Thursday 19th July, 2018

Celebrating young people's achievements

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Young people’s achievements celebrated at charity presentation evening

The achievements of more than 40 local young people were celebrated at a special awards event organised by Cambridge-based youth charity Romsey Mill, at the Cambridge City Church building on Cheddar’s Lane, Cambridge, last Thursday (19th July).

Romsey Mill’s Annual Presentation Evening acknowledged the successes, achievements and development shown by the young people who have been part the charity’s Youth Development Programme over the past academic year.

Twenty volunteers who gave up their time to support Romsey Mill’s youth activities will also presented with awards to thank them for their vital contribution.

Romsey Mill has been working in and around Cambridge for more than 38 years, to create opportunities with disadvantaged young people and families, including those who may be struggling at school, feeling isolated, or experiencing difficulty at home or within their own community.

Mike Farrington, Romsey Mill’s Youth Development Coordinator said: “At Romsey Mill, we strongly believe that every single young person is of immeasurable worth and has tremendous potential – and therefore it is really important that we are able to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of the young people with whom we work. We think that they are amazing, capable people, who can be positive influences to those around them.”

Recent research has revealed that Cambridge is the most unequal city in the country, for the second year running, and Mike Farrington said that events like this are really important in helping to raise aspirations and self-esteem for local young people.

Mike said: “For many of these young people, this is the only time that their successes will be formally acknowledged. If the event provides the young people with something to make them feel proud of what they have been able to achieve – beyond what they thought possible – then that has to be a good thing.”

Awards were presented at the special presentation event to young people across a range of Romsey Mill’s programmes and activities – including Jamie Oliver cooking awards, Uniformed Services course awardsand certificates of achievement were given to members of Romsey Mill’s own leadership programme – which enables young people with leadership potential to play a positive and active role within their own community and support the next generation of young people. 

Speaking of one of the award recipients, Amaaliah Donovan, Mike Farrington said:

“Amaaliah has shown great skill and selflessness by hosting a weekly ‘family’ meal for a group of her peers, who attend a Romsey Mill Youth group. She has shown great leadership skills as well as a commitment to helping create a positive environment where young people can come together, have fun and build community.”

Amaaliah helped to prepare the buffet meal for the Awards Presentation Evening on Thursday, with Leon Williams, a sessional youth worker with Romsey Mill and partner in Buffalo Joes, food business.

There was also a special award to a group of 3 Year 7 boys from north Cambridge who produced their own film, which was shown at the Total Arts Film Festival in Cambridge, earlier in July. Irfaan Rahman, Michael Reed, and Marley Wallace produced a short film called “Gang Life” which warned of the dangers of getting involved in dealing drugs.

The budding film producers wanted to create a film about how gang culture and drugs was starting to have an affect in their local area. The boys started to attend a Romsey Mill after school club on and expressed interest in producing a film. The charity had received funding from Cambridge City Council to run a film making project and lent the boys some equipment and a film making tutor helped to show them what to do. Over a period of 9 months the boys scripted, starred, directed and edited their film and invited their friends to take part.

One of the boys, Michael Reed he described ‘Gang life’ as an anti-drugs film. He said “The film highlights the dangers of drugs and gang violence influencing young people’s lives in London and beyond. We want to make a series of films developing the story further and deeper as well as exploring the characters in more depth.”

Irfaan Rahman said: “We are really thankful to Romsey Mill for the opportunity and help, we couldn’t have done it without them.”

Michael said “It’s best thing I’ve ever done and I want to make more films when I grow up”

The evening was rounded off with an exclusive preview performance by one of Romsey Mill’s young musicians and rappers, ahead of Rapademic, a concert by young people involved in Romsey Mill’s music programme, which takes place at the Junction on 2nd August.