Bristol’s Young Heroes Awards
Words by Tessi Moghaddam
Invited by Amicus, who are currently celebrating the incredible achievement of 3 years as Ofsted Outstanding Vocalise attending the Bristol Young Heroes Awards. One of the nominees, Talia, had previously been supported by Amicus Foster Care. Although she didn’t win, read on to find out about the lovely evening full of glitz and celebration!
I am a new volunteer for Vocalise Bristol Magazine and was lucky enough to be given such a fantastic opportunity to represent them at the Bristol’s Young Heroes Awards. The event took place at We The Curious, in the heart of Bristol’s City Centre. It was also sponsored by major companies and institutions such as Bristol Water, Wales and West Utilities and UWE to name but a few.
This was a very new and different experience for me, so I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mags and her team at Amicus Foster Care, who looked after me at the event and took me under her wing. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have had as much confidence to interview the Young Hero Nominees, nor seizing the exciting opportunity to interview ITV presenter, Alex Beresford!
Upon first entering the event, I was shocked to see just how crowded it was, how dapper all the gentlemen were and the glamorous outfits the ladies wore. One particular outfit one lady wore that stood out to me immediately, was a beautiful backless, embellished floor length dress. Even though I knew the Young Heroes was in its sixth year running, I wasn’t expecting such an impressive turn out, so many nominees and familiar faces.
What was more surprising, was meeting Holly Maurice – founder of Community of Purpose and Bristol’s Young Heroes, who managed this event almost entirely by herself, with the exception of her best friend from school Amy Kington.
When asking Holly what inspired her to create such an event, she said ‘Back in 2012, Bristol saw a lot of riots and in turn young people got a lot of bad press. I wanted to highlight all the good things that young people were doing.’ What Holly says about the youth and their relationship with the news and media outlets being negative, is right. We consistently hear about young people stabbing and shooting each other, taking drugs, partying all the time, lacking in motivation and overall painting a bad picture of the younger generations.
However, whilst there may be many youngsters that commit horrific crimes and become involved in things that reflect poorly on their generation, there are just as many (if not more) who try their best to achieve good. The Bristol Young Heroes Awards is proof of just that. The Awards is divided up into 9 different categories with an additional 10th for an overall Young Hero Award and according to Holly, for the 2019 show, she received between 90-100 nominees. Nominees are nominated by family, friends, teachers and anyone else who recognises the phenomenal work they’ve done for their community, through a nomination form. This then gets cut down to the final 26, amongst those that judges the remaining nominees are Community of Purpose, a charity lawyer, a solicitor and the youth council.
Our first nominee is Sam Hill, – up for the Environmental Hero Awards, after building a tortoise out of litter around Bristol, to expose the danger that plastic and litter has on sea creatures. Sam showed his tortoise to Bristol City Council and due to its important message, he was nominated for the Young Heroes Award. When asked how he felt he said
‘I am shocked but pleased to be nominated, if I win I would like to take this up as a project.’ His mother felt extremely proud of her son and was pleased that he had been nominated. Lastly, why the tortoise? Sam said, ‘I lived in Bristol City Centre by the Harbour, so I wanted to create something that would represent the city as well as the message I wanted to convey.’
Mohamed Aidid – nominated for the Action Hero Award, which is someone who works hard to better the community. Mohamed has been recognised for his incredible work in helping the youth and alongside this, an impressive resume! He is a Youth Mayor, has worked at Bristol City Youth Council for 2 years and is also on the Chair of Unity for BAME. At such a young age, Mohamed is a very inspiring individual and it is clear he works hard in order to help youngsters, his community and lend support to minority groups. When I asked him how he felt, he said ‘I am nervous but very excited to be nominated’ and his family also chimed in by expressing how they super proud they were of Mohamed. Congratulations on your win Mohamed!
Sydney Pinkers-Sims – is up for the Superhero Awards, which is someone that thinks about other people and tries to help them. Sydney was nominated by her football manager, after her incredible hard work in helping the homeless with food and clothes was recognised. Sydney’s mother expressed how proud she felt of her daughter for being nominated and all the hard work she’s done. She said ‘despite how young Sydney is and no matter how much school work she’s got to do, she bakes food every day and takes it to the homeless every week. Sydney is always thinking about things and different ways to help her community.’ Sydney and her mum also give old clothes and any other unwanted items to the homeless. They have a drop off box near their home so that other people can help contribute to ongoing problem of homelessness. Sydney’s mum also stated how Sydney helps her alongside all of this and cares about the little things that matter and making others happy.
I was also incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to ask ITV presenter, Alex Beresford what he thought of the event, how it could help nominees and also why he was here. Alex said ‘I live in Bristol and work for ITV West and Good Morning Britain and because I knew Bristol’s Mayor, he wanted me to get involved and support this event. I hosted it a few years ago and have been attending every year as I believe it is a very important awards show. The impact an event like this would have on the nominees is incredible, there are too many young people getting bad press nowadays. Bristol’s Young Heroes Awards gives lots of unseen heroes the recognition they deserve and it is important for them to be recognised.’
Alex is absolutely right in that it is extremely important for young people to be recognised for their hard work, achievements and the amazing things they do to help others and their communities. By having events such as Bristol’s Young Heroes Awards, it allows young people to turn their ideas into actions that make a difference and can help shift the negative representation of the younger generations.
I would like to thank Vocalise Bristol and Holly for allowing me the opportunity to attend, meet and interview such inspiring people. Well done Holly for creating such a wonderful event, not only have you helped change the way in which we view young people, but you are also involved in some amazing projects outside of this. Congratulations to all of the nominees for your incredible work! Keep it up and thank you for achieving such greatness despite all the hardships you face and problems that are against you.
Seeing the amazing work and achievements that these people have done and still continue to do at such a young age and with such humbleness, has really helped put my life into perspective and made me ask some important questions. What am I doing to help the younger generations and make a difference on the issues that worry me? Am I doing enough or anything at all? What can I do? If you are asking yourself the same questions or there are certain issues that make you angry/upset, then there is always something you can do no matter how small it is. You can still make a difference and have people and your community support you. As the saying goes ‘If not you, then who? If not now, then when?’