YEA member, Rachel Ojo has won the BBC Radio 1 Teen Hero Award. During her 4 years on ECC Youth Service’s YEA, Rachel, aged 17, campaigns for change and better futures for young people in the UK. Rachel was invited to London to receive her award at the BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards which will be televised on BBC2 on Saturday 7th December at 4pm.
Below is Rachel talking about her experience:
My name’s Rachel. I have been an elected member of the Young Essex Assembly for the past 4 years and I’m really passionate about campaigning for change.
Whilst being supported by Essex County Council Youth Service I have had the opportunity to be voted onto the UK Youth Parliament for two consecutive years. This has led me to being Chair of the UK Youth Select Committee which this year has been focussing on knife crime.
Whilst working with the UK Youth Select Committee, I have chaired sessions in parliament and represented young people at Downing Street, where I met the former Prime Minister, Theresa May and cabinet members to discuss the pressing issue of knife crime.
I am also a volunteer for my local Youth Council in Basildon, and I have won a Diana Award for my work towards tackling cyber bullying.
As a UK Youth Parliament Member, last year I delivered a speech from the dispatch box on the Representation of the People Act and the right to vote. Earlier this month, I had the fantastic opportunity of meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridgeshire in Kensington Palace to celebrate my success of being awarded the BBC Radio 1 Teen Hero Award.
Meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Kensington Palace was an incredible experience and one that I will never forget. I was able to share my passion with them and discuss the projects I do within the community. The day was amazing, and I feel absolutely honoured to be one of three young people in the United Kingdom to be receiving the BBC Teen Hero award. I definitely hope that I can inspire other young people to continuously strive for change. I also want to thank everyone that has helped me come this far, my family, the Basildon borough youth council, the Young Essex Assembly and everyone else that has contributed to my journey and encouraged me along the way. My message for young people in Essex would be that they should get involved in their community and that they should never ever believe that they cannot make a difference!
I would really encourage other young people in Essex to get involved in the Young Essex Assembly as it has given me amazing opportunities to make positive changes.