4Uth awards winners: inspirational young people from across Nottinghamshire

05 November 2019

Connor Cherry-Evans.jpg Jake Ramsay.jpg Jasmine Chapman.jpg Joe Morris (2).jpg Kelsie Cowen.jpg Ruth Lamb.jpg

Young people from all over the county will be recognised at Nottinghamshire County Council’s annual Outstanding Achievement 4Uth Awards. The awards celebrate the achievements of young people from all over Nottinghamshire.

This year’s winners include those who have overcome major challenges in their lives, such as bereavement, trauma and illness, and have gone on to make significant achievements, including raising thousands for charity, caring for friends and relatives, and becoming valued members of their community. This year there have been just under 100 nominations.

The winners have been invited to an award ceremony on Friday 22 November. They will join around 100 guests at County Hall, including the Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, Councillor Kay Cutts MBE, Councillor Tracey Taylor, Vice-Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee, and Steve Edwards, Service Director for Youth Families and Social Work at Nottinghamshire County Council. Friends and family of the finalists, as well as members of Nottinghamshire’s youth service, have all been invited.

Videos telling the inspirational stories of the winners will be shown on the night, before the overall winner is announced.

Nottinghamshire County Council Leader Councillor Kay Cutts MBE said: “These awards are our way of highlighting and rewarding the fantastic contributions made by young people in Nottinghamshire.

“Once again, there have been some remarkable accounts from across the county of young people who have overcome challenging situations to help others and make a difference to our community.

“I’m very proud of the finalists, and I’m pleased we are able to give them this opportunity to celebrate their achievements.

“As with previous years, there were a lot of great candidates. We have had a lot of nominations, which to me demonstrates how many brilliant young people live in in our county, who inspired people close to them to share their positive stories.

“Thank you to everyone who sent in your nominations.”

The area winners include: 

  • Ruth Lamb, 13, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield. She raised £4,000 for the John Eastwood Hospice Trust, following the death of her friend, while overcoming her own health issues. She is a young carer for her brother and also supports her grandfather.
  • Kelsie Cowen, 13, from Bircotes. A carer for her uncle and grandmother, who passed away, she also cares for her brother, who was involved in a serious accident.
  • Jasmine Chapman, 11, from Arnold. She raised around £3,000 for charity, raised awareness of dwarfism at school and the community, and has also made various sporting achievements.
  • Connor Cherry-Evans, 15, from Mansfield. He has worked through a traumatic period of disruption in his life, compounded by disability, towards a more positive future.
  • Jake Ramsay, 18, from Balderton. He has overcome barriers presented by a learning disability and bereavement to become a valued community volunteer.
  • Joe Morris, 15 from Keyworth. Overcoming a difficult period in his life, he learnt to manage mental health issues, becoming a regular member of Keyworth Young People's Centre.


Ruth Lamb, 13, Kirkby in Ashfield

Ruth goes to Ashfield School, and was nominated by Diane Humphreys, manager at John Eastwood Hospice Trust. Diane made the nomination because of the way Ruth responded to personal bereavement in such a positive way.

Diane explains: “Ruth has demonstrated that she is an outstanding young person. She has raised £4,000 for the John Eastwood Hospice Trust, a registered charity which supports specialist palliative care. It was Ruth’s own idea to pursue this challenge. She choreographed a dance that she has performed on many occasions and in a variety of settings.

“Ruth has shown terrific commitment to the challenge, which she has undertaken over several months, whilst continuing with her school work Her continued enthusiasm and commitment to raising funds is highly commendable.”

As well as performing her dance routine, Ruth has had a collection bucket at a pantomime, run a tombola stall in the Idlewells Shopping Centre (for which she provided the prizes), carried out bag packing in Morrison’s supermarket, organized a coffee and cake morning, and set up a crowdfunding page.

Diane continues: “Ruth undertook this challenge following the death of a friend.  She knew that the Hospice Trust was a charity close to her friend’s heart and wanted to do something in her memory. This was a time of great sadness for Ruth and yet she overcame her grief to do something positive.

“When I first met Ruth she was a relatively quiet and shy young person. I believe she will have had to overcome some confidence issues when performing in various, and very different settings. Her confidence continues to grow and she is now able to introduce herself to her audience and tell her story. I am also aware that Ruth has had ongoing health problems which have now been resolved.

Ruth has already raised a significant sum of money for our charity, which will directly benefit those in our community who need specialist palliative care services.  With what she has already raised we could purchase a special pressure-relieving mattress, or three reclining chairs, or three syringe drivers for pain and symptoms management”.

Diane concludes, “As well as raising these vital funds she has brought a great deal of pleasure, with her performance, to many people here in the hospice, in nursing homes, and in pubs and clubs.

“At 13 years of age she is an inspiration to us all.”

Councillor Tracey Taylor, Vice-Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee, said: “Ruth has made a great contribution and I’m pleased that her achievement has been recognised.”

Kelsie Cowen, 13, Bircotes

Kelsie was nominated for the award by Ann Marie Edwards, a youth worker at Bircotes Young People’s Centre. Ann Marie nominated Kelsie after being impressed by the way she has coped with bereavement and taken on the role as a carer to family members.

