The annual search for Sunderland’s most inspiring young people is underway, with the launch of Sunderland’s Young Achievers’ Awards 2018.
The awards, which are organised by Together for Children with the support of local businesses and Sunderland City Council, recognise and celebrate the outstanding contribution made by young people in all aspects of life, from performing arts, to sport, culture and community.
This year’s awards were launched by singing sensation Tom Smith, aged 12, from East Rainton, who scooped the overall award last year in a glittering ceremony at the Stadium of Light. Tom won the Music and Performing Arts Category (8-13) as well as the overall award.
He was born with a life limiting condition, hypo-plastic left heart syndrome, meaning he was born with only half a working heart. Despite his condition, Tom continues to write and perform his music, even attracting praise from X-Factor’s Simon Cowell.
Tom said: “I was extremely proud to win the overall award last year, and felt very overwhelmed at the time. It’s great to feel that what you do has been recognised and the awards are a really good event for young people in Sunderland. I’m excited to help launch this year’s awards and I can’t wait to see who wins.”
The Young Achievers’ Awards are open to anyone living in Sunderland aged between eight and 20, and categories include Music and the Performing Arts, Personal Achievement, Academic Achievement, Young Carer, Young Volunteer, Sport, School Council, and Anti-Bullying, Young Apprentice and Service to the Community.
Sue Carty, Director of Quality and Performance at Together for Children said: “Together for Children puts young people at the heart of everything we do and that’s why these annual awards are such a highlight for us. Every year when the nominations come in, we hear so many fantastic and moving stories about the achievements of young people in our city and I’m sure this year will be no exception.
“I’d encourage anyone who is thinking of nominating to take the time and help our city’s young people get the recognition they deserve.” Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Councillor Louise Farthing, added: “I am honoured to help launch nominations for Young Achievers 2018, and invite people to put forward the names of young people they'd like to receive recognition for their massive, individual contribution to life in our city.
“I think it is more important than ever that we recognise the talent and commitment that exists within our young people, and I believe that these awards are a great incentive for all our young people to strive to be the best that they can be in whatever they do.”
This year’s award sponsors include Gentoo, Wearside Orthodontics, Sun FM, Sunderland Carers Centre, Everyone Active, Sunderland College and the R&B Group.
Susie Thompson, Deputy Director (Operations) at Gentoo, said: “We are proud to once again be sponsoring Sunderland’s Young Achievers’ Awards. We have so many talented young people in Sunderland and these awards are the perfect opportunity to celebrate and recognise them.
“At Gentoo, we believe in inspiring people to make a difference in their communities and each year we are amazed by the achievements of those nominated. Young people play a pivotal role within our City and we would encourage everyone to get involved and nominate those that they feel have made a real difference.”
Sun FM breakfast show host Simon Grundy, who will be hosting the award ceremony with his colleague Danni, added: “Every year we’re amazed at the quality of talent in this area and there must be more undiscovered young talented people, so we need to find them.”
All winners and runners-up will be invited to attend the awards presentation and annual celebratory event at the Stadium of Light on March 22nd 2018. To nominate online visit the Sun FM website. Nominations must be submitted by Friday November 17th.