First Ever Young Ealing Foundation Awards Take Place

Over 200 attend event to honour Young Ealing Champions

Ceremony was co-hosted by Fee Mak Lily Connelly-Woods
Ceremony was co-hosted by Fee Mak Lily Connelly-Woods

Last Thursday (21 July), the first ever Young Ealing Foundation Awards took place at the University of West London’s Westmont Hall.

Over 200 people attended the event, including local young people, youth workers, MPs and even local TikTok stars The Gregorian Sisters.

The awards were co-hosted by Ealing Young Champion, Lily Connelly-Woods and, straight from her show at BBC Radio1XTra, Westside Radio’s Fee Mak.

Local acts performing on the evening included The Bollo x Delve Collective who paid tribute to Jamal Edwards MBE with their tracks ‘Self-Belief’ and ‘Acton’, Macy Ward who performed a cover of Celeste’s Love is Back, Corni who performed his new release: Ascending and local dance crew Elevate Arts who closed the evening with their energetic street dance performance (and continued the dancing at the reception afterwards in the University’s ‘Heart Space’ where Westside Radio’s DJ Kizzi provided the tunes).

10 awards were presented in total, five for young people (yp) and five for local youth providers (p)

The categories and winners were as follows:

Community Champion (yp) Megan Fahy – Catalyst Housing Group
Green Champion (yp) Sufiyan Abdul Qayum – Clean Air for Southall and Hayes
Overcoming Adversity Award (yp) Dorothy Chan
Young Leader Award (yp) Ryan Kennedy - YMCA
Young Volunteer of the Year (yp) Yasmin Choukrallah, Amira Choukrallah, Kholoud Karboube – Bollo Brook Youth Centre
Positive Opportunities Award (p) Znaniye Foundation's Ealing Saturday Club
Violence Intervention Award (p) YMCA and John Lyon's Charity’s Crime Diversion Project
Mental Health and Wellbeing Award (p) WAPPY’s Creating Mindfully Lockdown Life
Volunteer of the Year (p) Rakiya Dahir - HSNEA
Youth Professional of the Year (p) Colin Brent – Bollo Brook Youth Centre

Local resident Ryan Kennedy was recognised for overcoming adversity to become a valued and inspirational Youth Worker for the YMCA St Paul’s Group and was awarded the Young Leader Award. Ryan’s journey with YMCA SPG started after a family bereavement made him decide to attend YMCA Hayes youth boxing sessions as an outlet and escape from constantly feeling sad and negative at home. After a period of homelessness and sofa surfing, Ryan moved into supported accommodation at YMCA Hayes, where he engaged with the youth team. This opened his eyes to a new way of life - meeting friends and positive mentors - which encouraged him to volunteer with the youth team.

The Crime Diversion Project, run by YMCA St Paul’s Group West London youth team was awarded the Youth Violence Intervention Award. Its purpose is to support young people, often involved in crime and violence, who are facing complex challenges and barriers to reaching their goals.

Charlotte Bawden, Youth Development Manager at YMCA St Paul’s Group which has centres in Greenford, Hanwell and South Ealing, said, “We are so proud of our West London team being recognised for the impacting and meaningful work they do in the community. The Crime Diversion Project has helped dozens of young people and families through some of the most difficult times in their life. Ryan is an outstanding leader and we are excited to see what further achievements he will gain as he begins his youth work career.”

Elly Heaton Virgo, CEO, Young Ealing Foundation said, “The last few years have been incredibly tough for our sector. Poverty levels are rising, those who are systemically and continuously discriminated against face growing issues, and cuts from central government means we face a constant battle to deliver more and more desperately needed services with less and less money. This evening has been an opportunity to see how people can shine in the face of adversity.

“Young people, like the Ealing Young Champions, are standing up and making their voice heard. Young people are showing resilience, and leadership, and giving back to their communities to make positive change.”

Elly Heaton CEO of Young Ealing Foundation, closes the event
Elly Heaton CEO of Young Ealing Foundation, closes the event

Rupa Huq MP for Ealing Central and Acton said, “What a brilliant evening, look I’ve never been to an Oscars Ceremony, or a Grammy’s or anything like that, but the excitement tonight, the golden envelopes, the drum roll almost every time and what a lot of talent in this room. The Oscars and all that have nothing on this because this is 100% Ealing.”

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July 28, 2022