Youth Worker of the Year 2018 #UKYAwards18

9 November 2018

  • Blog

Our ‘Youth Worker of the Year’ Award is sponsored by Robert Langley Asset Management and recognises the incredible achievements from youth workers in our network. We’re delighted to have received such a high volume of nominees this year – showcasing how youth workers have gone above and beyond to make a difference in young people’s lives. Here are some of the inspiring stories from our shortlisted candidates!


Cheryl Banks

Cheryl is a passionate and dedicated youth worker who consistently strives to advocate for young people.  Currently, she works at West Kent Extra House @ Eden Centre.  She has worked as a youth worker for over 20 years ensuring young people’s voices are heard.  Recently she has developed a Crime Prevention programme, which has already seen successful results.  The programme is improving relationships between young people and the police and the area has started to see a reduction in crime.  Cheryl also works far beyond her contracted hours – she will never turn away a young person who needs her support – it is this level of support that has enabled her to develop honest and authentic relationships with young people and help them to build bright futures for themselves.  Her knack for getting through to young people has helped see many of them go on to training, education or employment including a number of whom are now also employed by Edenbridge Youth Forum.

Young person: “Without Cheryl’s support I might have been homeless, or worse.  She has supported me with my mental health during a trying time, and in finding housing when I had nowhere to go…Not only is she a wealth of knowledge, but she will be right by your side helping you to navigate through it all, encouraging you to keep going.”


Jaden Osei Bonsu

Jaden works as a Progression Routes Officer with Leap Confronting Conflict.  He supports young people by helping them find a way to move into education or training.  His dedication to young people is evident in the fact that some 70% of the 122 individuals he has worked with have progressed into education, training or employment.  Jaden has also been responsible for the Young Ambassadors Group programme, which helps develop young people confidence allowing them to become active spokespeople in their communities.  Jaden is constantly thinking about how he can provide more opportunities for the young people he works with and works to build relationships with other organisations and businesses.  One young person, Tom, came to Jaden for support as he had not had a job in two years. Together they worked on his CV and ensured he knew every detail. Tom came back from an interview ‘buzzing’ as he was able to answer every question. He ended up getting the job and said it was down to his work with Jaden and the self-belief he has instilled in him.

Leap Confronting Conflict: “Jaden helps young people begin to realise their strengths, value, and self-worth.”


Jay Wrench

Jay personally understands the benefits and importance of youth work having himself been engaged in the process since he was 11.  Becoming the main carer for his parents, who suffer from severe learning difficulties, at a very young age, Jay has overcome a lot of adversity in his own life and is now helping other young people do the same.  Jay first became a youth leader at Youth Zone and is now employed full time by Wigan Youth Zone as a Youth Worker.  Jay has been described by many members as their favourite member of staff and the dedication and support he provides are invaluable.  He works to make Youth Zone an inclusive environment and constantly strives to better and more cost-effectively engage young people to change their lives. Jay’s mantra: “If you believe, you will achieve.”

Wigan Youth Zone: “Jay helps create a comfortable, exciting and inviting start to young people’s Youth Zone journey which can lead to limitless possibility and opportunity.”


We’re excited to meet all the amazing candidates in person on Tuesday 13th November at the UK Youth Awards 2018. Be sure to follow the hashtag #UKYAwards18 and our twitter page @UKYouth for live coverage of the winners on the night!


If you would like to see more shortlisted candidates check out our nominees for ‘Youth Organisation of the Year’ and ‘Young Person of the Year’.

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