Ann Marie explains: “Kelsie lived with her grandmother and was her carer. She carried out daily cooking, cleaning, laundry and helped her grandma to get dressed. Sadly, her grandma passed away, and this had a significant impact on Kelsie. Her grandma had also been her guardian.”

Kelsie currently lives with her uncle. Her uncle has lupus and Kelsie is now a carer for him. She carries out tasks such as shopping, cooking, cleaning and other day to day tasks. As well as caring for her uncle, Kelsie’s brother was involved in a serious accident and he too needs her help.

Ann Marie continues: “For someone who is only 13, Kelsie has endured many difficulties. Obviously losing her grandmother was a major blow.  Because of her current caring responsibilities, she often misses out on activities with her friends and rarely gets to go on holiday”.

Ann Marie concludes, “Kelsie takes some comfort from attending her local youth club at Bircotes Young People’s Centre, where she can meet with friends and be a ‘normal girl’ for a while. She is well liked at school and in the youth club.

Councillor Tracey Taylor, Vice-Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee, said: “The 4Uth awards aim to recognise young people who have had to overcome adversity. Kelsie has cared for her family at a young age, while coping with the loss of her grandmother. She is a deserving winner.”

Jasmine Chapman, 11, Arnold

Jasmine attends Richard Bonnington School in Arnold. She was nominated for the award by Pastoral Teaching Assistant, Grace Collins.

Jasmine was nominated for several reasons, including her charity fundraising efforts, her sporting achievements, the way she has raised awareness of dwarfism in school and the community, and her overall approach to life.

Grace explains: “Jasmine has achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism. She decided she wanted to raise funds for Little People UK, a charity supporting people with the condition. She contacted Warwick Davis and asked him to come and help her give a school assembly and talk about dwarfism. He did so, providing a spellbinding afternoon of entertainment for the pupils. Jasmine and her mum worked tirelessly, collecting raffle prizes and putting on an amazing coffee morning, raising £1,500.

“Jasmine then set her sights on the Dwarf Sports Association UK (DSA UK), organising a fundraising day called 'Sport for All'. Pupils were able to try inclusive sports and raise money through sponsorship.

“Jasmine again enlisted celebrity support and Ellie Simmonds sent a personalised video, for an awareness assembly, where Tom Mills from DSA UK helped tell young people about dwarf sports. Another £1,400 was raised, which paid for inclusive PE equipment and also supported the work of DSA UK”.

The events and fundraising had a major effect on both the school and community. Jasmine helped many people to celebrate differences and to see the importance of attitude and approach to life in achieving goals.

Grace continues, “Last year Jasmine underwent major surgery to help straighten her spine, due to scoliosis. She showed no fear approaching the operation and made the most amazing recovery. She charmed everyone in the hospital with her positive attitude and outlook. As soon as she was able Jasmine was back doing what she loves most, getting involved in sport.

“She has a real passion for football and plays for the girls’ football team against other schools. She is a very talented player. She is also very good at Boccia and loves to swim.

This year Jasmine joined DSA UK and competed in the National Games in Birmingham, winning a number of medals. She wants to continue her involvement in sport, but knows, as she gets older, there will be fewer opportunities for her to compete in team games.  DSA UK will give her the chance to do what she loves and, as soon as she is old enough I predict Jasmine will represent the women’s football team at the DSA International Games”.

Grace concludes, “Jasmine doesn't let anything stand in her way.  As Jasmine started to notice she was different from her classmates, she set out to understand all about dwarfism and what it would mean for her. Jasmine then raised awareness in school and the community, so we could understand too.  She seems undaunted by anything and I am confident that she will be prepared for different challenges as she gets older. Jasmine is the sort of person that, wherever she goes, she will attract attention, for all the right reasons. Jasmine is truly inspirational”.

Councillor Tracey Taylor, Vice-Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee, said: “Jasmine’s belief in working hard and not letting anything stand in her way has served her well. She is an inspiring person, an aspiring sportswoman, and is more than worthy of this commendation.”

Connor Cherry-Evans, 15, Mansfield

Connor lives near Mansfield. He was nominated for this award by Linda Knighton and Paul Palmer, who are county council care workers. Connor was nominated because of the way in which he has worked through a traumatic period of disruption in his life, compounded by disability, to have hopes of a more positive future.

Paul and Linda explain: “Connor has managed to overcome many difficulties in his young life including, through no fault of his own, being taken into care, coping with family breakdown, a devastating move away from his neighbourhood and cultural background, mental anguish and fear of the future.”

Connor has epilepsy and ADHD and must take medication for these conditions. He has moved around the country several times, while in care. This adversely affected his education and development, as he had to cope with teenage fears as well as a lack of stable relationships. Connor has been faced with lots of challenging situations in life that do not affect many other teenagers, and he had a record of going missing from care, before he arrived at his present home.

Connor has worked hard to overcome these barriers and turn a difficult situation around. He is working hard at learning new skills and is taking his educational opportunities seriously.

