Thank you to everyone who organised, nominated for, presented at and attended the Room for Young People Conference and Awards. It was fantastic to see so many new and familiar faces, and to feel inspired by the stories of young people.
The Inspiration Awards recognised 19 nominations in six categories for amazing young people, projects and staff from across the supported housing network.
The awards were as follows:
- Taking Action: for individuals or projects that inspired others by encouraging volunteering activity, campaigns, or any form of community engagement – sponsored by Utility Aid.
- Positive Partners: for local or national partnerships working in an inspiring way to increase the opportunities available to young people – sponsored by Travis Perkins
- Enterprising Futures: for individuals or projects that inspired others by developing social enterprise and business solutions or new employment pathways for young people – sponsored by SEMBLE
- Heart for Art: for individuals or projects that inspired others by expressing young people’s skills and talents through the use and promotion of any art form – sponsored by Rixonway Kitchens
- Staff Star: for staff inspiring through efforts made to create a positive impact for others – sponsored by LiveWest
- Personal Breakthrough: for a young person inspiring through their efforts to overcome a challenge in their life and make a breakthrough in their goals – sponsored by The Foyer Federation.
Shortlisted nominations featured three from Foyers, including one winner who took home the Enterprising Futures Award.
Other Foyers shortlisted were Josh Owens from the Bridge Foyer under the Personal Breakthrough Award, recognised “for showing inspiring determination to overcome mental health challenges to complete sixth form with brilliant A level results and secure a place at University to follow his dream of becoming a primary school teacher”. Also in this category was Sam Majid from Foyer For the Island, shortlisted “for showing exceptional resilience in overcoming his experiences as a child refugee from Sudan, completing his A levels in Maths and English and being a well-liked resident at his Foyer service”.
The Awards were judged by InspireChilli’s team of youth activists. Colin Falconer, Director of Inspirechilli, said: “The judges were wowed by the number and range of nominations. It was a tough job to produce the final shortlist. A particular highlight was the winner for Taking Action, the amazing Aaliyah Rehman, a 16-year-old role model at Sport Birmingham, using her passion for football to help coach and inspire growing numbers of young girls to take part in competitive sports. We hope all the winners and nominees will inspire others to apply for next year.”
The following day, the conference was hosted by two inspiring young people, Ellie and Ryan, who shared their stories with the delegates and got the day started with a bang. Paralympic skiing star Anna Turney spoke about her journey and inspired the room with her determination to challenge the stereotype of disability and follow her dreams after becoming paralysed in a ski accident in her 20s.
There were a series of engaging youth-led workshops, including one facilitated by The Foyer Federation’s Director of Network, Joel Lewis. We heard from YMCA Derbyshire about the success of their partnership with Toyota, brokered by The Foyer Federation, as well as Aldwyck Housing about their work with EY Foundation. It was great to hear that the Toyota relationship had such a positive impact on the young people from YMCA Derbyshire Foyer, including one who now works at the Foyer as an HR Assistant!
The other workshops covered topics including youth-led approaches to mental health and wellbeing, and ways services can be brave and create opportunities for young people to be listened to and create change. Superbeing Labs, The Mix and Clarion Digital Inclusion Team held an interactive session focusing on how the digital landscape affects young people today.