Mia is young person of the year

Published: 20 April 2016

A schoolgirl who campaigns to help other students struggling with issues around their gender and sexuality has won this year’s Wandsworth Young Person of the Year Award.

Mia Burgess, 18, picked up a trophy, certificate and a cheque for £500 after being recognised during a celebration of remarkable young people at Wandsworth’s Civic Suite.

Mia has worked with the charity Educate and Celebrate and is a Stonewall representative for her school, Chestnut Grove Academy. She is also a pastoral mentor and has made a film about gender identity which was used in school PSHE lessons.

Mia said: “I am so humbled and overwhelmed to win such an outstanding award and very proud to be sitting among some inspiring, talented, intelligent young people. I hope to continue to inspire children to be comfortable in their own skin.”

In total there were eight commendations and three special awards handed out to young people at last night’s ceremony (April 19).

Young Musician of the Year was won by 16-year old Bethany Reeves, who passed grade 4 piano at the age of five. Now she plays the piano, cello, clarinet, saxophone, recorder, trombone, trumpet, church organs and accordion and has had one of her own compositions performed at the Royal Opera House.  

The Award for Outstanding Achievement went to Tane Caubo who is an outstanding young footballer, playing for the Met Police Football Club, and a sporting leader and role model at his school.

Daisy Fieldhouse-Still won the Award for Overcoming Adversity. Daisy has overcome asthma to pursue sports and music.

The Rotary Award for Making a Major Contribution to the Community was handed to Alex Godfrey-Strowbridge, the chair of the Wandsworth Youth Council. Alex has worked to make sure young people have a say in how the borough is run, has represented Wandsworth at British Youth Council Conventions and was part of a delegation to the House of Commons on Mental Health issues.

Commendations were won by:

  • Melissa Mamedova – who has overcome physical disabilities to play an active part in school life
  • Daniel Elumelu – Daniel has overcome significant difficulties to keep up with his school and set positive goals for his future
  • Max Richards – who has turned his life around and is working towards his goal of becoming a qualified personal trainer
  • Christian Gordon – Christian works to make the performing arts more accessible to young people
  • Kane Rabanal-Hunt – Kane combines impressive academic results with sporting success
  • Ashvini Rae – a gifted musician and keen debater, Ashvini is a member of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s Gender Advisory Panel
  • Zoe Forester – head girl at her school, academically gifted and a member of the national volleyball squad
  • Alex Cunningham – Alex has overcome dyslexia and works to destigmatise special educational needs

Young people from the 6th and 9th Earlsfield Guides and the Wandsworth Police Cadets helped run the event and Saint Cecilia’s School music scholars played background accompaniment for the evening.

The ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Wandsworth, Cllr Nicola Nardelli. She said: “It has been a truly inspirational evening, and I want to congratulate all the winners. Many have overcome significant adversity to truly excel, and I’m confident that they will prove to be leading lights in their community.”

The event is organised by the Young Person of the Year Trustees in conjunction with Wandsworth Youth Service and is funded by the Rotary Club, Wandsworth Community Safety Trust and the Keen Group. 

Nominations for next year's award will open in early 2017, and anyone interested should check the council website at that time for news.

Find out more about what's on offer to young people in the borough by visiting www.wandsworth.gov.uk/youth.