INSPIRATIONAL young people from around Oxfordshire will be celebrated at an awards ceremony arranged by youngsters themselves.
Nominations opened on Tuesday for the fourth Oxfordshire Youth Awards, which will take place on Thursday, February 21, at Oxford Town Hall, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.
This year, for the first time, a youth committee has a pivotal role in nearly every aspect of organising the awards, which are run by Oxfordshire Association for Young People (OAYP).
Eight students, aged between 14 and 17, from Wheatley Park School, make up the youth committee.
They were chosen because they exemplify qualities of leadership necessary to co-ordinate the awards process, and to organise fundraising, sponsorship, budget management and event planning.
Now youngsters are urging people to make their nominations.
Committee member Emily Jeffery, 17, from Little Milton, said: “There are young people who have done good things who need to be recognised.
“There is a lot of bad press about some teenagers being thugs but so many of them do good that people don’t notice.”
Rebecca Cross, 16, from Worminghall, near Bicester, said: “I just thought it was a good opportunity and it is quite nice that we arrange the awards.”
Pansy Poolman, 14, from Risinghurst, said: “The committee is such a nice group of people to work with and organising the event is so much fun.”
Poppy Moorhouse, 14, from Wheatley, said: “I am looking forward to reading all the nominations.”
Anyone can make a nomination for the awards, but all nominations must be made through the OAYP website.
Youth Awards trustee Emmy O’Shaughnessy added: “A group of young people have been involved in the past, but their role has mainly involved helping with the latter stages of the Youth Awards process.
“The major difference to really stress is that this year the youth committee are being involved in every aspect of realising the youth awards.
“They are responsible for designing posters, tickets, banners, slogans and are involved in fundraising, raising awareness of the event through social media, finding performers for the night, and of course the event production.
“The school was chosen due to its proximity to OAYP headquarters, and to build up a positive local relationship between youth organisation and school.
“Wheatley Park School also has a wide range of students who live in both city and rural environments.”
This year the event has received additional backing from Carl Anglim, the founder of Oxford Fashion Week, who learnt about the awards scheme through his work at the centre for business and innovation at Science Oxford.
There he was impressed by youngsters’ enthusiasm and met Dave Hutchinson, the chairman of OAYP, who asked if he would be interested in being a trustee.
Mr Anglim, 26, added: “There’s a bit of an obsession with problems associated with young people.
“Our focus is to say that young people do incredible things.
“The awards are different this year, there’s more of them and I’m really interested to see the sort of nominations we get.”
To find out more about nominating a young person visit the website oayp.org.uk