Schoolchildren from across South Yorkshire were honoured in a glamorous awards event on Friday as part of South Yorkshire Police’s Inspiring Youth Project.
Hundreds of teenagers and their families attended the Inspiring Youth Awards, held at the Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s Hotel on Friday 20 January to celebrate and recognise the students’ achievements.
The Inspiring Youth Project, which is run by volunteers from the Force and is now in its 12th year, sees teenagers work on projects to develop their education, improve their self-esteem and build on their life skills.
The students become ambassadors in their communities. Their faces are known and they make lots of friends in their communities while completing the scheme, which they can be working on for up to a year.
They complete their portfolio with the support of school staff and a dedicated police mentor who visits their school throughout the project to help students complete their projects, as one of the founding members of the project, Special Constable Bobby Dev, explains:
“It is a privilege to be project manager of such a positive and worthwhile initiative and the students this year are all winners in my eyes.
“Working closely with schools and young people to give them confidence, to further their education and produce a piece of work they can be truly proud of is an immensely rewarding experience and this awards evening recognises the fantastic achievements of those young people.”
Peace Osahon Omoigui, from Parson Cross, Sheffield, won the top prize at the event. Peace, who attends Firth Park Academy in Sheffield, said afterwards: “I was really excited - I couldn’t believe that I won to top prize. My mum is really proud of me and that meant the most.
“I learnt a lot from taking part in the scheme. Most of all, I learnt that helping other people is really rewarding, that hard work pays off and that you need to persevere and keep going. I feel that my self-confidence has really improved and it’s good to help others.”
Chief Constable Stephen Watson opened the event, presented each individual certificate and presented the overall winner with her prize and a trophy for her school.
Speaking after the event, he said: “This is an evening I have been looking forward to and it was wonderful to see everyone. ‘Inspiring’ is a great word to describe the achievements of these extraordinary young people, indeed I am inspired by them all.
“They have all worked so hard in their endeavours and it is worth remembering that this has been in their own time, over and above their existing commitments at school and at home.
“It has been particularly nice to witness how proud the parents and teachers are. I would also like to pay tribute to Bobby Dev and his team for their hard work and enthusiasm in making nights like this possible, where we can celebrate those who are the future of South Yorkshire.”
Also in attendance were Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings and the Rt. Hon. The Lord David Blunkett, who presented five students with a visit to the Palace of Westminster. Lord Lieutenant for South Yorkshire Andrew Coombe also presented certificates to students and High Sheriff Dr Julia MacDonald presented prizes to students including a visit to Cutlers’ Hall.
To date, around 13,000 young people have taken part in the scheme which is currently run in 17 secondary schools in Sheffield and Rotherham.
For information, or to get involved, visit www.southyorks.police.uk/inspiringyouth<http://www.southyorks.police.uk/inspiringyouth>.