4Uth award’s top accolade for care leaver who champions children in care nationwide
He’s appeared on BBC’s The One Show for helping shape the future of care services for children – having been in care himself.
Now Darren Yemm has been named as Nottinghamshire County Council’s 4Uth county award winner for 2018 at an awards ceremony at County Hall this evening(FRI). See video: (Contact NCC Press Office for video)
And the 20-year-old, from Newark, a member of the Children in Care Council since 2010, is one of just 0.2 per cent of UK care leavers who make it into higher education – having just embarked on his first year at the University of Lincoln.
Darren said: “Winning the 4Uth awards is so special. The past eight years have made me who I am and I am now moving onto University. I say to everyone out there, just go for it. You are not going to lose anything by trying new things, you are just going to gain new experiences.”
Nottinghamshire County Council Leader Councillor Kay Cutts MBE said: “This year’s 4Uth award finalists were all exceptionally good applications but Darren’s especially stood out for me because he has taken control of his own life.
“He decided what he wanted out of life – his home circumstances had not always been so helpful and he came into the care of the county council when he was a teenager. He then decided he was going to take advantage of all of the things that were offered.
“I have a huge amount of admiration for him. I think what an outstanding young man he is, a real tribute to himself, and also his foster carers who made sure he has got the best out of life.
“We are all very grateful to him for his work steering other young people and I think he will go a long way. If he continues to make an impression on other young people and the rest of the world, I’m sure he will have a huge amount to contribute.”
Nottinghamshire County Council Chairman, Councillor Mrs Sue Saddington added: "All the winners from each district and borough were worth the award, but I do feel Darren, who has worked in care homes and helped give advice to others, just went that extra mile. I was delighted he was chosen as the overall winner, it was well deserved."
There were approximately 80 4Uth nominations this year – with entries received from friends, family members, youth workers and people working in the voluntary, public and private sector. Judging panels decided the district winners, and a separate judging panel assessed the final seven.
The other six 4Uth district winners were as follows:
- Ashfield: Jak Boden, 13, from Huthwaite. Cares for others including his mother and is heavily involved in community projects
- Bassetlaw: Lois Wareing, 16, from Langold, Worksop. Having once been told she may never walk again, she has become a vital member of her local young people’s centre
- Broxtowe: Luke Titterton, 12, from Chilwell. Has battled health conditions from birth but he has always been positive, determined and resilient and is an inspiration to others
- Gedling: Caitlin Orchard, 17, from Calverton. Caitlin’s involvement with her local young people’s centre has helped her to develop as a person as well as learn vital new skills
- Mansfield: Josh Sheppard, 18, from Meden Vale. Despite medical conditions and other challenges in his young life, Josh has become a fantastic role model for other young people
- Rushcliffe: Roshan Singh, 13, from West Bridgford, A much-valued and well-regarded member of his young people’s centre and he has been rightly recognised for his achievements.
In June, Darren Yemm helped coordinate a regional Children in Care Council meeting which was attended by Anne Longshaw, Children’s Commissioner for England, with the aim to develop a coordinated regional pledge to Children in Care.
Jack Heald, Chairperson for Nottinghamshire Young People’s Board, said: “Darren has shown there are no barriers to what you want to achieve. Taking part in conferences and appearing on the BBC One Show for the work he has done inspecting care homes, Darren has been able to give his opinion and the opinion of young people on a national scale.”
Steven Tupper, County Commissioner, Nottinghamshire Scouts, nominated Darren for the awards, along with county council youth workers Emma Betteridge and Debbie Swanwick.
Steven said: “Darren works at a local, regional and national level, and for someone that’s had so many challenges in life I think that is amazing. He will never meet the majority of young people nationwide who will benefit from his work. To come through the care system, recognise he could put something back into the care system and get a University place is a real achievement.”
All seven district winners received awards during the evening in recognition of their achievements, and met Coun Cutts, Nottinghamshire County Council Chairman Councillor Sue Saddington, and Councillor Tracey Taylor, Vice-Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Committee.
Around 100 audience members, including family and friends of the winners, watched video profiles of their personal stories, as the awards were made. They were advised they can put the 4Uth award on their CVs, and that their achievement will be recognised by future employers and educators.
For more details about the awards visit the Nottinghamshire County Council website: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/4Uth