NORTH EAST CHARITY Streetwise has launched a new award to celebrate the inspirational young people living and working in our region.

To celebrate their 25th birthday, Streetwise has searched the North East for 25 Inspirational Young People to be presented with an award at their ‘Summer Blast from the Past’ birthday celebration event to be held at Wylam Brewery, Exhibition Park on Wednesday 30th August 2017.

38 young people (aged 13 – 18) from across the North East have been nominated for their outstanding contribution to their communities and their devotion to the betterment of other young people in the region.

The nominees include Shakira Yates, an inspirational young woman who has overcome her own problems to establish youth groups and dance classes in her community, fundraising through Soup and The Key and showing her unwavering commitment to developing her sessions for her attendees, even buying uniforms for her group, who start from just 5 years of age.

Stephen Thornton, age 19, has been nominated by his older sister after suffering cruel bullying at school. Stephen’s passion and knowledge of trains led him to volunteer at the Stephenson Railway in Wallsend where his enthusiasm and aptitude has been noticed and rewarded.

On nominating him for the award, Stephen’s older sister said: “As the oldest sibling and (at times) annoying big sister, I have watched Stephen grow up from being a painfully shy teenager with virtually no confidence or self-esteem to an exceptional young man. To see the incredible transformation from sheer grit, hardwork and determination into the inspirational young man he is today is what makes me the proudest big sister in the world and is one of two reasons why I have nominated him for this award.”

Mandy Coppin, chief executive of Streetwise said: “The caliber of entries for the first inspirational youth awards was outstanding and we have had a hard job whittling down the shortlist. Our young people are a credit to our region and I can’t wait to celebrate all of their hard work this August. We have plenty of surprises up our sleeve at our summer event and you definitely won’t want to miss it!”

Over the past 25 years the charity has helped over 300,000 young people in the North East by providing free, confidential and non-judgmental information and advice support services.

Its services include an open access drop-in for information, advice and guidance; a sexual health service; detached outreach; and counselling both face-to-face and online. These services help enhance young people’s personal, social and emotional development, equipping them with skills for the future.

To celebrate the charity’s impressive achievements over the last 25 years, Streetwise has launched its ‘Hour North East’ campaign to encourage the region’s business community to pledge to fund just one, five, 25 or 50 hours of counselling for a North East young person which will help local young people to overcome depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, bullying and trauma.

As a charity, Streetwise relies on philanthropy from a range of funders who recognise the importance of its work and the clear benefit it provides to young people. To find out more about how to support ‘Hour North East’ please email;mandy@streetwisenorth.org.uk or to make a donation please logon to www.virginmoneygiving.com/charities/streetwisenorth or text Wise25 £25 to 70070.