Diversity's Ashley Banjo surprised unsuspecting Future 4 Me staff and service users by attending an art workshop to announce Future 4 Me had won the coveted National Lottery "Best Charity Project Award".
See a full set of photos of the moment Ashley arrived at the Trinity Arts Centre
Future 4 Me beat off stiff competition from larger, national projects to get 7,333 public votes to win.
As well as receiving an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and a £2,000 cash prize, the project will have its work showcased at a star-studded Awards ceremony, The National Lottery Stars, broadcast on BBC One on Monday 21 September.
Over the last three years, Future 4 Me has helped 365 young people in the West of England get their lives back on track after they have left care and custody.
The project’s unique approach provides intensive one-to-one support around housing, mentoring, independent living skills, counselling, education, training and employment opportunities – helping young people rebuild their lives.
The key to Future 4 Me is the one-to-one relationships formed between staff and young people but it wouldn't work without the support of the partner organisations involved in the project. We work closely with four Local Authorities and Youth Offending Teams - Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, the South West Resettlement Consortium, Avon and Somerset Police and Youth Justice Board, and with local voluntary sector partners - Creative Youth Network, Prince's Trust, Empire Fighting Chance, Youth Education Service and Learning Partnership West. It's a great collaboration giving vulnerable young people access to the opportunities they deserve to succeed.
Ashley Banjo, leader of dance troupe Diversity, which won the third series of Britain's Got Talent, was delighted to meet young people supported by the project and youth workers:
“Future 4 Me is an incredibly inspirational project which has turned hundreds of young lives around. Those helped speak volumes about the practical and intensive support they have had through difficult times. National Lottery players should be proud that their money is having such a positive impact on so many young people.”
Jamie Gill, Partnerships Director from 1625 Independent People, is delighted that their work has been recognised by the British public:
“It was brilliant to see the young people’s joy and surprise when Ashley presented them with a National Lottery Awards trophy. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received; a million thanks to everyone who voted for us. This is tremendous recognition for the achievements of our young people and will showcase our work to a national audience.”
Future 4 Me Ambassador, Sophia was helped by the project when she left care at 17 and now works for North Somerset Council designing services and courses for other care leavers:
“I am delighted that the British public have recognised that 1625 Independent People is such an amazing charity. I don’t know where I’d be without Future 4 Me. Before I had their help, I was getting into trouble and I didn’t care about much. Now my life is exactly where I want it to be – helping other young people leaving care so they can get the right support they need too.”
-Read more about the work of the Future 4 Me project
-Watch the official Future 4 Me National Lottery Film (opens in Youtube)
-Watch a brilliant 30 second animation about the project produced by awardwinning filmmaker Joe Magee Future 4 Me animation (opens in Youtube)
-Read an article in Children and Young People Now magazine highlighting Future 4 Me's work as "Good Practice"
1625 Independent People is a voluntary, not-for-profit organisation and relies on donations and support from the public and private sector.
Support 1625 Independent People
Please consider a regular donation to help us maintain this crucial service for young people - there are many other ways you can help too. Find out more about supporting us
If you'd like more information about the Future 4 Me project or the National Lottery Award please contact:
Pilar Garcia, Funding and Communication Manager
Tel: 0117 317 8800 / Fax: 0117 317 8849