The Kidz Unlimited Awards 2013 celebrated the skills, talents and dedication of young disabled people and volunteers around the UK. The awards were presented at a ceremony in the House of Commons on the 10th July 2013 — here you can find out about the awards categories and who was shortlisted for each.
Inspirational Young Person Award
This award recognises a Whizz-Kidz Ambassador for their outstanding commitment and contribution to Whizz-Kidz — someone whose personal commitment has inspired other Ambassadors and young disabled people outside of Whizz-Kidz.
Ayesha is the newest member of the Kidz Board, having grown in confidence hugely since joining her Ambassador Club in 2010. At first, Ayesha was lacking in self-esteem and wasn’t comfortable socialising outside of her family — but now she is much more confident. She has overcome her fear of using public transport, is a Whizz-Kidz Young Leader, and was involved in a Children in Need event where she took a leading role in a workshop. At her club, Ayesha supports new members and buddies up with younger members of the group who are unsure. She’s an incredibly warm young person and always willing to go the extra distance.
The first time Nathan was away from his family was when he attended Camp Whizz-Kidz, and since then his confidence has grown enormously. He is fully immersed in his role on the Kidz Board and has represented Whizz-Kidz at many events — often speaking in front of large groups of people. Nathan now attends National Star College — 120 miles from his house — and has been elected as a student representative for his residential house, despite being the youngest member. Nathan has also found the time to pursue his passion of being a football referee, and is the only wheelchair user to become qualified as an FA Small Sided Football referee.
Conor is a real champion for Whizz-Kidz; attending Children in Need events and talking in front of his whole school assembly about the charity – encouraging them to get involved in fundraising. As well as a being a dedicated campaigner and fundraiser, Conor is a valuable member of his Ambassador Club and often shares ideas on how the Club can be improved to make it more enjoyable for all. Other members of the club really look up to Conor and he has really grown in confidence since he became involved with Whizz-Kidz. He now takes part at every opportunity, proudly and enthusiastically.
Charlotte is well respected and looked up to by all members of her local Club. She always thinks of others first and encourages others to come out of their shell. Also a keen fundraiser, Charlotte has travelled long distances to get involved in events and she’s returned at least 10 full collection tins! One of Charlotte’s best moments was when she supported Whizz-Kidz at Wheelchair Skills Training; running warm ups, buddying up one-to-one and leading one of the activities. On top of all this, Charlotte has been the driving force behind her club’s campaign, writing to local councillors and promoting the campaign at her school.
During a Club campaign, Delphine arranged for a group of councillors to travel the route to school so they could see some of the poor access along the pavements. As a result, the councillors have pledged to make a positive change across the county. Delphine has a slight speech impairment which, in the past, meant she was reluctant to talk to large groups. Now, her confidence and communication skills have improved so much that she’ll take the lead in her club and has delivered presentations in school to raise awareness of Whizz-Kidz. Delphine has raised hundreds of pounds for Whizz-Kidz, and has become a passionate and supportive Young Leader.
Skills Achiever Award
This award recognises young people who have taken on new skills learnt at a scheme, club, work placement or camp and have used them to dramatically improve and add value to their lives.
Jess has been nominated for her outstanding personal achievements, particularly over the course of her journey through Whizz-Kidz’s wheelchair skills training. When Jess first attended the sessions, she was in the beginners group and was only able to change direction by stopping first. By the end of the first day, she’d improved so much that she was able to move anywhere – and quickly joined an advanced group. Following on from her training Jess has become more mobile, independent and confident and at a later session she demonstrated that she’s now able to cross roads safely while negotiating other pedestrians.
A few years ago, Shaquille was a very quiet and shy individual, who was not in employment, training or education and spent most of his days at home. Since he started attending his local Whizz-Kidz Ambassador Clubs and Camp Whizz-Kidz, all that has changed. Shaquille now attends sixth form college where he is popular with students and staff. He has become far more independent, social and confident – and sometimes a bit cheeky! At the last Camp Whizz-Kidz he attended he even had the confidence to take part in a rap battle, challenging another boy in front of the whole group!
