Hackney youth group wins Philip Lawrence Award

Fawcett Youth Group

Fawcett Youth Group

A group of young people from Hackney have been recognised for their remarkable work to improve their local community. Fawcett Youth Group collected their award today from Home Secretary Alan Johnson at a glamorous awards ceremony at BAFTA in London's West End, hosted by television presenter, Sir Trevor McDonald.

The Fawcett Youth Group won the award for their campaigning work on issues affecting young people. The group have made a number of short films, both fictional and factual, which highlight the challenges that face young people on their estate. Subjects can range from relationships, gangs, teenage pregnancy, friendship and crime.

The group's latest film focused on policing and young people. Called the Cett4 Docu Drama project, the young people in the group managed all aspects of production from scripting and research to budgets, filming and editing. Young people are involved in every aspect of the Fawcett Youth Group and the projects give the young people of the Fawcett estate a creative and positive outlet for their ideas and enthusiasm.

Yasmin Uzomah (15), from the Fawcett Youth Group, said: "We really enjoyed making the films. The group is made up of such different people there are always ideas from all kinds of perspectives. To win an award is fantastic and we're all looking forward to walking on the red carpet. The one we used for our premier only cost £3.97 and disintegrated when people walked on it."

Sir Trevor McDonald, TV presenter and Broadcaster, said: "The issues dealt with by this group are unquestionably important. The problems associated with how the Police interact with young people are a big challenge."

Hassan Adam, former award winner and judge, said: "This project dealt with key issues affecting them and their area. It shows young people can be proactive in a positive way to the problems they face."

The awards were set up in memory of Catholic head teacher Philip Lawrence who was murdered outside St George's School, Maida Vale, 14 years ago. So far they have recognised over 1000 young people aged between 11 and 20 in over 80 communities since 1997. Winning projects receive £1000 and become members of the Philip Lawrence Awards Fellowship which offers training and support to further the winners work.

Frances Lawrence, founder of the awards, said: "The young people who created the Fawcett Youth Group show us the very best of human nature. They have identified a serious problem and reached out to help people whose lives are affected by it. It's an original and imaginative project and has tangible results in the community. The Philip Lawrence Awards celebrate all these young people for their determination to make things better and for the great inspiration they are to others."

Alan Johnson, Home Secretary, said: ""I am honoured to be a part of these inspiring awards that recognise the fantastic contribution young people make to their local communities. This public recognition shines a light on their varied and impressive achievements, and I hope it inspires other young people to follow in their footsteps."

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, said: "I congratulate all the winners of this year's Philip Lawrence Awards for such fantastic work in their local communities. The range of projects showcased this year reflects the talent, dedication and creativity of young people in this country. The projects demonstrate how young people are helping to break down barriers between groups in their communities. Their contribution to the wider community is also helping them to develop new skills and gain confidence.  We should all be proud of today's winners."

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