Exceptional young people receive prestigious awards

Cllr Abdullahi

A celebration of the achievements of inspiring young people living in Enfield took place last week.

The annual Ignite Enfield Youth Achievement Awards ceremony, organised by Enfield Council, highlights the success of young people and their continued commitment to the community in and around Enfield.

This year’s ceremony, held at Cineworld in Southbury ward, was hosted by Enfield Young Leaders Edith Arthur and Chaquelle Boothe.

Five awards were presented by the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at Enfield Council, Cllr Abdul Abdullahi, Darren Paul, the borough’s Young Mayor; and Council officers.

The Ignite Awards was created by 17 Inspiring Young Leaders (age 14 to 19) to recognise the achievements of young people who live or go to school or college in the borough.

Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Abdul Abdullahi, said: “I’d like to thank our Inspiring Young Leaders for creating the Ignite Awards.

“It was a real privilege to be invited to the awards ceremony to meet so many amazing and committed young local people, each with their own personal story to tell.

“I was delighted to present the Inspiring Sunshine Award to Harshi Gudhka who attends the Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Youth Centre every week.

"She is an inspiration, as she is always happy and smiling, and ensures young people and new members to the centre are made to feel welcome.”

The award winners

Inspiring Young Volunteer: Jessica Botchway - 17 years old

Jessica has been volunteering with Exodus Youth Worx UK for over a year. She has been instrumental in developing and running the Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Programme. Jessica has a bubbly personality and engages with young people at their level. Jessica has dedicated two evenings a week to the programme for more than 12 months while still at sixth form. She has ideas regularly for fun and new activities and has bundles of energy which is contagious to all around her.

360 Award: Jorja Starling - 14 years old

Jorja was nominated for showing great determination and resilience during a particularly difficult period in her personal life. She was able to improve her school life and her attitude to learning.  Jorja’s school attendance was below 60% and has since increased to above 95% and her teachers now speak fondly of her, particularly for the effort she makes in lessons and taking on new challenges.

Sporting Achievement: Pawal Markowski - 15 years old

Pawal is extremely passionate about boxing. He was unable to become a boxer due to a barrier, and although he was devastated at the time, it did not stop him from excelling. He was offered a role of assistant coach which he accepted. Pawal is a great role model to other boxers within the Joe Morris Boxing Club, where he delivers beginner sessions to new boxers, helping them to understand the basics of boxing.

Inspiring Young Performers: Caleb Brown, Keyana Degale, Emmanuel Papoola, Michael Harper, Kimor-Cartier Harper and Reuben Fakokunde from Freshsteps Independent School in Enfield.

The Rudolph Walker inter-School Drama Awards (iSDA) is an annual nationwide competition. Only six schools are chosen from hundreds to participate in the finals and are matched with a celebrity actor/mentor to help them develop a 10 minute play about a subject of their choice.

Freshsteps Independent School was shortlisted as one of the six schools to take part. It is the first time ever a Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) school has been shortlisted.

The six students taking part in the performance all are Special Educational Needs (SEN) children with diverse abilities and special needs, yet are courageous enough to put themselves forward to be judged as they shared their personal stories of being Neurodivergent (ADHD, ASD), to an audience of thousands at the Shaw Theatre in London in July.

The play named First Steps showcased the ‘expectations’ that society place on SEND students and shines the light on their superpowers. The students used drama to highlight that only 12.6% of children with SEN are supported and why it is time to change. The students are not just inspiring young Enfield, but the world and their bravery to speak out to challenge society’s beliefs is worthy of an Ignite Award.

Inspiring Sunshine: Harshi Gudhka - 19 years old

Harshi was nominated for the Inspiring Sunshine Award as she attends the SEND Youth Centre every week. She is always happy and smiling and ensures young people are OK and makes new members feel welcome.

Click here for more information on Youth Enfield

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