Unsung hero contest is Yopey with youngsters

A NEW contest has been launched across Cambridgeshire to praise the positive side of young people. The SkillsTrain Young People of the Year awards aim to reveal, recognise and reward young unsung heroes and set them up as positive role models. The conte

A NEW contest has been launched across Cambridgeshire to praise the positive side of young people.

The SkillsTrain Young People of the Year awards aim to "reveal, recognise and reward" young unsung heroes and set them up as positive role models.

The contest, known as 'Yopey', was created by a former journalist Tony Gearing to combat the negative image of young people.

"Everywhere you look nowadays young people are being condemned," said Mr Gearing. "It's almost as if every one of them is a binge-drinking, drug-taking, violent hoody.


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"Yopey gives young people the fairer image they deserve by revealing, recognising and rewarding young unsung heroes."

SkillsTrain, a distance learning college and on-line training provider, is putting up cash prizes totalling £2,000 for youngsters who give to others. The young people can be involved in activities such as caring for a family member who may be ill, helping run a youth club, looking after abandoned or neglected animals or raising money for charity or other good causes.

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The awards are the second to take place in Cambridgeshire, but 2007 will be the first time they have stretched specifically to include the Huntingdonshire area.

Organisers have already gathered support from Cambridgeshire County Council, as well as other leading figures in Huntingdonshire.

The Mayor of Huntingdon, Councillor Jeff Dutton, said: "Unfortunately a few bad youngsters seem to get every other young person tarred with the same brush.

"Everyone knows of some young person who is doing something exceptional within the community and it should be these persons that we should focus on."

Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly added: "I do think that it is very important that recognition is given to the huge amount of good work that young people carry out in the local community, not only to recognise the good that is being done, but also to give a lead to other young people as to what can be done."

The awards are also being supported by Shailesh Vara, MP for North West Cambridgeshire, who commented, "There is a terrible stereotype of young people today that has been brought about by the bad behaviour of a thoughtless minority. Yopey is a wonderful way of highlighting the good work done by so many young people."

INFORMATION: Yopey is open to young people aged from 10 to 25 who live, work or study in Cambridgeshire. Young people can enter themselves or be nominated as individuals or groups. The overall winner will receive £1,000 - £500 for themselves and £500 for a supporting organisation that works with young people. There will be a junior prize of £500 and two runners-up prizes of £250 each.

Nominate on-line at www.yopey.org or write to Young People of the Year, PO Box 103, Hare Street, Ware SG9 0XD, for a paper form.

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