More than 150 young people, children in care and care leavers were celebrated for their talents and achievements at a glittering ceremony for Croydon STAR Awards 2019.
Now in their second year, the awards are open to the hundreds of children and young people who are looked after or have been looked after by Croydon Council.
The 15 categories are designed to recognise every kind of success, from academic and sporting achievement to inspiring others, caring for siblings and personal journeys. Every young person who is nominated receives an award.
At Friday’s event, held in The Recreational at the newly-refurbished Fairfield Halls, all the young people who attended were invited on stage to receive star trophies and certificates. They were accompanied by their carers and the social workers, teachers and members of the community who had nominated them.
Two young people received special awards, including a care-leaver who had fled North Korea and travelled to the UK unaccompanied to seek asylum. Despite these challenges, she had excelled at school and university. The second special award was presented to a young person who, despite battling a serious health condition over several years, always tries to see ‘the good part’ and has been described by others as ‘kindness personified, absolutely amazing and inspirational’.
Awards were handed out by council leaders including Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning, the Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Humayun Kabir, and Rob Henderson, executive director for children and families. They were joined on stage by Servelec, who sponsored the event.
Pauline, one of two young people who hosted the evening, said: “The STAR Awards are important because they make young people feel appreciated, cared for and valued. They feel better because they are doing something for the community.”
The audiences were treated to performances by Bensham Manor School’s rock band, and Legacy Youth Zone’s dance troupe, NRGY.
“I am, as always, absolutely inspired by our STAR Award winners, and by all of the children and young people we are honoured to look after. These awards and all the many things they achieve, every single day, are testament to the strength and determination that is in every single one of them.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning
Councillor Flemming also thanked the council’s youth engagement team and the young people who make up Croydon’s children in care council Empire, which shapes council policy on young people looked-after. She told them ‘Your voices matter.”
Croydon Council is backing all its children and young people to make positive life choices through the national award-winning Choose your Future campaign, which has united more than 100 organisations locally in support of young people.