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Sixteen young people from Greater Manchester have had their accomplishments celebrated at the Trailblazing Youth Graduation Event, organised by Youth Leads UK.

The event took place in the heart of Manchester at HOME Theatre. It brought key decision-makers and young people together to discuss social action, youth voice, and the power of working together to improve their community. 

Two young graduates hosted the event, one of them being a member of the organisation’s newly established Youth Advisory Board. Young people delivered speeches from each Programme cohort – Manchester, Bolton, and Bury. They touched on their experiences on the Youth Leads UK Leadership Programmes, from their resilience in the face of adversity to the new perspectives they gained and the skills they learned. 

Distinguished guest, The Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Diane Hawkins JP LLB, was in attendance and gave a speech congratulating all the young leaders. 

Addressing the audience, His Majesty the King’s Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Mrs Diane Hawkins, said:

“Community is so important. For those who haven’t got many people to support them, there are now plenty of people within Youth Leads UK who will help and support you. That’s something the lieutenancy recognises; the Palace wants to know how our communities are reacting and acting together. I feel so proud, and I’m sure Youth Leads UK will continue to empower more young people.”

Also in attendance was Dawn Yates-Obe, CEO of Bolton CVS. Dawn announced a new partnership between Youth Leads UK and Bolton CVS, which encourages young people to have a say in which community projects are funded in the town. 

Dawn Yates-Obe, CEO of Bolton Community and Voluntary Services, said:

“We’re inviting young people to join us as volunteer grants assessors and make decisions about who we give grants to in the community. We’re the biggest beneficiaries of this because we’re taking their experience, expertise, and insights as young people living in our communities today to tell us the best way to make decisions. Young people are stepping into their leadership space; they should grab it, take it, and own it.”

Saeed Atcha MBE DL, Founder and CEO of Youth Leads UK, said:

“When I set up Youth Leads UK at the age of 15, I had no idea what it would grow into. I am grateful to our tenacious and passionate young people for being the heartbeat of this organisation. It is inspiring to hear about the mountains they have climbed to get where they are today – I am sure they will continue to reach new heights and make meaningful changes in the community around them.” 

Every Leadership Programme at Youth Leads UK ends by honouring the achievements of young people, encouraging them to keep moving forward on the path of action, and continuing essential conversations which facilitate change. 

Following the speeches from dignitaries and young people, participants were presented with their certificates and professional photos, which can be found here. A spread of sweet treats and mocktails was served to all attendees to mark the end of the occasion.