Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of hosting this year’s British Red Cross Humanitarian Awards for Children and Young Adults.
The awards span four categories, first aid, fundraising, community action and volunteering. Twenty finalists, aged seven to twenty-five, attended the award ceremony at the Palace of Westminster.
It was the Inverclyde Peer Support Group from my constituency who were the overall winners last year, in recognition of their work to drastically reduce the levels of knife crime in their area.
Amongst this year’s shortlisted entries for the awards, sponsored by Canon, was a young man who has set up a coffee shop venture for homeless people, a seven year old who has raised thousands of pounds for diabetes charities and young people who had performed emergency first aid to save the lives of others. Attendees also heard of a young man who has raised over £100,000 for the hospital which treated him for leukaemia and from a young woman who provides her disabled mother with an astonishing level of care every day.
This year’s overall winner was Ben Harrison, who volunteered in the Calais refugee camp for twelve hours a day, helping to organise accommodation for people in truly desperate conditions.
It was both humbling and inspiring to hear these stories. I was really proud to hear of the accounts of what each of these young people had done. Their achievements are indicative of a selfless spirit which should motivate us all to do more in our communities.
Mike Adamson, Red Cross Chief Executive said:
“These young people are an inspiration to everyone. They are committed to making a difference and helping people in their communities – they embody true humanitarian qualities. Their actions have saved lives, helped vulnerable people and supported communities. Across the UK thousands of young people selflessly give up their time to help others. These awards are a chance to give those young people the recognition they deserve and to say a huge thank you for all their hard work.”
Bob Pickles, Head of Corporate and Government Affairs at Canon UK, said:
“Once again, we are delighted to come together with British Red Cross to support such a great event.
“Canon has been sponsoring the Humanitarian Awards since 2005, and every year, we’re inspired to see the incredible lengths that young people go to, to make a difference in their community.
“We had some incredible nominations this year. We congratulate them all and in particular the winners for their inspirational hard work and dedication to helping those in need.”
The ceremony included an exhibition of shortlisted photographs on the theme ‘Making a difference matters’. The competition, open to anyone under the age of 26, invited young people to capture moments showing community or charitable work.