Linda and Paul continue, “Connor no longer disappears from care because he feels that he has the support and the attention he requires. He is currently learning life skills that will stand him in good stead for the future and is enrolled in mainstream education, after many years out of formal education. He had missed a great deal of his education and lacked self-esteem and confidence. Now Connor has a private tutor who teaches him maths, English, science and other subjects.

“He has a flair in art and can produce brilliant drawings of animals and other things. He has become greatly enthused, openly showing his schoolwork to carers and others because he is so proud of what he has achieved.

“Connor was open about the fact that violence was prominent in his life, but he has achieved a remarkable turnaround. He recently visited the Holocaust Centre at Laxton in Newark, and this historical record of terrible events made a lasting impression on Connor, who recognised how violence can destroy and permanently scar humanity.

“Connor has become happier, brighter, smarter in his appearance and he has a desire to learn. He is getting help for his mental health through talking to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). He loves his Dad who now has a home in the Ilkeston area and they are both determined to make a life together. Connor and his Dad are decorating the house and choosing furniture and furnishings together”.

Linda and Paul conclude, “Connor and his Dad are working towards living together as a family which for Connor is amazing, as he has only ever known family conflict.

“Connor has shown by turning his troublesome behaviour around that he can now be a valuable member of the local community. He looks forward to the day when his Dad and he will be living together.”

Councillor Tracey Taylor, Vice-Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee, said: “Connor’s story shows how, with the right support, young people can turn their lives around. He has rightly been recognised by being one of this year’s 4Uth finalists.”

Jake Ramsay, 18, Balderton

Jake was nominated for this award because of the way he has overcome barriers presented by a learning disability and the impact of bereavement, to take on a much-valued role as a community volunteer.

Annie Tait, who nominated Jake, is just 14, the youngest person to ever nominate a 4Uth winner. She is a Member of the UK Youth Parliament for the Nottinghamshire Pioneers.

Annie explains: “At a very young age, despite having severe learning difficulties, Jake helped with the care needs of his mother who he sadly lost through cancer. He moved in with a carer who also unfortunately died, due to cancer.

“Jake then moved into a long-term foster placement with strangers, away from his home town. He had to adjust to this new situation, as well as coming to terms with the grief and trauma in his past. To help with this, Jake set up and ran cake stalls on several occasions, outside his home, to help to raise money for cancer research.”

Because of learning difficulties and being on the autistic spectrum, Jake struggles with reading, writing and retaining information. However, determined to become an active member of the Newark Community First Aid Group, he sat first-aid exams, over two days, with non-disabled students. He passed almost all the exams, so that he could become an active volunteer.

Annie continues: “Jake’s learning difficulties and autism meant he needed to attend a local special needs school. This meant having to overcome more barriers because of his inability to learn as easily as his neuro-typical peers. He has now left school and is in college. Jake continues to inspire us by the way he thrives and wants to improve, both physically and mentally, through his college work as well as all the things he achieves in his free time.

“Jake also decided that he wanted to help his local community in other ways. Every week he attends the local disability swimming club, helping and supporting other young people with special educational needs during their swimming lessons. He volunteers at the local Boys Brigade club, where he enthusiastically gives assistance and help wherever it is needed.

“As well as attending regular ongoing training every week for the Newark Community First Aid Group, Jake also attends local community events most weekends as a volunteer First Aider. He has helped at: Newark rugby club football matches, Newark Shows, and school tournaments.

Annie concludes: “Over the years, having to overcome grief and loss, Jake became an angry and frustrated young man. However, through fundraising and his commitment to help his local community and environment, he has become a lovely kind and helpful young man who has matured into an outstanding citizen. He spreads positive vibes wherever he goes.”

Councillor Tracey Taylor, Vice-Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee, said: “Jake has done so much to help his community, and to overcome loss. He is a very worthy recipient of this year’s 4Uth awards.”

Joe Morris, 15, Keyworth

Joe attends South Wolds Academy and was nominated for the award by Chris Seager, Youth Worker from Keyworth Young People’s Centre.

Chris nominated Joe because of the way he has overcome a difficult period in his life and learned to manage issues relating to mental health.

Chris explains: “Joe has become a regular member of the Young People's Centre at Keyworth, where he is a Senior Member who helps to support junior provision every Tuesday. He regularly contributes to the community of the centre and has built a solid friendship group in a short amount of time, having moved schools last year. Joe is also on track to do really well in his GCSEs and is keeping on track with revision and school work.”

Shortly after moving schools, Joe was diagnosed with a mental health condition, resulting in anxiety and stress.

Chris continues: “Joe found it very difficult to build friendships and spend time around groups of people, and, as a result, he was referred to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service). Consequently, and with support, he was able to face these issues and overcome them. Joe has now successfully been discharged and is meeting the challenges he faces with a very positive and healthy attitude.

“Joe is a very happy and friendly member of the youth community. He is always ready to get involved with serving the young people at Junior Club sessions and he helps to be a voice for his peers in the Senior Club, where he is a member. Joe is always polite and seeks to include his friends and new members.”

Councillor Tracey Taylor, Vice-Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee, said: “The 4Uth award recognises Joe’s excellent contribution to his community, overcoming a difficult time in his life. He can be proud of his achievement.”


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