High Sheriff’s Young Citizen of the Year winner announced
A Skelmersdale teen has been named as the High Sheriff of Lancashire’s Young Citizen of the Year 2017.
Grant Walker, 18, topped a list of more than 65 young and inspiring people from across the county who have made a real difference in their community.
The announcement was made during a special award ceremony at Lancashire Police headquarters in Hutton on Thursday, March 23rd.
Grant was praised by judges for his work volunteering to help rebuild a community in the depths of Africa and transforming community gardens in Tanhouse, Skelmersdale, despite personal challenges he faced.
John Barnett, High Sheriff of Lancashire, said: “The Young Citizen of the Year Award promotes young people’s achievements, highlighting the valuable contribution they make to the communities in which they live.
“My wife Danielle and I were delighted with the number and variety of entrants for this year’s prize, but, following careful adjudication with the judging panel, we felt Grant was a worthy winner.
“With an extremely challenging childhood and difficulties Grant still gave up his personal time selflessly to help to re-build a community in Africa bringing happiness and life into a disabled community which needed it the most and leaving an imprint of his kindness and good will to help others across the world”
“These awards are designed to celebrate the fantastic work young people like Grant do every day.”
A panel of judges including the current High Sheriff, the Lancashire Partnership Against Crime (LANPAC); Joel Arber, Pro Vice-Chancellor from the University of Central Lancashire and the former High Sheriff Rodney Swarbrick, who initiated the award, also selected a second and third place.
Runner-up Megan Holmes, 12, from Penwortham, was congratulated for her the idea of the ‘hope bag’ which contains items such as hats, gloves, socks, toiletries and foil blankets to be handed out to homeless people living on the streets.
Megan came up with the idea whilst out Christmas shopping with her mum when she noticed numerous people who were spending a cold winter night on the streets of Preston.
In third place was Lewis Baxter, 18, from Blackburn who was recognised for his work in promoting awareness of mental health and understanding others after previously suffering with depression himself.
Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary Steve Finnigan said: “We are extremely proud of our continued involvement in the Young Citizen of the Year Award and I am delighted that we have been able to host the award ceremony here at our headquarters in Hutton.
“I have heard all about the wonderful nominations received and the great work that the entrants have done to support other people and communities – some local, some international - that need it.
“I would like to personally congratulate the winner, Grant, along with the runners up Megan and Lewis for their outstanding, selfless contributions in helping others including disabled children in Africa, the homeless and those suffering with mental health issues.
Joel Arber, Pro Vice-Chancellor from the University of Central Lancashire added: “It’s tremendous to see so many examples of selflessness, initiative, drive and bravery from young people across the county.
“It has been truly inspiring to learn of their achievements and the impact they’ve made on the people and communities around them.
“Grant is an extremely worthy Young Citizen of the Year who’s not only made a great contribution in his local community but has used his skills to make a real difference to people’s lives in Africa.”
Young people these days tend to get a bad press because, as so often happens, the majority are let down by the actions of a relative few. I am looking to celebrate young people's achievements, and acknowledge their valuable and often unrecognised contribution to the communities in which they live or work.
Are you aware of a young person or group of young people, ideally aged 21 or under, who has helped their local neighbourhood, an individual, a family member or a local organisation within the last 12 months? If so, I would like you to nominate them for the High Sheriff of Lancashire's Young Citizen of the Year Award 2017.
I am especially keen to hear about initiatives that help make local communities safer and better places to live, those which help to regenerate deprived areas or those which help people to build confidence and unlock their true potential. Tell me about the results and impact their actions have had - and what difference they have made to a particular person, group or the community as a whole.
Winners and runners up will be selected by me and a panel of judges which will include representatives from the Lancashire Partnership Against Crime (LANPAC), Lancashire Constabulary, UCLAN and Rodney Swarbrick CBE DL, a former High Sheriff who initiated this awards scheme.
All finalists will be invited to attend a presentation at Lancashire Constabulary Headquarters in March 2017 where the winner will receive £500 along with a specially commissioned trophy and certificate from the High Sheriff and Chief Constable Steve Finnigan. Two runners up will also receive £100 and a certificate.
The scheme is being administered by the Lancashire Partnership Against Crime (LANPAC) charity on behalf of the High Sheriff and the closing date for nominations is 31st January 2017.
For further information or guidance please contact Al Yusuf on 01772 412796
John Barnett MBE DL, High Sheriff of Lancashire 2016-2017