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The Key Awards 2022

The red carpet was rolled out last week as The Key Awards were back and bigger than ever before. On Thursday the 23rd of June, 170 young people, Key Facilitators and Key supporters came together for a night to remember at the Crowne Plaza in Newcastle. 

Young people truly stole the show as they presented awards, won awards and entertained the room. It was a special night that we definitely won't forget!

We had 12 Key Awards to hand out on the night, and, with so many nominations, it certainly wasn't an easy task for our judging panel. Every nominee and Key Group were exceptional, but the overall winners crowned on the night were...

Community Champions: SEA Squad

SEA Squad utilised their experiences to raise awareness of bullying in primary schools by holding a poster design competition. The judging panel were blown away by the creativity of SEA Squad, who took their own experiences to inform their project. Not only did the group spread awareness by distributing printed anti-bullying posters, but they also worked tirelessly to first run the poster design competition across Gateshead schools to make children and young people more aware. As a first-stage Key Group, the panel were impressed with the reach and determination of SEA Squad and their project. 

Key Pitch Innovators: Community Peer Mentors

Whilst making sure they ticked off all of the vital information, Community Peer Mentors also brought in fun gifs and memes to spice up their pitch to panel making it funny and entertaining for the panel members.

Best Group Name: NP2

A name that truly made the judging panel smile even if it was meant to be temporary!

Inspirational Award: David Hamilton

David Hamilton stepped out of his comfort zone and overcame many barriers thanks to The Key. Growing in confidence, he transformed from a shy young man into a confident advocate who loves pitching to the panel and worked hard to encourage others to do the programme. His Key Facilitator said, "we have seen his communication skills, negotiation and decision-making skills improve as well as recognising where his strengths are and what he needs to work on, and it has been a real pleasure to see this transformation."

Exceptional Facilitator: Helen Cheape

Helen is a real champion of The Key and has been instrumental in supporting Key Activity at Gosforth East Middle School. Delivering the programme outside of regular teaching hours, Helen couldn't have greater faith in the benefits that The Key brings to students. Her passion has inspired over eight colleagues to become Key Facilitators, and she has inspired belief in many young people. Helen even said delivering The Key with young people was a highlight of her teaching career.

Unique Project: Anime Noodle Adventures

The group worked really hard on this project to bring young people together and combat teen loneliness. They thought hard about what creative project would draw young people into the Library to express their creativity and diversity before deciding to transform their local library into an anime cosplay adventure to combat teen loneliness and be a safe space for like-minded young people with lots in common to come together. It was the first event of its kind to take place in the area.

Super Evaluators: The Fearless Female Squad

This group decided to bring their evaluation to life by creating a video showcasing how they had developed their skills and built upon their experiences throughout the project.

Outstanding Delivery Partner: Oxhill Youth Club

The judging panel were impressed with how Oxhill Youth Club championed The Key in their organisation. They've helped inspire young people to design various projects, including social action and general key projects, and often share their activities on social media. They've even hand-painted a Key wall showcasing all Key activities happening at the youth club.

Volunteer of the Year: Rebecca Harrison

Rebecca is an amazing young woman who completed The Key before moving on to inspire other young people to get involved. Rebecca dedicates her time to supporting young people through their Key journey, encouraging them to believe in themselves and their ideas.

The Key Anniversary All-Star Key Facilitator: Joanne Charlton

A special award was created to mark The Key's 30th anniversary this year. It recognised a Key Facilitator dedicated to inspiring belief with us for a long time. Joanne has been a long-standing Key Facilitator and has always been passionate about inspiring belief with The Key. She works effortlessly to enable young people to take part in the programme and is an advocate for promoting it at Oxhill Youth Club with their very own hand-painted Key Wall. Joanne is always willing to go the extra mile whilst ensuring young people and their ideas come first. Her positive attitude always shines brightly.

The Key Anniversary All-Star Partner: Brandon Carrside Youth Club

The judging panel were impressed by the amount and varied nature of Key Groups that Brandon Carrside Youth and Community Project has supported since becoming a Key Partner over 20 years ago. Brandon Carrside has always supported The Key's wider work with young people and was never shy to offer feedback to help improve the much-loved programme. Their Key Facilitators have always encouraged young people engaged to think outside of the box and be ambitious with The Key, which has helped so many young people to flourish. We are delighted to have Brandon Carrside Youth and Community Project as part of the Key Community and look forward to the years ahead.

Extraordinary Group: STAND4

STAND4 are this year's Extraordinary Group after a whirlwind Key Journey coming out of lockdown. Leading up to their Stage 3 Project, they bonded as a team and built on their skills to plan events and activities with ambitions to go big at Stage 3. After gaining so much from Stage 1 and 2, STAND4 were ready to make an even bigger impact at Stage 3. Passionate about standing up for so many different social causes and issues, STAND4 decided to make waves and raise awareness about the things that mattered to them. They set about launching their own community podcast tackling social issues. Find out more about STAND4's journey here.

It was a phenomenal night and we can't wait to do it again next year. Remember to save your nominations and get planning your next Key Project to be in with a chance of picking up a 2023 Key Award!

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