Achievements of Hackney young people marked at prestigious awards

The achievements of young people across the borough have been celebrated at a special award ceremony at Hackney Town Hall. 

The Hackney Youth Awards recognises the fantastic achievements of young people aged between six and 19 (up to 25 with special educational needs and/or disabilities [SEND]), with nominations made by youth workers, partner organisations and commissioned providers in the community.

More than 70 young people were nominated for the awards, now in its eighth year. Nominations were reviewed and shortlisted by independent panels of young people, who also helped to organise the event, held on Wednesday 7 February alongside Young Hackney staff and volunteer Young Hackney Event Ambassadors

Around 250 young people and their families were joined by the Mayor of Hackney Caroline Woodley, Deputy Mayor Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Speaker of Hackney Cllr Anya Sizer, and other senior leaders across the Council. 

Among the winners of the awards was Louise Pluck who received the Overcoming Adversity award. Louise said: "Young Hackney has helped me overcome my anxiety and my confidence and my self esteem has grown over the past year.” 

Tzhari Sweeney-Bailey, who won the Junior Positive Choice and Achievement Award for the work he has been doing at Shoreditch Adventure Playground to help the staff and support less confident children who need guidance navigating the playground. He said:  “These awards are important to inspire other people to be kind and be good more often.”

This year’s Youth Awards was also an opportunity to celebrate the Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards completed by the Forest Road Youth Hub inclusion group. The group of young people with SEND committed to 12 months of activities to complete their sections, and training for a four-day camp and hiking expedition.

Audience members were also treated to a poetry reading by James Tuitt-Adjei, Hackney Youth Parliament member, as well as a musical performance from Young Hackney member Chhaya Phipps.

The event was hosted by former Hackney Youth Parliament leaders Sudenaz Top and Thierry Shillingford-Brown. Thierry said: “Three years ago, I was sitting in the same seats that all our lovely young people were sitting in, and now I’ve had the pleasure of presenting the awards. To go from congratulating my friends, to being runner up, then to hosting the event as a young person is something I will never ever forget.”

The full list of winners from the 8th Hackney Youth Awards

Project of the Year: Talking Quest (Hackney Quest)

Creativity, Ambition and Innovation: Exposure Summer Project (Immediate Theatre)

Tamba Ngegba Young Leader Award: Taye Allen Mcdermott

Young Explorer Junior: Josaih Merrett

Young Explorer Senior: Sultan Blessing

Positive Choice and Achievement Junior: Tzhari Sweeney-Bailey

Positive Choice and Achievement Senior: Ayomide Olajide Lawal

Overcoming Adversity Junior: Louise Pluck

Overcoming Adversity Senior: Ephriam Opoko

Inspirational Young Person Junior: Destiny Ogbuani

Inspirational Young Person Senior: Keyaan Ali

Outstanding Volunteer Junior: Zehra Canlier

Outstanding Volunteer Senior: Maryam Fraga Chebili