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Our Annual Awards Night
Awards Night – 12 July 2019
Our Awards Night took place at Anglia Ruskin University, at 6.30pm on Friday 12 July.
Awards were presented at Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford, to 15 young people that had experienced an incredible journey during their time with the charity. We were especially grateful to have Lady Ruggles-Brise, Honorary President of YMCA Essex and Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Essex assist staff in presenting the awards.Several of our young people receiving awards shared their story of how our YMCA has helped them and the positive impact it has had on their lives. Chief Executive, Andy Drake, said “we are grateful to our incredible children and young people who shared their stories and represented the wider work we are achieving across the county. The evening was a great opportunity for us all to come together and recognise their achievements and celebrate their journey and time with us.”We were pleased to feature some of our winners in the Essex Chronicle on 29 August 2019. You can see this article shortly.

Positive Attitude Superhero Award – Lewis

Lewis is pictured with Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Essex and his family

Our Childcare practitioners tell us that despite facing challenges, Lewis is always cheerful and positive. They said “His cheeky grin lights up the room and he is kind and considerate to his peers and the staff. Besides food (his first question is always “What’s for tea?!”), his passions are music, particularly George Ezra and The Greatest Showman. He is also a big fan of Strictly Come Dancing and is always eager to show us the steps! His eagerness and enthusiasm make it a pleasure to have him in After School Club.

Helping Out Superhero Award – Robert 

Robert is pictured with Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Essex

Robert’s nomination stated that he “has matured a lot and encourages other children to behave positively helping to keep the peace. He helps out at breakfast club with tidying up and making sure things are put away properly. He is happy to play with any age and helps to settle in newcomers and younger children who are sad.”

Everyday Superhero Award – Milena 

Milena is pictured with her brother and  Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Essex 

As part of Milena’s nomination, we were told: “Milena is very kind and caring. She is always concerned when other children are sad, she is always the last one picking up toys and making sure they are put away correctly. Milena also ensured her brother is behaving positively and reminds of how he should be acting.”

Recognition Award – Tommy 

Tommy is a very personable member of Great Baddow who is very helpful and respectful to staff and a role model to other young people.

Recognition Award – Matt

Matt suffered a massive trauma at school and has had a very tough recovery period. The resilience & progression he’s shown both emotionally & physically has been phenomenal. Over the 6-week ‘Starting Point’ course, with our Safer Community Worker Josephine Smith, he has worked so incredibly hard on developing a positive mindset & has inspired others in the process. This young man has one bright future ahead of him.

Recognition Award – Alex 

Alex has recently been placed in a permanent foster placement and the way that he has managed this really difficult time has been awesome. His resilience, maturity and sheer sunny personality has really set him apart from his peers.

Recognition Award – Jay 

Jay pictured here with Sophie Whitelaw, Youth Worker.

Jay has had a huge improvement on his attendance and being able to manage his own feelings and frustrations. He’s working really hard to achieve his full potential.

Recognition Award – Sophie 

Sophie is pictured here with Sophie Whitelaw, Youth Worker.

Sophie has improved her attendance record, shown great progress on managing her feelings and emotions and has been working hard to achieve her full potential.

Volunteer of the Year Award – Ellie

Ellie is one of our most proactive volunteers who is dedicated and loyal. She turns up to youth clubs on time, helps out and makes sure our young people are happy and enjoying the session. We would really like Ellie to know that her contribution makes a big difference to the service we offer and want to recognise her today.

Personal Progression Award – Alison 

Alison joined YMCA Colchester in 2018 and it very quickly became apparent that she had difficulty reading and writing. After exploring this in a support meeting, it became clear that due to a poor family life and her not speaking out at school, she had slipped through the net regarding education. When YMCA Essex first started working with Alison, her Maths and English were at a key stage 1 level which is about age 5-6 and this had a major impact on her independence and ability to find employment. Alison has worked hard and has improved so much that she has gained Entry Level 3 in Maths and is working towards Level 1 English. Alison has now been diagnosed with dyslexia which means she will get much needed extra help to allow her to gain English qualifications in the near future.

Personal Progression Award – Allan 

Allan came to us from London where he had been a victim of knife crime and has done incredibly well here despite having no family support in the area.  He has done exceptionally well at college gaining distinctions across the board this year and, following the colleges nomination, he has been short-listed for the Colchester youth awards.

Personal Progression Award – Chelsea 

Chelsea is doing really well at college and she is now doing her own documentary on mental health for her college course and has sourced appropriate people and relevant agencies herself, has done all the planning and has been very sensitive to the issues faced around mental health with the young tenants at YMCA Colchester.  Chelsea has also become a YMCA Essex volunteer, helping out with events and fundraising, through using her photography and videography skills.

Personal Progression Award – Lewis 

Lewis is pictured below with Nicky Allen, Housing Officer

Lewis has come to the end of his 2 years with YMCA Colchester and has now successfully moved into his own flat. While living at YMCA Colchester, Lewis decided he needed to come to terms with his past experiences of abuse. In the last year Lewis has taken some control and spoken up about the abuse to the police and social services. He has engaged with counselling both from a student counsellor and more recently CARA who specialise in abuse.
Lewis has come to terms with what happened previously and is learning how to move forward with his life in a positive way. He has had such an incredibly emotional journey and is now on track to a happy and fulfilling life. Throughout everything Lewis has shown exceptional kindness and compassion to everyone around him even when that has not been returned.

Chair of the Board Award – Al 

Al is pictured here with Lady Ruggles-Brise

Al received our Chair of the Board Award. Al has not only shown dedication and commitment to his life’s goals but has done so with such tenacity that any setbacks, disappointments or disadvantages have only served to drive him forward with a determination which gives me such hope for the future of his generation.
Al is an inspiration to those that know him, both at college, while volunteering and at YMCA Colchester. His quietly confident but unassuming nature makes him a pleasure to be around and to know. Al will move on from YMCA Colchester soon and the gap he will leave in the family there will be felt by all who have called him a friend or have had the honour to work with him.

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