Coram’s Young Citizens Programme awarded Diana Award for creating social change

Published: Friday 14th June 2019

This Refugee Week 2019 Coram are proud to announce that Young Citizens, Coram’s ambassador programme for young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds has been awarded the prestigious Diana Award for the groups’ outstanding contribution to society.

11 young people from the programme were selected as representatives and have each been awarded individually. Each of them has been involved for over a year and has had a significant role in the group, making a real impact to the lives of others.

Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, The Diana Award is open to young people aged 9-25 who are going above and beyond in their daily lives to create and sustain positive change. These exceptional young people have demonstrated their ability to inspire and mobilise new generations to service their communities through campaigning, volunteering, fundraising, tackling bullying or over-coming extreme life challenges.

Over the last two years, 44 young people have been engaged as Young Citizens members. They have challenged discrimination by championing their contributions and used their experiences to make a difference to the lives of other young people building their life in the UK.

The group have developed the Belonging Toolkit - a teaching resource created in partnership with Coram Life Education to increase school inclusion, with a potential reach of 22,000 children. They have also challenged negative public perceptions through the Stranger Series project with photographer Arteh Odjidja, which showcased their aspirations through portraits and accompanying quotes. The photos were seen by over 1,000 people at venues including British Museum and City Hall and presented to the Queen at the opening of Coram’s Queen Elizabeth II Centre in December 2018.

Most recently they co-designed and delivered workshops to help their peers overcome barriers to settling in the UK, piloted at their Breaking Barriers event in March. They have also created a series of YouTube videos sharing their top tips on starting life in the UK including advice on waiting for immigration documents, opening a bank account and getting into college.

Siti, a member of the Young Citizens who received the award said:

“I know from my own experience it’s very hard for people when they come to the UK and they don’t have any friends so I want to help them to feel confident and not feel alone. I want to empower them to express what they need and be happy.”

Brigid Robinson, Managing Director of Coram Voice and Coram Young People's Programmes said:

“We are extremely proud of our Young Citizens for this incredible achievement. The young people involved in the programme have overcome difficult challenges with tenacity and positivity and are striving to use their experiences to make a difference for other young people. We are delighted that their fantastic work has been recognised in this way.”

The Diana Award judges said:

“The nomination from Coram for the Young Citizens group was very well written and totally inspiring. The focus, commitment, passion and success clearly shone through in the number of impact statements included in the nomination. The engagement of Young Citizens definitely has a positive impact on the young people they reach.”

You can learn more about the Young Citizens here and find out more about the Diana Award here.