Community-minded young people from across the district’s schools were celebrated at this year’s Young Citizenship Celebration Evening at Kidderminster Town Hall.

The seventh annual event, which celebrates the wide range of citizenship work carried out by young people from Wyre Forest schools, was once again organised by Safer Wyre Forest and The ContinU Trust.

As well as recognising the range of citizenship work undertaken by students during the 2018-19 academic year it also shines a light on the many positive activities done outside school, in conjunction with local youth and emergency services.

Successful local young singer/songwriter Ellisha Green got the evening off to a good start by singing one of her own compositions.  This was followed by a presentation highlighting the success of the long-running Young Citizens’ Challenge, in which Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, West Mercia Police and other partner organisations deliver key safety messages to Year 6 children from local primary schools on subjects including ‘stranger danger’, water safety and first aid.

The Challenge, held over a two-week period, involved 1000 children working their way through a series of mock scenarios and this year’s winning school was St Bartholomew’s CE VC Primary School. The trophy was presented by Chief Inspector Jim Baker from West Mercia Police and Station Commander Daryl Justice, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service.

The work of the current High School ‘Community Ambassadors’ was presented by the outgoing Ambassadors, followed by the presentation of an Achievement Award which this year went to Stourport High School.  The West Mercia Young Good Citizen Award was presented to the outgoing Ambassadors by Chief Inspector Jim Baker and the evening then saw the formal induction of the new Year 10 Community Ambassadors. This year, around 50 young people were recruited across high schools in the Trust to help promote key community safety, citizenship and wellbeing messages to their peers for the coming year.  Badges were presented to the new Ambassadors by the Deputy West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, Tracey Onslow. More information about the work they do can be found on the Ambassadors own website:  www.communityambassadors.org.uk

West Mercia Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Tracey Onslow said: “The young people at this event represent some of the best values and spirit in our society. It is absolutely right that we celebrate their contributions and achievements, in recognition of how their selflessness and generosity benefits our communities. It was an honour to represent the Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion in supporting this event, and I hope it will inspire others to follow the fantastic examples these young people have set.”

Junior Pick Up Artist Chloe Blanchfield inspired the audience by speaking about the work that she has done during the Keep Britain Tidy campaign ‘The Great British Spring Clean’, when she cleared her route to school and successfully litter picked an astonishing 63 bin bags of rubbish over the 33 day challenge. 

Councillor Helen Dyke, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Community Protection, Wyre Forest District Council, presented Chloe with a special award from Safer Wyre Forest in recognition of her hard work and dedication towards keeping the environment clean and helping to protect wildlife.

Councillor Helen Dyke said “I was delighted to be asked by Safer Wyre Forest, part of North Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership, to present the Safer Wyre Forest special award to such an inspirational young person.  It is clear that there are many young people in the Wyre Forest who make positive contributions to their communities and schools and it is great to have the opportunity to come together this evening and show them how proud we are of them and what they achieve”.

Tracey Onslow closed the evening with the Be The Change’ award for older students, nominated by head teachers and principals across the ContinU Trust for their exemplary contribution to the local and wider community over the past year.

Rob Chadwick of the ContinU Trust said This was the seventh year of what has become an established local celebration of the many positive contributions made by the young people of the Wyre Forest within the ContinU Trust.  Our members believe passionately in building confidence and resilience in students alongside academic achievement. This year’s awards event once again provided the clearest evidence of how that commitment is supporting young people, as they become active citizens and a force for good in our community.”