Congratulations to Jay Frood BEM (18), Joe Seddon BEM (26) and George Imafidon MBE (27) , who were recognised in the first Kings Birthday Honours List and will be added to YVH’s ‘Youth’ Honours List (2012 -2023) to showcase role models aged 30 and under, and a special mention and congratulations to Matteo Bergamini MBE (31)/founder & CEO of ShoutoutUK), for their exceptional public service, campaigning or leadership of community projects. Contact us with other names so we can add them too! .. and support the #Campaign 4YouthRecognition which aims to inspire more nominations of young people to national awards. See below for details and #HowtoNominate
Jay Frood aged 18, receives a BEM (British Empire Medal) for his work in campaigning against bullying after being bullied himself when he was younger because he was a dancer. He created the #BoysCanDance anti-bullying social media campaign. He was backed by well-known figures including Diversity’s Ashley Banjo, which in turn led to him being invited to Downing Street to talk to MPs. ‘Junior’ Jo a student in Liverpool is the youngest member to receive an Honour in this list.
Joe Seddon, aged 26, receives an BEM for services to social mobility. He is the founder of Zero Gravity, a tech company that supports low-income students into university and careers. He is also a champion of #youthvoice and former trustee of the British Youth Council. “t’s been an incredible journey so far scaling the @zerogravity platform from mentoring 150 to 8,000+ students from low-opportunity backgrounds into top universities”.
George Imafidon, aged 27, receives an MBE for services to young people (as well as engineering and technology) because of his work through a grassroots social enterprise which he co-founded – Motivez. It brings together young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and employers looking to attract diverse talent. He is also a champion of STEM education (science, tech, engineering and maths . “Massive thank you to whoever nominated me.. and family, friends, mentors and partners for putting your trust in us and supporting our work @motivez_uk over the 8 years The marathon continues”
Matteo Bergamini MBE at 31 was only a few days older that our usual definition to be included in the Youth Honours list, when the Kings honours list was announced in June. So I’m making an exception because he is another great example of an inspiring young role model. He was recognised for his services ‘charity, social enterprise and education’. At the age of 22 he founded ShoutOutUK, a ‘multi-award winning social enterprise that provides impartial Political and Media Literacy training and campaigns focused on democratic engagement and combatting disinformation online, tailored to local circumstances and culture’.
James Cathcart (Director of YVH) said “I’ve known Matteo for many years and been delighted to work in partnership with him and ShoutOutUK. I’m thrilled he has been recognised for his hard work and influence and am sure this will amplify the cause of greater engagement of young people in democracy – If you know of other young people like Matteo then back my campaign and #nominatenow”
YVH searches social media and news reports to identify young honours as the Cabinet Office doesn’t release data by age. Please contact us to update our list below.
For information and on how to make a nomination watch 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 (cabinetoffice.gov.uk) Watch the webinair discussion and tips, hosted by Monwara Ali with campaigner James Cathcart and award winner Carl Konadu, here.
Do something amazing and nominate someone amazing today!
“Young people, aged 30 and under, only make up around 6% of total award winners. I started this campaign in 2016 to increase that percentage by promoting nominations, not just for royal honours, but for any national public recognition awards (Diana Awards, Point of Light Awards, Pride of Britain). Targeting those the less well-known achievements and under-represented minorities, my call is to nominate those for whom the award will be a boost for their campaign, their fundraising, or community action. Such recognitions is an encouragement to these young people to continue to develop their public service and become young leaders who are participating and influencing our society for the better, earlier and alongside other age groups. Recognition will also draw attention to them as role models to inspire other young people to also take the initiative. I hope their stories will inspire you to make a nomination.
To do that, with advice and in partnership with the Cabinet Office awards team, we have put together some information and tips to make the process for nomination royal awards more accessible.
Young Honours list: The Awards team don’t yet publish data by age so I have been collating and published award recipients aged up to 30 since 2012. There were 1106 award recipients in total this year – so four is a very small proportion of the tends of thousands of young people involved in significant volunteering for their communities, including campaigners, young trustees and fundraisers – (Ive not included sports figures like the amazing Young Lionesses, as they are already on the public eye and usually have no shortage of nominations) . James Cathcart.
Tip: Remember, it can take up to 18 months – 2 years for an award to be made so consider not only whose who have made an impact in the past, but how raising their profile will have an impact on others in the future, promoting them and their cause, as well as inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.
