June-July 2021 | Features

Rotary Young Citizen Awards go virtual!

Rotary Young Citizen Awards go virtual!

Outstanding young people are being recognised with Rotary Young Citizen Awards which went virtual this year with an awards ceremony hosted by BBC TV Presenter Ellie Crisell on May 22nd.

The awards include the Young Citizen Peacemaker Award and Sporting Hero Award. Here’s more about the inspirational winners.

TWO seven-year-old friends Ayaan Moosa and Mikaeel Ishaaq from East London set up a ‘Lemonade for Yemen-Aid’ stand, when they were six,¬†outside their home to raise money for Yemen after they heard about the plight of children there who are starving.¬†¬†

rotary young citizen awards

Mikaeel (left) and Ayaan (right) set out to raise £100, but ended up smashing that target, ultimately raising a six-figure sum for the children of Yemen.

They thought they might raise £100, but instead they have raised about £100,000 for the Yemen Crisis after their story went viral. 

The friends have even received the support and a generous donation from Angelina Jolie who contacted them personally. Ayaan and Mikaeel have won Gold Blue Peter badges. 

The UN World Food Programme has made a video about them with messages of thanks from children in Yemen.  They were nominated by Redbridge Rotary. 

Eleven-year-old Max Woosey has raised more than £532,000 for North Devon Hospice by sleeping in a tent in his garden for over a year from the start of the first lockdown in March 2020.  

Max decided to camp out from the start of the first lockdown in March 2020

He decided to camp out after his neighbour Rick Abbott gave him a tent before he died of cancer and told him to ‚Äúhave an adventure” in it.¬†¬†

Max took on the challenge to fundraise for the hospice which helped Max’s family care for Rick before he died of cancer in February 2020.  He was nominated by Braunton Caen Rotary. 

Sisters Seanna and Ciara Hamill, aged 18 and 20, are two Rotaractors from Kenilworth in Warwickshire, whose mother is a senior healthcare professional with a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background. When the pandemic hit, she faced huge difficulties accessing personal protective equipment, despite having a frontline role.  

rotary young citizen awards

Seanna and Ciara set up SanHanzUK, a social enterprise community interest company

Faced with this, Seanna and Ciara decided to do something about it.  They set up SanHanzUK, a social enterprise community interest company to manufacture hand sanitiser with a mission to get sanitiser to people who most needed it.  

Sales have allowed them to give away over 10,000 pieces of PPE to frontline workers across the UK and Ireland.  

SanHanzUK also donates 20% of proceeds to foodbanks.¬†With profits the girls invested in mask manufacturing capabilities and now supply full ‚ÄúCovid protection packs‚ÄĚ.¬† They were nominated by the Rotary Club of Rotary Social Innovation.

Nineteen-year-old Lanai Collis-Phillips has been volunteering for over five years at Volunteering Matters. She is involved with the group Women Against Sexual Exploitation and Violence Speak Up to raise awareness of domestic abuse, child abuse and sexual violence.  

Lanai Collis-Phillips is helping protect young people in her community with her youth social action and volunteering work

Lanai is the first young person in Suffolk to become a representative on the local safeguarding board.  In 2019, Lanai became an #iwill UK Ambassador for Youth Social Action.  She has chaired a number of high level #iwill campaign meetings in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.  Nominated by Ipswich Wolsey Rotary.

Sixteen-year-old Poppy McGhee, who suffers from epilepsy, started playing the violin aged five and passed Grade 8 with distinction two weeks after her eighth birthday.  She also started fundraising at the age of five.  

Poppy started playing the violin aged five after seeing the famous violinist Nicola Benedetti playing on YouTube

After seeing a performance when she was seven by blind and autistic pianist Derek Paravicini who inspired the setting up of The Amber Trust, Poppy decided to use her talents to raise thousands of pounds for this charity. She has taken part in workshops run by The Amber Trust helping to provide music therapy to blind, partially-sighted and autistic children, and she mentors younger musicians. Poppy was nominated by Mendip Rotary. 

Fourteen-year-old Alfie Dean set up the Babbacombe Pantry outside his home in Devon, using a shelf taken from his bedroom to offer older people the chance to collect essential items during lockdown.  

Alfie Dean set up The Babbacombe Pantry outside his home to offer the elderly and vulnerable the chance to collect essential items during the pandemic

He set up a GoFundMe page to help keep the pantry well-stocked. The teenager also launched a Christmas appeal collecting gifts and raising funds to provide 400 Christmas stockings to families in need.  Alfie was nominated by Torquay Rotary.


Shanea Kerry Oldham is on a mission to build peace in her community

Shanea Kerry Oldham, 20, was spurred into action after a teenager was stabbed in her neighbourhood. She went to help him lying in the street and what she witnessed left a huge mark on her. 

Shanea vowed to put an end to the increasing amount of violence in the London Borough of Newham. She worked with police to act as a liaison between them and young people to improve stop and search perceptions. 

She is determined to bring about change and reduce the fear amongst teenagers on the streets.  

Shanea is founder of Your Life More Life CIC and Lead Youth Activism Co-ordinator for The 4Front Project. Shanea was nominated by Stratford Rotary.


Jemima Browning, 20, started Tadcaster Stingrays, a swimming squad for young people with disabilities at Tadcaster Swimming Pool.  

Jemima Browning started Tadcaster Stingrays, a swimming squad for young people with disabilities

Driven by her younger brother Will, who has Down’s Syndrome, it was Jemima’s belief that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy sport.  

The Tadcaster Stingrays are coached by Jemima and some are now competing in the Special Olympics and the Great Britain Down’s Syndrome Swimming Group.  

Jemima and Will were both selected to represent Great Britain on the Special Olympics Inclusive Youth Activation Committee.  Jemima was nominated by Leeds Rotary.

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