The winners of the sixth Child Friendly Leeds awards were announced on Thursday 7 February in a star-studded ceremony at Leeds City Varieties Music Hall.
The awards – the only ones in Leeds to be wholly organised, planned and presented by young people – celebrate the talent, achievements and energy of the city’s children and young people, as well as highlighting the people, places and organisations that are going that extra mile to make Leeds a child friendly city.
With just under 600 nominations received, the winners were announced at the Superhero themed event in front of a 400-strong audience that included family, friends, city leaders and VIP guests (see below for the full list of winners and nominees).
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive member responsible for children and families, said: “The Child Friendly Leeds awards ceremony was an absolutely fantastic night, which not only celebrated the people, places and organisations that make Leeds a great place to grow up, but also showcased the hugely talented young people we have in Leeds.
“I would like to congratulate all the winners, those shortlisted and all the nominees – they are shining examples of what it really means to be child friendly.
“Becoming a child friendly city is not something we, as a council, can do alone. There are so many people across the city, who have really taken on board what we are trying to achieve, and these awards are a great opportunity for us to recognise and celebrate their great work and achievements.”
On the night, a special award was presented to the team at City Varieties Music Hall for their ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Child Friendly Leeds Awards’. Every year, since the awards began in 2013, the Learning Team at The Varieties has worked alongside Child Friendly Leeds to support the group of young people tasked with planning and delivering the awards ceremony. In 2019, ‘The Dynamics’, a group of 13 young people (some as young as 12-years-old), organised every aspect of the ceremony; from the design of the trophies and decorations, to selecting the Leeds-based young performers who entertained guests on the night.
Chris Blythe, CEO of City Varieties Music Hall, commented: “We are delighted to be involved with Child Friendly Leeds and act as host venue. The initiative is such a worthy cause and the awards offer a chance to recognise and congratulate all those children, young people, adults and organisations that are making a real difference to their communities and the wider city.”
The awards were sponsored by aql, Trinity Leeds, White Rose Shopping Centre, Hammerson/Victoria Gate and supported by Harvey Nichols, Marks & Spencer and First Direct Arena. Cllr Mulherin added: “Without the support from these businesses we would not have been able to hold this fantastic event and celebrate all the people in our city who are helping to make Leeds child friendly. We are always looking for more businesses that are willing to make a pledge to look at how they can contribute to making Leeds a great place to live for every child in the city.”
Winner and Nominees:
Child of the Year (Under 11)
Winner – Imogen Lawrence – suffered a major loss in her family and went through counselling. Through her perseverance and resilience, the rest of her school have come to learn about dealing with difficult issues.
Young Person of the Year (11–21)
Winner – John Dunwell – John had a kidney transplant several years ago and is now a successful sportsman. He is instrumental in fundraising so other Leeds competitors can attend the National Transplant Games.
Arqam Al Hadeed
Adult Making a Difference
Winner – Lisa James – Lisa set up ZigZag (a support group for young people with autism and their families) and runs a community shop in Cookridge, which provides work experience and volunteering opportunities for people with autism.
Deborah Kenny and Katie Lamb (Carr Manor)
Communities and Schools Working Together
Winner – ‘The Hall meets Hovingham’ dementia project – This involved pupils from Hovingham Primary visiting The Hall (a care home) with a view to raising awareness about dementia and contributing to the health and well-being of the older residents.
Karma Nirvana @ Co-Op Academy
The Students into Schools Project
The Bridge Community Church and Shakespeare Primary
Winner – Out 2 18 and Transtastic Youth Group- offer a safe place to meet for young people aged 13 – 25 years who identify as LGBT and are a lifeline for them.
Autism Bricks UK
Tribe Youth Group
Youth Matters (Crossgates and Whinmoor Ward)
Kick off boys youth dance project
Inspiring Creativity Through Arts and Culture
Winner – Life Experience- A social enterprise who support children, teenagers and vulnerable adults, by sharing real life experiences through the medium of poetry and drama, to encourage young people to avoid a life of crime and drug addiction.
Alive and Kicking Theatre Company
Northern Arts Factory
Phoenix Dance Theatre
Best Place in Leeds for Children and Young People
Winner – Herd Farm Residential and Activity Centre- Herd Farm is a grade two listed converted barn transformed into a 50-bed residential and outdoor inclusive activity centre for children and young people set in 16 acres of tranquil countryside.
Aireborough Supported Activity Scheme
Leeds MENCAP (vinery centre)
Leeds Urban Bike Park
Overall Contribution to Making Leeds a Child Friendly City
Winner – LandSec (White Rose and Trinity)- LandSec have provided work opportunities for young people, celebrated achievement by sponsoring Award ceremonies, run Christmas parties for foster and kinship families, and have provided family friendly toilets as well as a fantastic outdoor play space.
First Direct Bank- Fiona Hill
Leeds Rhinos Foundation
Outwood Bounds Trust
Think like a Pony