When Whizz-Kidz first met Paige she was very shy and aware of her disability. This all changed, when Paige took part in a number of Whizz-Kidz work placements. She has worked in Herts County Council communications team, where she had her work published in their internal magazine, and most recently at The Daily Telegraph – where again she has had four stories published on their website. Paige is now a much more confident individual and is better able to ignore and deal with discrimination. She has been a strong mentor for young disabled people at Camp Whizz-Kidz. She is now looking forward to starting university.
Campaigner of the Year Award
This award recognises Whizz-Kidz Ambassadors who have been empowered to initiate and develop their own campaigns regionally and also Ambassadors who have actively campaigned as individuals to help Whizz-Kidz achieve its core aims.
An active campaigner at his local Ambassador Club, Nathan also works hard in his own time to improve his home city’s accessibility to disabled people. Through his website, Accessible Leeds, Nathan visits public spaces, restaurants, shops and transport to assess where there is good disabled access, and names and shames those that aren't inclusive. He has raised his findings with his local MP, and his efforts even received a mention in Parliament. Nominated for a Diversity Award in 2012, Nathan is passionate about improving the lives of all disabled people. Enthusiastic and tenacious, he is a role model to his peers.
Laurie is a popular member of his local Ambassador Club in Croydon. Winning people over with his cheeky sense of humour, Laurie is a passionate leader, who recently took on the role of sitting on a British Red Cross project steering group, where he spearheads a programme which trains young disabled people to train other youngsters in first aid. His hard work and drive is ensuring the project meets the needs of young disabled people, including those with more complex needs, and he acts as an advocate for the scheme to external agencies and decision makers.
Chris is a passionate campaigner, often taking the lead at his local Ambassador club in Manchester, which this year focussed on the abuse of disabled car parking spaces – with Chris helping create an action plan to move the campaign forward. Chris recently undertook a work placement at Manchester City FC – a task which tested Chris almost to his limits as a card carrying Man United fan! In 2012, Chris represented Whizz-Kidz at the Labour Party Conference – where he lobbied MPs and raised awareness of the importance of young disabled people accessing the appropriate mobility equipment at the right time.
Volunteer of the Year Award
This award recognises volunteers who have selflessly contributed their time, energy and skills to Whizz-Kidz. The Whizz-Kidz volunteering programme contains many opportunities including supporting Ambassador Clubs, Wheelchair Skills Training schemes, Fundraising, Campaigning and administrative roles. The quality of the services we deliver are transformed through volunteer support and this award will recognise those who have been the most dedicated and committed.
Alison has volunteered at nearly every Ambassador Club in Cardiff and Swansea over the past two years and has worked to support the group and the club leaders in between meetings. Alison has run activities ranging from plasticine modelling and t shirt designs to sports activities. She is able to draw out even the most timid and shy young people in the group. Alison started volunteering as a student, and after graduating has stayed involved, despite moving away from the area for a while. She brings a sense of fun and occasional mischief to the group, which the young people love.
Over the last two years, Emma has attended around 30 events for Whizz-Kidz, including five Camp Whizz-Kidz, many Clubs and schemes and is a weekly volunteer to support the Young People's Team in the office. This is a massive commitment in terms of time, travel and energy. Emma has been particularly invaluable while delivering residential camps – which involve long days, and immense energy and enthusiasm. Working with the young people is when Emma really shines, particularly when they are away from home. As a disabled person herself, she is a great role model to other young disabled people.
Geoff has been volunteering for Whizz-Kidz for over 20 years, since his daughter Ruth received her wheelchair from the charity when she was five. Geoff has found many different ways to support Whizz-Kidz – he’s organised big fundraising events including a charity carol concert, raised over £1,200 by putting collection cans in local shops, given speeches about Whizz-Kidz to over 200 people and volunteered working with young people at Ambassador Clubs. As well as young disabled people, Geoff also gets on really well with the parents and carers of young people. He’s an incredibly generous and hard-working volunteer, and always goes above and beyond – nothing is too much for him.
Ambassador Club of the Year Award
This award recognises and celebrates an Ambassador Club which has made an outstanding contribution to the Ambassadors, volunteers and trainers who attend - whilst also making an impact within the community.
