Remarkable young people from across Britain and Ireland are being recognised with Rotary Young Citizen Awards and the Rotary Young Citizen WheelPower Sports Award.
The accolades celebrate the positive citizenship and responsibilities that are shown by many young people through hard work, inspirational ideas and a determination to help others.
They have been nominated by their local Rotary clubs and are receiving their awards from BBC TV Presenter Ellie Crisell at the Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland Conference in Torquay on Saturday, 7th April, 2018.
From helping the homeless to clothing children who live in poverty and being a wheelchair whizz kid on the tennis court, this year’s young citizens are truly amazing.
Winners receive a cash prize of £500 at our annual conference where the awards are presented.
JOSEPH COX – nominated by Leith Rotary
Saddened by the sight of a growing number of rough sleepers in the Edinburgh area, 11-year-old Joseph from Leith decided to take action.
His simple idea “Socks for the Street” has touched the hearts of people in the local community and around the world.
The charity collects new socks, underwear, gloves, hats, scarves and boots for the homeless.
He persuaded his school to be a drop off point for donations and has set up a Facebook page and Amazon wish list of essentials for keeping warm on the streets.
Joseph even travels with items in the family car everywhere they go in case he spots someone in need.
ANDREW DAVIES – nominated by Chesterfield Rotary Satellite
In September 2012, Andrew, who was only 13 at the time, became very unwell.
He was referred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital where he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, a rare and a rapidly spreading disease if not treated quickly.
Over the following months he endured courses of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.
Thankfully Andrew recovered and decided he wanted to give something back.
Upon realising the bone marrow transplant at Sheffield Children’s Hospital cost £150,000 he set his sights on raising the same amount so other young lives could be saved.
Andrew’s fundraising total now stands at nearly £140,000 and he is planning an event this summer to raise the final amount to push him over the finish line.
Andrew is now 19 and in his first year at university.
REBEKAH HINTON – nominated by Bradford West Rotary
Rebekah, 20, was so deeply concerned by the desperate lack of children’s clothing in her local and deprived community of West Bowling, Bradford, that she set up the Children’s Clothes Bank at the age of just 16.
With help from a local toddler group and her own school with collections of clothing, she has helped many families from all backgrounds, including refugees.
The clothes are sorted at her local church and distributed in exchange for vouchers which Rebekah designed called C2C (child-to-child).
The vouchers reach families in need through a network of health visitors, social workers and the local children’s centre.
When families come to the clothing bank, they exchange the vouchers for good quality clothes which will keep their children warm and dry.
RYAN MONTGOMERY – nominated by Corstorphine Rotary
Ryan, 16, from Edinburgh is committed to helping others through first-aid and has even set up his own charity, Corstorphine Emergency Response.
He has been administering first-aid since the age of 12, supports events as a first-aider and trains his fellow students and teachers at Craigmount High School to deliver CPR.
After realising how important defibrillators were, Ryan set up a campaign to raise funds to supply four defibrillators for his local community. He did this through various means including collecting 300 old mobile phones.
Ryan is still at school, not old enough to drive a car and yet mature and caring enough to help and assist others in emergency situations.
JAMALA OSMAN – nominated by Redbridge Rotary
Jamala became a carer for her brother and twin sister as a teenager after suffering from depression and the loss of their mother.
Growing up in Ilford, she was surrounded by gang culture and violence. By 14 years old she had been kicked out of her father’s house and lost contact with her siblings.
She spiralled out of control, playing up in school and began to suffer with depression.
Amazingly, she regained control of her life and, at the age of 18, she reconnected with her siblings to become their carer.
That new responsibility meant that she had to find employment instead of pursuing a university degree as she had hoped.
Fortunately, Jamala was accepted on to the highly competitive Barclay’s apprenticeship programme.
She is now a branch manager and is considered one of the bank’s most successful apprentices.
Jamala, now 24, regularly speaks at schools about mental health and hopes her story can inspire others to make positive choices in their lives.
DALE RAWLINS – nominated by Gloucester Rotary
Dale set up a disability football team when he was just 14. Two years later, he opened a social enterprise sports shop in Gloucester to create employment for the players and generate funds.
When Dale finished school, he decided to commit to the enterprise full time and has given people the confidence and skills to gain mainstream employment and move from institutional to independent living.
The enterprise created funds enabling young players to take FA Level 1 courses.
A couple of the players lacked the necessary literacy skills and confidence so Dale trained alongside them.
The number of young people Dale has brought into the game from all forms of disadvantage is about 400.
Dale now runs the largest pan-disability football club in the UK, with 13 adult and three children’s sides.
He has set up one of only five disabled ladies sides in the country and one deaf team with over 130 regular players.
ROTARY YOUNG CITIZEN WHEELPOWER SPORTS AWARD WINNER 2018
ABBIE BREAKWELL – nominated by Long Eaton Rotary
15-year-old Abbie from Long Eaton has a muscle-wasting disease and a spinal cord syrinx which has resulted in her needing to use a wheelchair.
This award is presented jointly by Rotary and by the charity WheelPower, which provides opportunities in sport for people with physical impairments.
From first-timers to Paralympic medalists, WheelPower supports and promotes participation at all levels.
Each year, WheelPower supports over 100,000 disabled people to participate in sport and activity across the country.
Abbie, who has always loved sport, did not let this stop her and she started playing wheelchair tennis two years ago.
She trains several times a week and attends tennis camps across the country. Her dream is to represent ParalympicsGB at the Paralympics and to play at Wimbledon.
Abbie has been part of the ball crew for professionals at events such as the British Open and the NEC Masters.
Abbie was the only member of the crew in the Wheelchair Tennis Masters to be a wheelchair user herself and hopes to inspire others with disabilities.
She sees sport as a way to channel her energy and frequently encourages others to join in, knowing the positive benefits of sport.
Abbie is now one of two girl tennis players and five boys picked for the Tennis Foundation’s new programme to produce future world class wheelchair tennis players.
She is also an ambassador for This Girl Can and helps to encourage other girls to improve their life through sport.