Young Person of the Year and Youth Organisation of the Year crowned at the national UK Youth Awards

    ·         Finalists were celebrated at a high-profile awards ceremony at the ICA before heading to a Reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by UK Youth Patron, HRH The Princess Royal

    ·         Sol Campbell, Nigel Mansell CBE and The Minister of Civil Society helped crown Young Person and Youth Organisation of the Year

    ·         Winners will be awarded grant funding and mentoring to continue their positive journey

    A 21 year old from Swansea and a youth club in Bolton have been announced as the winners of the UK Youth Awards at a high-profile awards ceremony and Reception at Buckingham Palace.

    The awards aim to celebrate young people’s astonishing achievements and the grassroots youth organisations that help them overcome adversity and build a future. A high-profile judging panel including former England international footballer, Sol Campbell, UK Youth President and F1 legend, Nigel Mansell and The Minister of Civil Society, Rob Wilson helped select six finalists who attended the exclusive ceremony.

    Gabriel Cole, a young member of YMCA Swansea, was named as UK Youth’s Young Person of the Year. The LBGT+ and hate crime awareness advocate has overcome his own gender and sexuality challenges to support and inspire many other young people.

    Speaking of his achievement, Gabe said: “I am incredible humbled and honoured to be named the Young Person of the Year at the UK Youth Awards. I was really lost and struggling with life before coming to my local youth club, the YMCA Swansea, but they helped me get my life together and I am very grateful for it. It’s great to get this national recognition with UK Youth and I hope it helps many other young people to strong, independent and brave.”

    Bolton Lads & Girls Club was named Youth Organisations of the Year at the UK Youth Awards. With a history spanning over a century, 2016 saw the club go from strength to strength and adapt to the changes in funding to become innovative in their services for young people. The club now supports 1 in 9 young people in their local area.

    Karen Edwards OBE, CEO of Bolton Lads & Girls Club said: “At the club we talk about being part of the ‘BLGC Family’ so it is a real pleasure to be part of the UK Youth family, sharing a common vision with plenty of growth and ambition for the future. 2016 has been such a pivotal year for the club so it’s fantastic to get this national recognition at the UK Youth Awards and we hope it inspires many other clubs to think about how to become innovative in their delivery.”

    The UK Youth Awards saw speeches from The Minister of Civil Society, Nigel Mansell CBE and UK Youth’s CEO, Anna Smee. The celebrations continued as all six finalists were invited to a Reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by UK Youth’s Patron, HRH The Princess Royal.

    UK Youth Awards judge Sol Campbell said: “Through my engagement with UK Youth over the last few months, I’ve been reminded of the truly incredible achievements of young people across the country and the youth organisations that support them. It was great to be able to celebrate their inspiring achievements at The UK Youth Awards and to meet all of the finalists at Buckingham Palace. It was a remarkable occasion and I can’t wait to see what the finalists achieve next.”

    Rob Wilson, The Minister for Civil Society said: "It was a joy to be a judge for this year's UK Youth Awards and celebrate the phenomenal success of the young people and organisations from UK Youth's network. All of the finalists should be very proud of their achievements and it was incredibly hard to choose the winners. It was a real pleasure to present Bolton Lads and Girls Club with Youth Organisation of the Year, whose hard work enables young people to believe in themselves and reach their full potential."

    Anna Smee, CEO of UK Youth said: “The UK Youth Awards ceremony was a truly remarkable and inspiring occasion, filled with dynamic, energetic and resilient young people and youth workers. Hearing each of the young finalists’ stories of how they overcame a range of adversities showcasing real bravery and strength reminded me of what a fantastic job I have. Similarly the youth organisations who have adapted in the wake of funding cuts to remain innovative, vibrant and sustainable showcased why youth work and informal learning is so crucial to helping young people build futures and gain independence. It was fantastic to celebrate their achievements at The UK Youth Awards and give them the national recognition they deserve."

    Nigel Mansell CEO, UK Youth’s President said: “The stories I hear from the UK Youth network never fail to inspire me. The resilience many young people showcase during turbulent times is not only testament of their hard work and dedication but also of the youth workers and organisations that support them on that journey. It was a real honour to celebrate both of these at the UK Youth Awards.”

    As winners of the UK Youth Awards Gabe and Bolton Lads & Girls Club will also receive grant funding of up to £350 and mentoring from top businesses to continue their positive journey.


    For more information about the finalists or to organise interviews, please contact:

    Emma Roberts, Communications Manager, UK Youth

    E: M: 07455 554 690

    Download high-res images here: 

    Information of the UK Youth Awards finalists:

    Young Person of the Year:

    -          Winner: Gabriel, aged 21 from Swansea. A LBGT+ and hate crime awareness advocate who has overcome his own gender and sexuality challenges to now support and inspire others to be strong, independent and brave.

    -          Highly Commended Finalist: Manpreet, aged 25 from Warwickshire (now lives in Oxford). As well being a young carer for his severely epileptic brother, Manpreet had to overcome his own personal mental health difficulties to transform into an inspiring young man with an infectious personality who is a role model to many local young people.

    -          Highly Commended Finalist: Millie, aged 17 from Guernsey. Since starting secondary school Millie suffered from social anxiety which resulted in her falling behind due to poor attendance. Millie has since gone on to be a local young leader, a confident speaker at several conferences and has even been consulted on local youth policy. 

    Youth Organisation of the Year:

    -          Winners: Bolton Lads and Girls, based in Bolton. One of the oldest and largest youth clubs in the country amassing over 127 years of experience to support 1 in 9 young people in the local area. 

    -          Highly Commended Finalists: Loud and Proud, based in Gosport. Founded by five teenagers in 2011 to combat the negative stereotypes of young people, the organisation has grown to support young people to carry out a wide range of group volunteering activities in the Gosport community.

    -          Highly Commended Finalists: Central Youth Theatre, based in Wolverhampton. Working with children and young people aged 8-25 for the last 33 years, the youth organisation mixes the creative arts with local history to instil a sense of civic pride and belonging.


    About UK Youth

    UK Youth is a leading national charity that empowers over 700,000 young people, aged 9-25, to take control of their own lives and offers them the support, encouragement and opportunities needed to reach their full potential. The aim is for every young person UK Youth works with, to become a positive force for change in their own life, and the lives of others. For more information please visit


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