Skip to main content

The Key Awards 2023

On Tuesday 2nd of July, we rolled out the red carpet for The Key Awards 2024. It was another big year with over 200 people in attendance to celebrate the inspirational achievements of young people, KEY+ Facilitators and the wider Key Community.

It was a night to remember with young people at the heart of absolutely everything including the planning, hosting, presenting and entertainment. It was a night to remember as we handed out 10 awards and celebrated so many.

Every nominee was exceptional and it was a hard task to crown 10 overall winners. Check out the photos and read all about the 10 nominees that were crowned winners...

Community Champions: Spice Up Your Life

Spice Up Your Life completed all three stages showcasing their motivation and enthusiasm throughout. At Stage 3, this ambitious group planned a large scale community event during the school holidays in the height of the cost of living crisis to provide free and low-cost activities for local families.

On the day, over 250 people from Throckley and the surrounding areas attended the event and took part in the activities, the venue was beaming full of families and young people had great fun in the sunshine.

Spice Up Your Life's hard work and dedication saw them raise over £765, which they put to good use contribution to the purchase of a community defibrillator – something which the group were extremely passionate about and worked hard for.

By delivering their ‘Bringing Throckley Together’ day, the group have grown as a whole. They gained friendships and built their confidence whilst developing important life, leadership and teamwork skills. Spice Up Your Life also said that they now feel part of the community which most of them have never felt before.

Key Pitch Innovators: The Epix

The Epix wanted to deliver their pitch in a way that would highlight what they were trying to do in the project. The project was to record a series of short videos about some of the issues young people may have to deal with in their communities. The young people worked extremely hard on the script and put an element of humour into the process. None of the group had done anything like this before and this was their first go of pitching a project. In the process of planning their video project, they decided to incorporate video into their pitch to panel too. They created a spoof video with a group member acting as a newsreader introducing the different elements of the project. They researched different ideas and did several takes to decide what they wanted to include delivering it all in a fun and ironic fashion.

There was also a clear message throughout the video about their project idea and combined it with a presentation to really highlight the skills they had developed.

Best Group Name: Everyone and a guy named Kevin

This year, a joint effort between The Key's judging panel, youth voice group and a social media vote decided the 2024 Best Group Name.

Everyone and a guy named Kevin was inspired by the one group member named Kevin in their KEY+ Group. A brilliant name that really made us chuckle!

Inspirational Award: Bright Girls Squad

Bright Girls Squad is a group made up of young women facing challenging circumstances leading them to experience social isolation, anxiety and low self-esteem. Coming together to take on the KEY+ Challenge, the young women faced several challenges throughout their participation having to adapt to new environments, interact with unfamiliar peers, manage sensory stimuli during activities, and develop their communication skills to express themselves effectively.

Bright Girls Squad overcame initial challenges to successfully complete KEY+ and achieve significant personal growth. They delivered a multi-faceted project that involved researching a new subject, designing and delivering an assembly on this to their entire school, generating funds and donating to local and national animal charities. Through their participation in identifying their key skills, overcoming challenges, and working on KEY+ projects, they developed teamwork skills, resilience, but most of all individual confidence. By engaging in social action projects alongside their neurotypical peers, the young women contributed to breaking down barriers and promoting understanding of neurodiversity within their local community. They have inspired younger pupils in their school, the wider community and the facilitators who have worked with them. Their active involvement challenged stereotypes and demonstrated that individuals with diverse neurological profiles can make valuable contributions when provided with appropriate support and opportunities.

Exceptional Facilitator: Claire Sharp

Claire has been a KEY+ Facilitator for over ten years and during that time has continuously empowered young people to deliver some truly inspirational KEY+ Projects. She is a real advocate of The Key and is always willing to go the extra mile to support other Key Partners by acting as a volunteer panel member.

Claire supports young people to take on the KEY+ Challenge at two organisations - Hebburn Comprehensive School and 5th Tynemouth Scouts.

Unique KEY+ Project: Hungry Hippos

The Hungry Hippos came up with a unique idea to create a teenage driving school to give young people a head start, reduce the amount of lessons needed, bring down the cost of learning, and promote good road/safety knowledge.

The young men carried out extensive research about how they could make it possible within budget and became real experts when it came to virtual reality driving. Hungry Hippos built their own driving simulator with a hazard perception test, spending a ton of time and effort in finding different compatible components that were age appropriate and UK road based. The group were really keen to point out that this was not a racing simulator but a tool for young people to learn how to drive responsibly.

The equipment is now available during youth clubs and young people are allowed to use the equipment throughout, providing them with support to pass their theory test through their driving workshops.

Outstanding Delivery Partner: Gosforth East Middle School

Gosforth East Middle School is a passionate Key Partner and ensure pupils truly take the lead with the KEY+ Challenge whilst also pushing them out of their comfort zone. Year on year, GEMS continue to be a real advocate for The Key. Their KEY+ Facilitators continue to go the extra mile in supporting new initiatives and even in crazy fundraising challenges too.

Gosforth East Middle School continues to embrace The Key.

KEY+ Superstars: Confidence in Conversations

Confidence in Conversations is made up of a group of young people with lived experience of being a young refugee arriving in a new city. The group took on the KEY+ Challenge to support other young people who had recently arrived in the UK to learn conversational English and learn more about their new home.

The group remembered their own experiences of learning English as an additional language and the lack of support some of them received. To change this, the group delivered an 8-week programme, tutoring young people who had recently arrived in the UK on different topics such as transport, getting around, schools, jobs and even Geordie slang!

The sessions were completely free and designed to help the tutees get around the city. As a result, those who attended the sessions became more confident in their English skills and felt able to hold longer conversations with the group. Some of the young people benefitting had not yet received school placements, so the group provided them with EAL revision guides, notebooks and pens to aid in their learning too.

Volunteer of the Year: Laura Langdale-Bush

Laura is a committed volunteer panel member who has shown enthusiasm to supporting Key Partners. An always willing, supportive and eager panel member, Laura is a great addition to the Key Community and always challenges young people with her panel questions.

Happy to be called upon, Laura regularly gives up her evenings for KEY+ panels after facilitating her own groups during the day. She always brings energy to each panel and recognises the achievements of each young person pitching. Recently Laura even went above and beyond by volunteering for an event that she sat on the panel for.

KEY+ Completers: All Rounders

All Rounders completed all three stages of the KEY+ Challenge in quick time, running three very different but impactful projects for their community. The group members are home educated and brilliantly came together as a team to organise the distribution of winter packs for the homeless, a health and well-being sports day and a Pride event for young people in their local area.

Across the three events, the group positively engaged with well over 100 people in their local community and really grown and developed themselves. Their KEY+ Facilitator highlighted how the All Rounders had used their key skills to work together as a team more effectively, take their own initiative, become more mature and feel much more confident. 

Within their individual evaluations, the group all commented on how being part of a Key group has really increased their confidence and brought them out of their shells as they realised how capable they are to take on challenges and step out of their comfort zones.

See you at The Key Awards 2025!

About the author

The Key

The Key newsletter

Want to keep in touch?

Sign up to our email

The Key uses cookies to give you the best possible experience