O2 celebrates community champions

Schools, youth organisations and groups from across Warrington, Widnes and Runcorn have been praised for their community activities in the O2 Think Big Young People Awards at Preston Brook today Thursday (24th March, 2011)

Warrington Youth Club and St Gregory’s High School both picked up trophies in team categories while 13-year-old Dylan Waters of Sir Thomas Boteler School was named O2 Think Big Champion of the Year for his work in raising awareness about environmental issues. Pupils at the Bankfield School in Widnes picked up an awards double for their community activities.

Prizes were presented by Warrington Wolves’ prop Mike Cooper. Other VIPs included the Mayor and Mayoress of both Warrington and Halton.

Judges named Warrington Youth Club winners in the Spread the Word award category for the club’s efforts in running their Blue Planet project, a scheme for young people with disabilities aged 11-15 years.

As part of the initiative volunteers designed fun and creative education sessions to develop young people’s skills in team work, communication, negotiation, finance, independent living and creativity. The team also organised a charity fundraising day raising £180.

St Gregory’s High School won the Leading by Example award to celebrate the efforts of young people working to improve the environment.

The school’s Family Seal Group was praised by judges for encouraging the whole family to take part in activities together and running environmental awareness events for pupils, staff, governors and parents. As part of their project the group also gave the school courtyard a makeover to remove chewing gum from meeting areas, re-paint wooden tables and benches, re-varnish benches, and spruce up flower beds.

Sir Thomas Boteler student Dylan Waters was named Champion of the Year for his ‘outstanding achievement’ in highlighting issues such as global warming and renewable energy to the wider community.

A member of the school’s Eco Group he has organised Warrington Borough Council to deliver presentations to students on environmental issues. He is also assisting the school’s Head Teacher on measures to help the environment and cut costs throughout the school.

Sir Thomas Boteler’s Pressgang group was also highly commended during the awards for producing the regular Boteler Bulletin newsletter.

The Saturday Academy at Runcorn’s Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy won the Active Award while media diploma students at The Bankfield and Wade Deacon High Schools picked up the Creative Award.

The Bankfield School was also named Green School of the Year for its efforts in raising green issues across the community, which included planting hundreds of trees in school grounds.

The awards, supported by Sony Ericsson, are part of O2’s Think Big initiative to support young people running projects that improve their communities. The programme has been offering up to £2,500 in grant support to help individual projects grow and succeed. To find out more about Think Big, or to apply for an award, log onto www.o2thinkbig.co.uk

‘The judges were very impressed by the range of projects they saw. Ideas included schemes to fight knife-crime, build a community garden, teach young people entrepreneurial skills, and even design an iPhone app for sex education,’ said Jason Duffy, head of O2 at Preston Brook.