The achievements of young people from the Borough of Broxbourne were celebrated on Friday 29 March at the fifth Broxbourne Youth Awards at the Spotlight.

Fourteen awards were presented by representatives from the sponsors, including Aldwyck Housing Group, CEG, Cheshunt Football Club, Inland Homes, Tesco and County Councillor, Dave Hewitt. Other awards were presented by Charles Walker OBE MP, The Mayor of Broxbourne Councillor Carol Crump and Mark Mills-Bishop, the Leader of Broxbourne Borough Council. Winners were chosen from 274 nominations received online between November and January.

The Young Person’s Contribution to Culture was the first award presented, shared by actress and dancer Francesca Sorce from Haileybury Turnford, who contributes to many school performances, and Ethan Willmott, a guitarist studying at Hertford Regional College, who has performed at many events in the Borough. The Apprentice of the Year award was presented to James Campbell, who has overcome physical disabilities including deafness in one ear, for leading front of house duties for the Community Voluntary Services for Broxbourne and East Herts.

Other young people recognised for their achievements with awards include Holly Saggs who was presented with the Young Person’s Achievement Award for overcoming the loss of her father and achieving fantastic GCSE grades, especially in Fine Art, where one of her final pieces concentrated on her father’s love of music.

The Young Volunteer of the Year Award was shared between Molly Evans and Maddy Duke, who have given over 1,200 hours to help at the Boundary Park Next Generation Youth Project, and Kiran Rajani who assists at a variety of events put on by the Wormley and Turnford Big Local, including the Big Lunch, community Christmas parties and pop-up cinema. Kirsty Dewberry was awarded the Young Carer Award for supporting her mother and encouraging other young carers at Haileybury Turnford school.

The Dame Marion Roe Young Citizen of the Year award was established by Dame Marion to mark her retirement as Broxbourne’s Member of Parliament. Her successor, Charles Walker OBE MP, presented this year’s award to Kaitlyn Perkins who is a Corporal within the St John Ambulance, supporting many events for which she has also been awarded the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Cadet of the Year award.

The Todd Waldock Young Entrepreneur Award was established by Todd’s mother, Linda Williams, in memory of the former Broxbourne Primary School pupil who died whilst competing in the Dragon’s Apprentice Challenge. This year’s winner was Joe O’Grady, who has secured product donations worth £19,000 for the charity Teens Unite, to pass on to young people suffering with cancer.

In addition, the awards also recognise those who provide services and support to young people. Karen Morley-Hayes from CHEXS was recognised for her drive and dedication in supporting children with the Youth Worker of the Year award. Highly commended in this category were Keeley Blackwood, who works at the Council’s monthly X-Plosion youth disco and Lewis Hunt, who has developed his youth work skills at the Boundary Park Next Generation youth club.

The Inspirational Secondary School Staff award was presented to Steve Warner, Deputy Head at St Mary’s C.of.E High School, who has become a leading figure in Hertfordshire; educating schools, professionals, and the public around knife crime and gang culture. Highly commended in this category was Vanessa Elliot, who is the lead for safeguarding at Haileybury Turnford.

Various youth groups across the Borough have also been commended for their dedication to youth wellbeing, including the Broxbourne Youth Intervention Programme, which won Youth Project of the Year, for its multi-agency approach to tackling increasing levels of youth violence, drug misuse and knife crime through assemblies, mentoring, diversionary activities and support to parents. The Youth Disability Project of the Year award was presented to Focus Youth FC, a football team established from the Focus Youth Project at Waltham Cross Youth Centre. The team have won a number of competitions recently.

The Club of the Year award received the most nominations online (90), and was awarded to Ntertainers, a performing arts academy that runs across six locations in Broxbourne and Hoddesdon. Highly commended was Sensorize, a youth enterprise business from St Mary’s C.of.E High School, developing products for children with sensory processing disorders.

The final award of the evening was the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by the Mayor of Broxbourne, Cllr Carol Crump, to the Herts Young Mariners’ Base in Cheshunt, for providing a wide range of outdoor activities and water sports for over 60 years.

The Youth Awards ceremony was hosted by Jeremy Nicholas, who has worked for the BBC on TV and radio, including the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 5 Live. Alicia Hall, one of Broxbourne’s Deputy Youth Mayors, provided the Opening Remarks whilst Chris Bakalis, Youth Mayor for Broxbourne and chair of the Broxbourne Youth Council gave the closing comments. In the foyer, stalls from the Youth Mayor’s chosen charities, The Ollie Foundation and Talk Education Partnership raised awareness of their work.

The awards were punctuated with performances from local secondary schools. The Phoenix Singers from St Mary’s C.of.E High School opened the ceremony performing ‘Run’ which they recently sang at Wembley Arena. This was followed by singer Olivia Kempthorne from the John Warner School, who is studying music, drama and dance, and who has appeared in Eastenders. The final performance of the first half was by Sheridan Nyembo from St Mary’s High School, performing ‘I Will Always Love You’. The second half opened with a drama performance from Haileybury Turnford, marking the 70th anniversary of the NHS. Sponsors Aldwyck Housing Group showed a film of their services for residents, before Haileybury Turnford student, Seval Basri, sang ‘Someone You Loved’ by Lewis Capaldi.