Today we start the countdown to the Examiner Community Awards night which will be staged at the John Smith’s Stadium on Thursday, May 25.
During May we will feature one category every day and the spotlight first falls on the three nominees for the Studentco Community Award. The winner will be revealed on the night.
Kira Hargreaves first went to her local youth club when she was 10.
She found it a brilliant support – especially when times were tough – and has since gone on to be a helper at the club, dance leader and an inspiration to other young people.
Kira was nominated by Liz Firth from the club called Young Batley Centre which offers activities ranging from dance and cooking through to arts and crafts ... and also gives young people someone to talk to when they feel they need support.
Kira, of Fieldhead, Batley, is now 16, attends Batley Girls High School and hopes to go on to Leeds City College.
Liz said: “Kira deserves recognition for all her hard work as a young leader supporting staff on youth work sessions several times each week and has completed well over 300 voluntary hours with us alone. She has also volunteered at other organisations too.
“I have personally known Kira for five years and have watched her develop from an introverted and self-conscious girl into a young woman who is confident. This confidence has allowed her to run weekly dance classes for young club members and have a main role in a production of Jungle Book at the LBT.
“She is a very diligent and caring individual who the club members are able to go to when they have issues. Kira is an asset to our team and an excellent role model.”
Kira said: “The youth workers I have met have been inspirational and they have made me want to do my best to inspire other young people. A person should be a person by their personality, not their background. It’s important people accept young people – they’re important and are the next generation.
“The club gives young people a chance to try new skills which will help them in life, broaden their horizons and find someone to talk to. It has made me what I am today – it has allowed me to become an independent young woman and grow in confidence and to be accepted instead of always being misjudged by the area I come from It would be so sad if it ever closed. It’s really worrying when you see youth clubs closing down due to budget cuts.”
Kira has volunteered with other organisations such as arts group Creative Scene and helped out at events like Batley Festival and Batley Vintage Day. Her involvement with the club means she has been able to do qualifications in food hygiene, first aid and sports leadership.
Her mum is Diane Hargreaves and Kira has two brothers Mark 33, and Craig, 25.
Salendine Nook High School
Sometimes the best lessons in life are not in the classroom.
And that’s been the case for this group of youngsters from Salendine Nook High School who became the first in the country to adopt a section of canal from the Canal & River Trust
The seven-strong group of year 10 students are
Harvey Corcoran, Nyle Bartholomew, Ike Vangrove, Jak Milburn Ethan Pearson, Aidan Valerio and Sam Beattie – felt they would benefit from an alternative approach to their learning so decided they would complete their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award as part of their school timetable.
One of the areas to complete was volunteering and this was arranged with the Canal & River Trust.
The school adopted a stretch of the Huddersfield Broad Canal behind Leeds Road playing fields and the students became responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of this stretch of the canal.
They painted and maintained locks, tidied and improved pathways and cut back overgrowing vegetation.
And they have now created an eye-catching new mural overlooking the lock at Red Doles Lane.
Becca Dent, volunteer coordinator at the Canal & River Trust said: “We worked with local artist Ged Walker to help these young people to transform their local waterway with a bold new artwork. The canal is such a great place for local people to enjoy and it’s real a shame when it suffers from graffiti tagging. We’ve found that public art murals overlaying existing graffiti can often help to discourage tagging. We’re delighted with the results.”
The students were nominated by Danny Fearon, head of pupil support and inclusion manager at Salendine Nook High, who said: “The boys received training from the trust on how best to improve the canal and have worked really hard on this stretch to make it a better environment for people to visit.
“They have developed practical skills and have had to work together as a team to improve that part of the canal.
“The young people who have been involved with this project have at times found school a challenging environment to be in but have thrived when given this responsibility to improve this area of the canal. They will continue to work on the upkeep of this part of the canal to make this part of the canal more pleasant to visit.”
Ammarah Pandor has been a leading light in encouraging young Muslim women to get involved into sport.
The 18-year-old Greenhead College student is also playing a key role in helping to kick racism out of football.
She was nominated by Greenhead College teacher Jane Rylah, who said: “Ammarah is an engaging and articulate young woman with an enthusiastic and positive approach to life.
“This is exemplified by her work as a Young Ambassador for the charity Kick It Out whose aim is to remove discrimination from football.”
In this role Ammarah was the lead organiser of the first women’s five-a-side football tournament in Dewsbury and encouraged female Muslim footballers to participate.
Ammarah is a qualified FA coach and has carried out football coaching with both adults and children in a voluntary and paid capacity with Kick Off Dewsbury.
Its managing director Jamil Baig said: “Ammarah delivered some fantastic coaching and we were very impressed by her coaching skills.
“She is a credit to herself and mature and responsible beyond her years.”
Ammarah’s personal development has led to her gaining second place in the national finals of Sportivate Participant of the Year.
She was presented with her award by Olympic cycling champion Dame Sarah Storey at the Palace of Westminster last October.
Sportivate gives 14 to 25-year-olds who are not particularly sporty access to six to eight weeks of free or subsidised coaching in a range of sports.
Ammarah, of Thornhill, Dewsbury, is studying A-levels in biology, psychology and PE and has been offered a conditional place at Loughborough University to study sports psychology.
She has an older brother, Umar, 19, and a younger sister, 15-year-old Fatima. Her parents are Yusuf Pandor and Feroza Patel.
Ammarah said: “Getting involved in sport this way has certainly made me a more confident person.”
Sponsor: University of Huddersfield
The University of Huddersfield is proud to sponsor the Student Community Award to recognise the efforts of students in schools and colleges who voluntarily help others in the community.
Many young people in Huddersfield find time in the midst of their studies to help others.
“Whether this is volunteering to
people, helping to run youth groups or taking part in
environmental projects and litter clearing, all this makes a huge difference to our
Their work is something we should be proud of and celebrate.
When students join us at the university many of them continue their voluntary work. We know it provides a great
opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and get even more training to enhance future job prospects.
The University of Huddersfield Student Community Award aims to celebrate the commitment of our local school pupils, highlight the good work they do and
positive impact this has on the Huddersfield community.
The award is open to all local school pupils between the ages of 15 and 18.
As always we expect to receive a very strong field of entries and we wish everyone good luck.