Awards event celebrates the achievements of young people in Herts

71 inspirational young people from across Hertfordshire were recognised for their achievements during this year’s Hertfordshire County Council Youth Connexions Young People’s Awards, which took place at County Hall in Hertford on Wednesday 9 November during National Youth Work Week.

Executive Member for Children’s Services, County Councillor Mr Richard Roberts, presented the awards.

He said: “Meeting our exceptional young people who have overcome adversity, contributed massively to supporting others or stood up with confidence to offer leadership was a humbling experience. The range of awards to these most deserving of young people is a credit to them and their families. Youth Connexions should be rightly proud of its work to support, encourage and inspire young people to meet their goals and find their dreams.”

Young people were nominated by their peers and youth workers for achievements across five categories: development in personal and social skills; commitment to volunteering and supporting other young people; contribution to their communities; contribution to youth democracy; and resilience in overcoming challenges.

The awards highlighted the diversity of support provided by Youth Connexions which worked with over 16,000 young people throughout the county in the last year, across a variety of youth work projects and programmes.

Marcel Dziadkowiec was recognised for his commitment to volunteering and supporting other young people at Northgate Youth Project over the past year.  He has volunteered his time for a number of different activities including helping the young members keep fit in the gym, being the lead member of the new youth participation group and, this summer, promoting the National Citizen Service to other young people.

In receiving his award Marcel said: “Thanks to the Youth Connexions staff who have supported me and to all of the young people here this evening – we can make a difference and this is only the beginning.”

Verity Masters was recognised for her commitment to volunteering and supporting other young people.  She has been a passionate advocate for young people’s mental wellbeing, ensuring that they get the support they require at the right time. Not prepared to just sit around, she joined the CAMHS youth council where she was able to voice her concerns and give her ideas as to how to improve the service. She has also managed to get a place as a governor with the NHS Foundation Trust and volunteers at a local Primary School.

She said: “I met my Youth Connexions worker after being ill for many months and she saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself. She has helped me to achieve so much and do what I never thought was possible.”

Lauren Kelly was recognised for her commitment to volunteering said “I really enjoy volunteering at some of the projects because it means that I can give something back and help other young people just as Youth Connexions helped me and my friends.”

Courtney Burke, a regular attendee at Youth Connexions projects, has been recognised for her supporting peers. Upon receiving her award, Courtney and her mother said: “We are really grateful to Youth Connexions for their support. Courtney has gained a huge amount of confidence through attending the sessions and has made lots of friends there.”

Hufsah Sajid, who was recognised for her contribution to her community, stated “I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have without support from Youth Connexions and from my parents. If you live to help others then you can achieve so much more.” 

Her father added: “Sterling work by Youth Connexions. Wonderful to be present and see so many young people being recognised. Keep up the excellent work!”

Tom Culley received an award in recognition to his committed to improving life for young people and stated: “The things that I have achieved have been because of Youth Connexions. They have given me the motivation and opportunity to meet other like-minded and committed young people. I can’t thank Youth Connexions enough.”

For more information about the full range of Hertfordshire County Council Youth Connexions projects and services, please visit