Oldham Youth Council is to be recognised with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service recognises outstanding work done in communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of The Queen's coronation and is the MBE for volunteer groups.
The award recognises groups whose work has significantly benefited others and sets the national benchmark for excellence in volunteering by such groups.
Oldham Youth Council, which was first established in 2006, aims to represent the views and opinions of young people by having democratically elected youth councillors. It is made up of up to 70 members who are all young people age 11–21 and live, work and study in Oldham.
By working closely with Oldham Council and its partners, Oldham Youth Council ensures young people’s views and opinions are helping to shape and influence services and decisions made in the borough. It was first youth council in the UK to be given constitutional rights and are able to present motions to Full Council – truly recognising them as part of Oldham’s democratic process.
They were nominated for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service by Stephen Lowe DL and supported by Oldham West and Royton MP – and former Leader of Oldham Council - Jim McMahon and Dave Whaley, the former editor of the Oldham Evening Chronicle.
Mohammed Marouf Ahmed, Youth Mayor of Oldham, said: “We are over the moon to have been recognised with such a prestigious award, it’s a real honour.
“I am so proud to be a part of the Youth Council and over the last 12 years I know many young people have given their time and effort to make it what it is today.
“We volunteer our time because we believe in Oldham, we believe in young people and we want to make sure that we have an Oldham we can all be proud of.
“I know I can speak on behalf of every youth councillor when I say, we love what we do and receiving this award is something we are all incredibly proud of.”
Councillor Sean Fielding, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “I can’t speak highly enough of Oldham’s Youth Council and the remarkable work they do. They have become a vital part of the way we shape our services, make decisions and move our town forward.
"Over the years the Youth Council has been involved in heading many campaigns and projects and volunteer their time, giving hours and hours each week to make a positive difference for young people in Oldham. They are the voice of their generation and a voice which demands to be listened to.
“We’re enormously proud of them and everything they do and this recognition is truly deserved.”
To celebrate the prestigious achievement, Youth Service Manager, Jodie Barber and Oldham Youth Mayor Elect, Amber Powell attended a Buckingham Palace Garden Party on 31 May.
The Lord Lieutenant of the Greater Manchester, as The Queen's representative, will present the Youth Council with a certificate signed by The Queen, and a commemorative crystal at a ceremony in Manchester on 29 August, 2018.