The Cabinet Office in partnership with Young Voices Heard and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport hosted an event on 28 July 2021 to demystify the Honours system and promote nominations of, and by, young people. The case studies below taken from a script of the presentation.

More guidance on how to write an honours nomination can be found at  Nominations forms and guidance specifically for those working in the community and voluntary sector related nominees can be found here and sent to

The case studies and presentation slides are posted here in support of a campaign to promote great youth recognition in public life. Return to menu to refer to the Young Voices Heard Queens ‘Youth’ Honours List for more examples. [Ed: James]


“Traditionally, very few honours nominations are made for people under 30. The event, aimed primarily towards young people working in the voluntary and social action sectors and their supporters, gave participants the opportunity to hear about the honours system.

Honours recipients Mete Coban MBE, Chief Executive of My Life My Say; Molly Bufton Stear BEM, Founder of ‘Molly’s Meals’; and Carly Jones MBE, British Autism Advocate and Member of the Community and Voluntary Services Honours Committee talked about the personal impact of receiving an honour.

1/ Molly Bufton Stear BEM, 23, created ‘Molly’s Meals’ to ensure that the most vulnerable in her community who were unable to leave their homes during the first lockdown in 2020 had access to filling and nutritious hot meals. Molly’s Meals provided over 2,500 free hot meals to those in need of additional help in Kenilworth, Warwickshire during that difficult period and has since become a permanent fixture in the community. When asked about what inspired her, she said

“I grew up living with my grandparents, so the whole reason I did it was because I knew that older people would be struggling, especially if they were living by themselves. I felt so worried when I thought of all the old people who would be on their own and about how they would get their shopping and how they would cook themselves their meals. I put a post on Facebook saying I would cook and deliver hot meals to anyone who needed it for free and it just snowballed from there. I was physically cooking for weeks.”

Asked how she felt about receiving her honour, Molly said “it was just so surreal. When I got the call I thought it was a joke. It didn’t sink in until later.” Adding, “It was really an honour and a privilege. It has brought me closer to so many people again.”

2/ Mete Coban MBE, 29, is the Chief Executive and co-founder of ‘My Life My Say’ an organisation that aims to empower young people to participate in politics and democracy.

“Coming from Hackney, one of the most deprived boroughs in London, many growing up there felt powerless, neglected and unheard. I set up My Life My Say to address low youth participation in elections and make sure the youth are able to have their voices heard. My Life My Say,” Mete added, “intends to bring together key decision makers and those in power together with young people.”

They have managed to reach over 2.7 million people online since the start of Lockdown and have worked with more than 40,000 young people face to face since 2013. Receiving an honour “was the last thing I would have expected”, he said.

“Obviously it’s a huge honour and privilege and, as I say, I come from a background where someone that looks and sounds like me would never often be considered for something like this. My parents are from a non-recognised state, Northern Cyprus, so they came here as immigrants and started from scratch and for their son 20 years later to be recognised by Her Majesty is a huge honour for the family, but also it means a lot to my community. Recognising the outstanding of work of people from the area “is changing the narrative, showing that there are a lot of talented people from the area and also acting as motivation and inspiration showing people that you don’t have to be a famous footballer or tennis player or whatever it is to get an honour – you could be a normal person that is doing good work in the community.” Adding, “It’s a huge honour that the Honours System recognises that.”

“It didn’t really sink in until I was about to go to the Palace. I went with my Dad and just seeing his reaction was worth it.”

Mete was presented with his MBE award by HRH Prince Charles. He said that the best thing about receiving an Honours award was that it helps people like himself and Molly and other young people who have been recognised do more with their work.

“I think that is the whole purpose of the honours system. It’s about recognising people’s achievements and unlocking doors for them to allow them to do more and access an even wider audience.”

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