Young Active Citizens Awards winners announced

Four young people from across the West Midlands have been named as this year’s winners of the Young Active Citizens Awards.

Launched by The West Midlands Lieutenancy in 2020, the Young Active Citizen Awards are open to young people across the West Midlands who show dedication and passion to help others. They acknowledge their outstanding contribution and celebrate the extraordinary things that they do – from fundraising to mentoring, volunteering to championing special causes.

Embracing the Commonwealth values of humanity, equality and diversity, this year’s awards celebrated the impact that young people are having on the communities in which they live and how they are helping to improve the cultural life of the wider region.

The winners each receive a signed certificate from the Lord Lieutenant for the West Midlands and a trip to the House of Lordsfor afternoon tea.

Joey Rowley (9) from First Halesowen Scout Group wins the under 11 category.  He has overcome serious physical health challenges to earn his Chief Scout Bronze Award (the highest honour a Beaver Scout can gain) before throwing himself into becoming an active member of the Cubs programme always with a smile on his face and not allowing his health issues to hold him back.

He has also found the time to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the place that has given him such good care,so other children can benefit from the same help in the future.

Joel Rushton 17) from Walsall, winner of the 12-17 year old category, has given up his personal time to work with the local authority to shape services for young people with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities).  Joel, who himself has autism and anxiety, has spoken up about his personal situation and ensured that others’ voices are heard, and their experiences are considered.  

He has also been instrumental in co-designing and producing Walsall’s new SEND Local Offer website which has received positive feedback from the local community and the Department for Education.

There are joint winners in the 18-25 category. Megan Baynham (23) from Birmingham has shared her experiences growing up and living with a disability to help improve the lives of young people with special educational needs.

Megan is an active member of the HY5! Youth Forum, representing voices and opinions of others, as well as working with partners and professionals in Wolverhampton to drive positive change.

She has also completed an Independent Living Skills course at Dudley College where she has been an advocate for other students on changes that are needed.                                               

Mia Clarkson (21) also a winner in the 18-25 category was nominated by St. John Ambulance for her volunteering. Studying medicine in Birmingham, Mia has spent hundreds of hours at events across the city using her first aid skills and has set up a local All Service Unit for 5–10-year-olds.

This has included training as a youth leader, planning the entire programme and recruiting volunteers for the weekly sessions which are not only fun but also provide young people with important lifesaving skills. The Lord Lieutenant, Sir John Crabtree OBE, said:

“Huge congratulations go to our very worthy winners as well as all those who entered.  The judges would like to recognise the greater number of nominations received coming from a wider spread of schools, colleges and organisations than in previous years.

“It is heartening to see the diversity of activities in which young people are involved and particularly considering that many of them are themselves disadvantaged.

“We know that every day young people are doing fantastic things to help others and our awards celebrate this. It is humbling to hear their stories, and time and time again I am impressed with their ingenuity and the lengths they go to in order to make a positive contribution to help others.”


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