4Uth 2016 winners

Broxtowe winner: Dean Ferguson

Dean is 13, and lives in Stapleford. He was nominated for the award by family friend Helen Cutting.

He has been through so much in his young life – but has been able to convey his experiences in just a compelling way that Dean Ferguson has even had an audience with top politicians.

Dean gave such a strong performance during school debates about experiences surrounding mental health, he was selected to take part in a national contest and got to meet the then Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street in May.

undefinedDean was 7 when his life radically changed. His father Dean died in hospital at the age of 32, and his family then relocated from his home in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne to Nottinghamshire.

Family friend Helen Cutting nominated Dean after he battled through this very difficult period in his life and because he has become an advocate for young people in the area of mental health services.

Helen explains: “One afternoon in Newcastle whilst shopping with his mother, Dean received a text message from his Nan asking him to go to her house. When Dean and his Mum, Carly, arrived they found his grandparents were very upset and Dean was given the devastating news that his father had died in hospital at the age of 32. Dean has said that he has not got over his father’s death.”

But in the face of such adversity, Dean managed to find the strength and support to improve his situation. A large part of this was down to Dean discovering his voice and an ability to speak out. He joined his school debating club and as part of a recent campaign he won the Nottingham School Debate Cup.

This resulted in him going on to represent Nottingham in London where he debated against representative teams from all over the country, and he was selected from 200 young people to meet David Cameron and took part in debates at the House of Lords and 10, Downing Street. Here, Dean spoke about mental health issues and his own depression and its effects on him and those around him. He feels that depression has fuelled his passion for speaking out.

Dean lives with mum Carly, stepdad Joe, and sister Evelyn, who celebrates her second birthday on the night of the awards final at County Hall in October.

Mum Carly said: “It is fantastic news that Dean has won this district 4Uth award. He works so hard and he is a kind and generous boy. He has been through so much and achieved lots already in his life and we are so proud of him.”

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