Young Changemakers celebrated at national charity awards

A group of young Changemakers have been celebrated for changing lives through sport and play at a prestigious national awards evening.

Now in the second year, the Youth Sport Trust’s Young Changemaker Awards recognise young people across the country who have transformed their own life or the lives of others using the power of sport and play. Young people around the globe are also awarded through the Youth Sport Trust’s sister charity YST International.

Hosted by Radzi Chinyanganya, TV presenter, author and Ambassador for the Youth Sport Trust, a total of eight awards were presented as part of the virtual celebrations on 23 November.   

Ali Oliver MBE, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said:  

“It has been an amazing year of sporting moments. Whether it was the Lionesses roaring to victory at the Women’s Euros, the home countries bringing home multiple golds at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, or the Red Roses making strides on the rugby pitch. All these brilliant achievements are an inspiring advert for being the very best version of yourself.

“We have seen this translate into thousands of young people picking up the baton, championing the value of sport and play, leading and organising sport for others. All the young people recognised today are truly deserving of these awards, showing a genuine desire and commitment to making the world a better place for others.

“There is compelling evidence that young people who volunteer and take part in social action develop critical skills for employment and adulthood. Through Youth Sport Trust programmes, young people develop self-confidence, a sense of belonging and invaluable leadership skills. We are always amazed at the appetite these young Changemakers have for giving back and helping others. All our winners have used play and sport to address the issues that matter to a generation. I am incredibly proud of those who have been nominated.” 

The full list of the 2022 award winners and their stories are below:

YST Character and Leadership Award (Individual)

Holly Gate - The Purbeck School

Holly’s leadership journey began at primary school and has continued throughout secondary school and now into University life. Before leaving school in July 2022, Holly worked with School Games Organisers, former athletes, and her teachers to develop her confidence, overcome personal barriers and push herself out of her comfort zone using sport as a vehicle. She took to the stage with YST athlete mentor Aaron Phipps to present to 700 young people, teachers and deliverers at her school’s Leadership Academy. Holly has repeatedly and continually given up her own time to support others. During the holidays, she was involved in delivering the county School Games offer becoming an extended member of the delivery team by hosting the Summer Festival. Now at university locally, she has already been back to support with the delivery of primary leadership training. Holly has made a difference to thousands of young children’s lives in Dorset and continues to be an integral part of the Dorset School Games Community.

YST Character and Leadership Award (Group)

Libby Hudson, Ella Hudson, Maddi Smith & Rosie Lee – Girls Leadership and Marketing squad, Somercotes Academy

The group have been part of the Girls Leadership and Marketing squad (otherwise known as GLAMs) since the school started the YST Girls Active programme. The programme has given them a sense of pride, developing their confidence and provided them with an opportunity to showcase their love for sport and physical activity. The GLAMS have led PE lessons for previously inactive year 9 and 10 girls, delivered warmups to peers in their own PE lessons, and attended inspiration days where they encouraged year 9 girls to participate. Their biggest challenge to overcome was delivering an assembly to year 7 and 8 students on tackling the barriers girls face when participating in PE and sharing their experiences of sport in school to encourage students to attend clubs. The group played an integral role in Girls Active, achieving so much over a short period of time and will leave a legacy for years to come.

YST Inclusion Award (Individual)

Billy Ellerington - Horizons 6th form, St Martins School

Billy faced many challenges growing up with early diagnosis of ADHD, Tourette’s and associated learning difficulties. Following a permanent exclusion from mainstream secondary he found himself in a specialist setting which in his own words 'changed his life' after discovering the power of sport. Billy has used his own experiences to educate and inspire others. He has delivered training for senior school leaders, coached & led sports/fitness sessions for students and recorded a podcast with Professor Barry Carpenter. This summer, he fronted a campaign – the Active Summer Challenge - for the Youth Sport Trust, even learning some British Sign Language to make it inclusive for all.  


YST Inclusion Award (Group)

Young people sports panel - sportscotland (2020 - 2022)

The panel is formed of 20 passionate young people aged 14 to 23 who have been instrumental in breaking down barriers to improve access to sport and physical activity in Scotland. Over the last two years they have developed a “Kit For All” campaign to offer free recycled and pre-loved sports kit to individuals and families most in need during a cost-of-living crisis. The panel play an active role in sharing the campaign and recently encouraged all Young Ambassadors across Scotland to get involved.

YST Physical & Mental Health Award (Individual)

Ruby James - Pen Y Dre High School

Ruby was reserved, shy and struggling to adjust when starting secondary school following a family bereavement. She was put forward to take part in the YST Active in Mind programme to help with her confidence, self-esteem and communication skills. This year, Ruby’s confidence soared. She has become fully engaged during PE lessons and has gained the confidence to work and communicate within a team. Ruby has also been nominated as her form representative and works within the student parliament - something she would never have dared to do in the previous year.  


YST Physical & Mental Health Award (Group)

Archie Mason-James, Kieran Wray, Faye Dudley, Mohammed Al-Amin, Elizabeth Cohen, Alfie Taylor-Waite, Alana Harket & Jesse Burridge - Marjorie McClure School

The group of students from Marjorie McClure took part in YST’s Active in Mind programme and were invited to become Mental Health Champions for their school. Over the last few years, the school continued to operate in bubbles to protect vulnerable staff and students leading students to feel isolated. The group delivered mental, physical and team challenges, creating a series of films that each class could access each week. As Covid restrictions gradually lifted, students were able to meet the Mental Health Champions and have mentoring moments face to face. The group worked incredibly hard to bring back a little bit of magic during the pandemic.

YST Young Activist

Zoe Nabbs - South Bromsgrove High School

Zoe has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to supporting active opportunities across North Worcestershire within the last year. Alongside studying for her A levels, Zoe supported pupils in her school to take part in a local district dance festival. Just one week before the festival, her PE Teacher had to take premature Paternity leave and as the key organiser for the event, the festival was threatened with cancellation. Not willing to see hundreds of young people who had been practising for months disappointed, Zoe stepped in and convinced her school that she could take on the running and delivery of the event. Rallying her sixth form peers, Zoe took complete control on the day, compering the whole event with her peers, supporting and leading them the whole way. Zoe has gone above and beyond this year and truly demonstrates a passion for sport.


YST International Development Award

Lucy Protas Michael – Tanzania

Lucy is a graduate of the first Beckwith International Leadership Development Programme, which took place in her home country of Tanzania. After honing her leadership skills, Lucy followed a career in sport for development and set up Sports for Change, a sport for development organisation which uses sport as a tool to support health, wellbeing and address education challenges such as dropping out of school, truancy and teenage pregnancy and promote gender equality. Lucy has since represented Tanzania and broadened her skills at Youth Leadership Camps in Berlin and Sweden. At the Berlin event, Lucy was voted the most supportive and caring young leader by her peers.

The virtual awards ceremony was broadcast from Heathfields Primary School in Handsworth, close to where the action unfolded at the Alexander Stadium during this summer’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.  

Published on 23 November 2022