 – 4 winners : MBEs were awarded to Saeed Atcha MBE (22), activist, former trustee of Step Up To Serve and founder of Explode magazine; and to the CEO of Patchwork Foundation; Imran Sanaullah MBE (age 26) engaging young people from minorities in politics, and Anna Rose Barker MBE  (age 28) for services to young people including being a former Chair of the British Youth Council. And a BEM to Richard Collins BEM (age 17, Asperger’s Support)

2018 – Lucia Mee BEM(age 18) an organ donation campaigner from Northern Ireland and Tyler Murphy BEM(age 22) who set up the Tyler’s Trust to support others who share his brain-tumour condition.

2017 Jeremiah Emmanuel BEM (age 18) was someone I knew from his work in setting up the ‘One Big Community’ anti-knife crime campaign at the age of 13, and then as Lambeth’s rep to the UK Youth Parliament, was changemaker ).  He joined Devan Witter BEM  (age 19) who was winner for founding antibullying campaign Action Against Bullying.

2016Jonjo Heuerman BEM (13) was the youngest yet, to receive a BEM, having raised more than £235,000 for Cancer Research UK’s Bobby Moore Fund.

2015 – None Known

2014Rosina St James BEM (23) a former trustee and Chair of the British Youth Council, Rosina St James (age 23) was awarded a BEM for her work on Health and Wellbeing for young people.

2013Anisa Hagdadi BEM for founding Beatfreeks, an award-winning social enterprise engaging young people in arts, training and leadership opportunities. Returned the medal in 2020 in protest at the word ’empire’. 

2012 – 5 winners: Teenage sisters Alice Pyne BEM (16) and Milly Pyne BEM (13) are awarded British Empire Medals for their services to charity. Alice was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and she and her sister have worked tirelessly to raise money to aid research into the disease; Robyn Keeble MBE, age 21,  for services to community activism and youth empowerment – worked with other young people to set up ‘SW!TCH ID’ to encourage young people to make a positive contribution in their local community; Christopher Preddie OBE 24 – services to youth people in London; and Ashley Sweetland MBE age 28, for services to young people and youth participation, such as the UK Youth Parliament where he was was both a trustee and interim Exec Director;

1949 When he died in 2015, Bernard Davis BEM still held the record as the youngest person ever to be awarded a BEM. In 1949, at the age of 16, Bernard risked his life in rescuing a 3-year-old girl from a window ledge in a bomb-damaged block of flats in 1949 near Borough Market. I’m sure the impact of the award was celebrated at the time, but although few will recognise Bernard’s name today, the impact of that heroic action lasted a lifetime for the little girl whose life he saved, when Bernard literally ‘stepped up’ to serve. Since then several even young recipients (13) have been honoured but none for saving a life.

Campaign for Youth Recognition:

I hope that in sharing the examples of younger winners its prompts us all to think of others who would deserve to be recognised and to do something about it. Nominate! Not just nationally, but locally too, there are lots of other awards and ways to recognise young people. I have made it one of my annual New Year Resolutions to campaign for more young leaders and #youthvoice champions to be recognised in general and nominated for Queens Honours in particular, and started this campaign for youth recognition in 2017. Publishing this list is part of that effort.

“Do something amazing – why not not nominate someone amazing! Not just for these national awards but for one of the many other national or local awards out there.” #nominatetoday” James Cathcart, Director Young Voices Heard.

Commentary – too young?  Giving awards to those so young, especially those under 20, is not without its critics who argue that early one-off achievements or short-term volunteering are not comparable with a lifetime of service, and might be better being Pride of Britain nominations or Points of Light Awards (from the Prime Minister). However that doesn’t take account of the future potential that such recognition will help to sustain, the increased likelihood of more opportunities coming the way of winners, and marking these young leaders as flagbearers of a new generation and shapers of all of our futures. These are the three factors that could determine when younger candidates are successful.

Comment – empire?  Some young people have reservations about accepting an award because they either feel they don’t deserve it, or object to the negative association with the word ‘Empire’  although, to my knowledge, no young person has publicly refused an award. There is a group of older people who have turned down or returned awards for a range of reasons, not just to protest ’empire’ but because they are simply not interested in recognition. There is also a group, who, whilst accepting awards, campaign to change the wording of the Queen’s awards from ‘Excellence’ not ‘Empire’ and several young people in the list below  have joined this campaign, including last years youngest award recipient Amika George MBE (21) who explains in an article for Vogue on why she ‘nearly rejected the honour’. N   [Previous winners Anna Barker and Rhammel Afflick have also signed up as supporters to the #excellentnotempire campaign, and Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, a new winner like Amika has written about it – making a total of 4 that we are aware of – please contact below to update].

Note: *The list of young people in this blog are either those that I have known personally or have come across through their work. There are probably more but age if not published in the Honours list, and not all people agree to publicity. Ive not included those who have been recognised for their achievements in the sport and the arts alone. Anyone reading this article who knows of nationally “Honoured” young people Ive overlooked, please get in touch. JC


 Young Voices Heard Resolutions / Campaigns, championed by James since 2017 

    1. To campaign for a FT Youth Minister and Youth Policy Advisory Panel, to develop and coordinate Youth Strategy and policy.
    2. To encourage more young people to apply and be appointed as Trustees/Directors, and for Boards to recruit/include them as normally as they would any other demographic or minority that adds value to governance, for their skills, perspective and network rather than their tokenistic representation. The stats are poor and hardly changed over the last 15 years.
    3. To challenge stereotypical and ill-informed attitudes towards young people that block their potential to contribute to society as active citizens. From voting to volunteering, as doers, decision-makers, campaigners and representatives, young people have skills, networks and energy that could add value to communities, boardrooms and even parliament. Lets listen, work with and invest in young people.

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