The Birmingham Ambassador Club is an extremely close and supportive group and their campaigning and fundraising efforts have had great success. Their work with their local shopping centre, the Bullring, has resulted in the centre opening its first fully accessible toilet, complete with a hoist and changing bed. The shopping centre has also adapted its disabled parking spaces to accommodate side access and taller vehicles. The club’s latest campaign, Space Invaders, encourages people to think twice before parking in a disabled space - the club has raised excellent local awareness, and even gained the support of a local councillor who wrote a blog post about them.
Southend on sea
The energetic Southend on Sea Ambassador Club is brilliant at getting its members involved in the local community. The group took part in a consultation where they were able to give their opinions on services for disabled people in their area. One of their recommendations was for a website that features activities for young disabled people in Southend – this is now up and running. The organiser of the consultation was so impressed with the group that they’ve now been invited to take part in a wider consultation where they’ll have the chance to influence local decision makers on issues that affect them.
The Edinburgh Ambassador club is great at working together and having fun - some of their activities have included creating music and performing together - and even creating a mini ‘movie’. They created ‘You’re not blue, this space ain’t for you’ to stop non-disabled people parking in disabled spaces, and the club has raised awareness by putting stickers on cars that are incorrectly parked in disabled bays. A member of the group also went on the radio to raise awareness of Whizz-Kidz. Visitors to Edinburgh Club, such as local councillors, are always welcomed and leave with better understanding of the Ambassadors’ issues.
When the Dudley Ambassador Club began last year it only had five members, but down to the group’s promoting skills, it’s now a team of 15 Ambassadors who regularly meet in and outside of their clubs. The Dudley Club visited a local shopping centre to audit shops on disability awareness and accessibility – conducting a survey, writing letters, and even creating a training DVD with the help of a university student, to give to the shops. The video, ‘Talk to me, don’t ignore me’ has now had over 200 views on YouTube and even has the support of an MP, who wrote an article about it.
Whizz-Kidz Access and Inclusion Award
This award recognises a company or provider that has contributed to making its services more inclusive and accessible to disabled people over the last 12 months – as nominated by the Kidz Board.
In 2012, following an initial audit of the airport by the Kidz Board, BAA Heathrow worked collaboratively with Whizz-Kidz’s young people to get Terminal 5 ready for thousands more disabled customers and travellers in anticipation of the Paralympic Games in London. One of the outcomes was an increase in the number of specialist lifts used to help disabled users embark and disembark aircraft; this number now exceeds any other airport in Europe. Other adaptations include new accessible toilets and an onsite wheelchair repair service.
The legacy of the changes made during the Paralympic year will continue to benefit passengers with reduced mobility for years to come.
British Red Cross
This pioneering project is the first of its kind in training and educating young disabled people with first aid knowledge and skills.
The project set out to train 15 young Whizz-Kidz Ambassadors, some of whom have more complex needs, and giving them a skill set which will not only enable them to save lives but also will allow them to pass on this knowledge to others. The aim was that the 15 strong Whizz-Kidz team could train and educate a further 250 peers within one year.
The Kidz Board wanted to acknowledge the project for giving confidence and empowering young people with leadership qualities.
The Kidz Board wish to recognise Channel 4 for its disability programming, not only for its extensive and award-winning coverage of the Paralympics, but for programmes such at The Last Leg, The Undateables, I'm Spazticus and the No Go Britain special reports.
Channel 4's coverage was recognised as changing attitudes towards disabled people and the young people were particularly impressed by how the broadcaster has incorporated disabled presenters, and discussed issues important to disabled poeple, in a normalising (sometimes self-deprecating) way. The board felt it right to recognise Channel 4's work because of its upbeat, positive, and assumption-challenging take on disability, an approach shared by Whizz-Kidz.
Generation Inspired Award
This award is linked to Whizz-Kidz’s Generation Inspired manifesto, launched in early 2013 – and recognises an individual who has proved inspirational and empowering; someone who has tested public perceptions regarding what disabled people can achieve. Nominations were open to the public, and the winner selected by The Kidz Board. The winner will be announced during the Ceremony.