Whizz-Kidz celebrates young disabled role models, in star-studded awards ceremony at the House of Commons
Whizz-Kidz, the UK charity that supports young disabled people with mobility equipment, life skills and campaigning and leadership tools, held its first national recognition event – at a House of Commons ceremony on Wednesday 8 February 2012.
The Kidz Unlimited ‘Celebrating Achievement’ Awards celebrated the skills, talent and achievements of the charity’s Ambassadors and volunteers around the UK, and the important part the Ambassador Network plays in influencing change on a regional and national level in order to improve the lives of young disabled people. Hosted by Stuart Andrew MP, the ceremony had some very special guest award-givers including; Leader of the Opposition the Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP; Ade Adepitan MBE, sportsman, paralympian and television presenter; and journalist, political aide and author Alastair Campbell.
Hollyoaks actors Nick Pickard and Jimmy McKenna co-anchored the event, which also featured the very first beatboxer to perform in the House of Commons – international music artist Killa Kela.
You can see how the event looked in our Flickr slideshow:
Mark Lovell, Head of Youth Participation at Whizz-Kidz said: “Our intention was to make the first Kidz Unlimited Awards event one that young people can really ‘own’. It’s about them and their passions and achievements after all. With categories including ‘Young Campaigner of the Year’ and ‘Ambassador Club of the Year’, we’re holding up young role models and ensuring they’re proud of the things they’ve accomplished.
“The mix of politicians, decision makers, and actors and musicians reflects the variety of aspirations that disabled youngsters have – exactly the same as any their non-disabled friends.”
The event took place in front of an audience of MPs, young people, invited guests and members of the Whizz-Kidz family, and is believed to be the first event streamed live from the House of Commons, courtesy of Noonan Media; allowing audiences to follow the action online via Facebook, Twitter, Whizz-Kidz’s website. Australian children’s TV presenter Pip Russell was the event’s roving reporter, getting backstage interviews from Ambassadors and VIPs as the ceremony took place.
Ambassador of the Year was awarded to George Fielding, Campaigner of the Year to Arthur Lawson, Skillz Achiever of the Year to Harri Jenkins and Volunteer of the Year to Jack Fletcher. TheHartlepoolclub was recognised as Ambassador Club of the Year, with the Kidz Board Inspirational Role Model Award going to Baroness Tani Grey-Thompson.
International law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer – official legal services provider to the Olympics and Paralympics 2012 – supported the Kidz Unlimited Celebrating Achievement Awards. Freshfields has supported Whizz-Kidz Ambassadors to learn work skills and leadership by providing internships in 2011.
Simon Hall, Partner at the firm commented, “Freshfields is delighted to be supporting the Whizz-Kidz Celebrating Achievement Awards. These inaugural awards are a marvellous milestone for Whizz-Kidz, a great charity that makes a real difference to the lives of many disabled young people. All of us at Freshfields wish them every success both with the House of Commons event and with their ongoing work”.
You can also listen to our Kidz Board’s first ever podcast – recorded at their last meeting just before Christmas.
Whizz-Kidz is truly going global!
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Notes to Editors
- Whizz-Kidz has changed the lives of nearly 16,000 disabled children since 1990 – often literally overnight. The charity supports young people to access the right mobility equipment – including powered wheelchairs – at the right time; and delivers wheelchair skills-training, work placements, and other life-skills to help their transition from childhood to adulthood. There are still over 70,000 children in the UK who need our support.
- Whizz-Kidz aims to joint-fund mobility equipment where possible with local NHS services, and aims to ensure that much-needed improvements are made in delivering wheelchair services for children in the UK.
- The right wheelchair and mobility equipment is not automatically provided on the NHS, and it is virtually impossible for a young disabled person to get a powered wheelchair. Whizz-Kidz’s FastForward campaign is calling on Government to reform young people’s wheelchair services. www.whizz-kidz.org.uk/fastforward.