Number of awards we have identified in previous years: 2023 = 7
2022 = 16 2021 = 14 2020 = 11 2019 = 4 2018 = 2 2017 = 2 2016 = 1
10 YEARS OF YOUTH HONOURS LIST – INSPIRING CASE STUDIES
The number of young people getting awards for youth social action has been increasing year on year since 2011 peaking last year 2022 at 16. This year under King Charles there has been a significant drop to 7 ! Even if we were to include all those excelling in sport and the arts young people featured in the honours list is still only a fraction of the population. There were 79 new young people in the New Years 21/22 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. I want to change that ! Will you help? The YVH Youth Honours 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 of award winners and stories (Previous year blogs have more details of that case studies)
KINGS BIRTHDAY 2023: 3 winners (so far) Case studies scroll up for Jay, Joe and George.
KINGS NEW YEAR Jan 23: 4 winners
Dara McAnulty BEM (18) for his environmental work and help for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dara’s award comes after several years of environmental activism as well as prizes for his writing about the natural world. He was 16 when he won the Wainwright Prize for nature writing for his book Diary of a Young Naturalist.
Elliott Lancaster MBE (25) for services to youth empowerment and sustainability. As well as being the creator of an project called Utter Rubbish, inventing an app which enables the public to report fly-tipping, check on bin collections and find out more about recycling. He is a trustee of One Young Voice, Spirit of Peace, the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and the Wolfpack Project.
Kieron Moir MBE (29) for services to young people, Scout Leader who was Vice Chair of the UK Board of Trustees.
Bethan Stimpson BEM (27) for services to young people. As Head of the Commonwealth Games legacy project she co-designed the first Commonwealth Games mini-volunteering programme and established Gen22 for 16–24-year-olds in 2021, with the programme now helping 1,000 young people to put their social action ideas into practice, and developing skills across digital, creative and physical activity projects. The Shropshire Star reported that she had “successfully won more than £1 million in funding, and established partnerships which are set to continue beyond the games.”
2022 – 16 winners
1/ Naomi Lea BEM (23) Cardiff #YouthVoice champion, volunteer campaigner and trustee, StepUpToServe/ and #iwillcampaign/movement for youth social action, and co founder of ProjectHope and services to young people particularly during Covid19; 2/ Katrina Lambert BEM (21) Edinburgh, #YouthVoice champion, for services to young people, trustee (Volunteering England) and lately co-Chair Back Youth Alliance services to young people (You can read Katrina’s interview by Young Voices Heard in 2020 as part of our PowerofYouth series); 3/ Patrick Cantellow BEM (23) Kent, #YouthVoice champion, volunteer campaigner and services to former #iwillcampaign ambassador, (You can read Patrick’s interview by Young Voices Heard in 2020 as part of our PowerofYouth series) young people, especially on youth employment, and board member of Youth Employment UK, 4/ & 5/ Elena Evans-Guillen BEM and Ruben Evans-Guillen BEM (11 year old twins) for raising nearly £50,000 directly for the NHS and NHS-related charities over the past three years, and who are the youngest recipients on the List. 6/ Alex Griffiths BEM (22), who receives a BEM for supporting carers, having been a young carer himself since the age of 5; 7/Tobias 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.; 8/ Amy Meek BEM (18) and 9/ 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. They have collected over 98,000 pieces of discarded plastic.; 10/ Max Woosey BEM (12) For services to Fundraising for the North Devon Hospice during Covid-19. A 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; 11/ 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; 12/ 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; 13/ 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. 14/ 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. 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; 15/ Emma Beauchamp BEM (24) For services to Apprenticeships and Skills: Chair, North East Young Apprenticeship Ambassador Network since March 2020; 16/ 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.
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.
2016 – Jonjo 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
2014 – Rosina 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.
2013 – Anisa 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” http://www.gov.uk/honours. 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 suited to being nominated for the Pride of Britain awards 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.
The Honours lists are the nations highest level of recognition, with massive media and local community coverage. Yet only a handful of young people under 30 are recognised each year from the average of 2000 awards. Setting aside celebrities, music and sports stars who well known already, this highest number of awards Ive discovered so far was in 2022 when only 16 (out of over 2000) were young people.
Comment – ’empire’ or ‘excellence’? 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, or value the 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 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
Other “Young Voices Heard” Campaigns
- To campaign for a FT Youth Minister and Youth Policy Advisory Panel, to develop and coordinate Youth Strategy and policy.
- 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.
- 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.