DESPITE the coronavirus pandemic, 25 extraordinary young people from across the UK are being recognised with the coveted British Citizen Youth Award. One of them is Faith Clotworthy, age 9 from Stanford le Hope in Essex.
Due to the current government restrictions banning large gatherings indoors, the usual grand medal presentation ceremony at The Palace of Westminster is unable to take place. For the first time in its history, Faith and the remaining 24 medalists received their BCyA medals by courier together with a video message from some of the Patrons and an invitation to the House of Lords at a date yet to be determined, when it is safe to do so.
Suffering from separation anxiety and low self-esteem, Faith was at an all-time low when lockdown began in March this year. She was unsettled, upset and confused. After reassurance from her family that many people would be feeling the same, Faith wanted to make a difference and do something to help others during this difficult time. Faith decided to make ‘Bags of Happiness’ and deliver them to local children to make them smile. She delivered nearly 400 bags between April and July 2020.
Faith self-funded the project, walking for miles in her community to deliver the bags, come rain or shine and didn’t stop there. When lockdown ended Faith made 100 ‘back to school bags’ for children with special educational needs, who may have struggled during lockdown and the unknown of going back to school.
Faith brought the community together during such a difficult time and focused on bringing a smile to young people.
Dame Mary Perkins, Co-Founder of Specsavers and BCyA Patron said “These incredible young people are the rising stars of the future – let us shine a light on them and Celebrate! I hope that many more youngsters will follow in their footsteps”.
Messages of support were sent via video from TV personalities Michael Underwood, Matt Allwright, Tim Vincent, pop superstar Kimberly Walsh of the Pussycat Dolls, and popular comedian, actor and Patron of the BCA Bradley Walsh. Dame Mary also recorded a heartfelt message and has continued to support the BCA throughout the pandemic.
Co-Founder of The British Citizen Youth Award, Mike Faulkner said: “Whilst it is bitterly disappointing not be able to present Faith’s medal in person, we are determined to recognise all medalists for their exceptional endeavours. They will still have the full British Citizen Youth Award experience when we can safely gather indoors in larger numbers.
“The 25 medalists represent all that is good about young people today. Their commitment to others and to making society better for everyone, was the driving force for us to unite them with their medals at the earliest opportunity. Whilst some recognition programmes are regarded as elitist, the BCyA remains accessible to everyone and welcomes nominations year-round. By highlighting the commitment of young people like Faith we aim to make positive impact in the community the norm rather than the exception”.
Each Medal of Honour bears the words ‘For the Good of the Country’ and are presented to only a small number of exceptional young individuals annually. The British Citizen Youth Award is widely viewed as the nation’s way of recognising extraordinary, everyday young people for exceptional endeavor and are truly representative of today’s multicultural Britain.
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2021 medal presentations, register online at www.britishcitizenyouthawards.co.uk.